Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Which Church Mouse Gives Herself a "Talking To"

While we do not yet have a large family, I have benefited greatly from the ideas shared in Kim Brenneman's book, Large Family Logistics. I'm joining the Four Moms today as we share from Chapters 28-47, the part of the book that gets down the the every day, nitty-gritty part of managing home and family. For a brief overview of each chapter, visit Connie's post on Smockity Frocks. The nice thing is that most of these chapters are very short, so you can easily hop around and read what is most needful for your family at the time.

For my post, I'm focusing on daily routines. For the past several years, I've been a bit of a free spirit. It has been nice, especially while I was figuring out how to be a mama, but I am feeling a little more urgently, a need to bring some more structure to our days. Big Littles, in particular, really thrives on routine and knowing what to expect, and our days run so much more smoothly when I put some thought into what we do, why and when.

Some words of wisdom from God -
Proverbs 16:3 - Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.

Some words of wisdom from Mrs. Brenneman from Chapter 28 - Morning and Evening Routines

Here's what I have learned: When we are prepared, then we have no fear and are calm. When we are calm inside with surety as mothers, we speak with calmness to our children. On the other hand, if the children wake with no direction at all, they learn to be wasteful with their time. When our children wake to a plan and a calm and kind mother, then they in turn have pleasant mornings.

And part of this is making myself have the self-discipline to GO TO BED EARLY so I can wake up to be that cheerful direction for my children.

*shaking my finger at myself*

*nodding back meekly*

She goes on to say,
Children thrive on order; it gives them security. They want to know the plan for the day. They want to know what to expect when they get up. They are healthy in a home of order, peace, and security. As home manager, this is your duty to facilitate. Planning and preparation help build a happy heart in yourself which overflows to your children.

As my sweet friend Amy commented in regards to not planning, her husband says, "You can hardly call it Plan B if there was no Plan A to begin with."

So very true. In my previous line of work, I had to do extensive planning. It was drilled into me time and time again to do this planning in a very careful and explicit way. When the time came to execute the plans, I found I actually felt much more confidence and freedom diverting from the plans when the need arose because I was so familiar with my plans and goals that I could be spontaneous (not a strength of mine) and creative and get the job done WELL! I think it is the same way in managing my home. The plans are like the safety net of the trapeze walk that is my life. I'm going to be thrown off and I will lose my balance... I KNOW it. But I can jump right back on and keep going or even go in a new direction if needed because I have thought of a plan ahead of time.

Speaking of plans, this is what I have worked out so far -

Morning routine:
1) Coffee time/pump milk for donation (hopefully before everyone awakens) - I usually check the internet during this time
2) Start laundry
3) Nurse baby
4) Fix breakfast - water pitcher for the table
5) Eat with a Psalm
5) Vitamins for all
6) Wash faces/brush teeth
7) Clean up the table (dishes are rinsed and stacked, washing happens after lunch though), sweep crumbs
8) Everyone gets dressed
9) Make beds
10) Go to chore time = hang up a load of laundry + chores for the day

Stuff in the middle:
Playing, book reading, lunch/clean up, toy pick up, quiet time, more play time and book reading

I would really like to work in some more structured "school time", but we aren't quite there yet. I'm working on strengthening my morning routine just a leeeeetle bit more before adding it in.

Evening Routine:
1) After dinner clean up
2) Children's Hour- baths on bath night (which is also when I clean the bathroom), play games, wrestle, take a walk, etc...
3) Toy Pick Up
4) Get ready for bed routine (brush teeth/potty/pajamas)
5) Read books
6) Bed for the Littles
7) Sit with them until they are asleep and then I have free time with my husband until we go to bed.

I try to have chores done so I can just relax with my husband in the evenings, but I do sometimes throw in a load of laundry to soak overnight.

The morning routine is still tough for me. It just takes so much self-discipline especially when I am so groggy from waking up a thousand times the night before with a teething baby. I just keep plodding along, working at it each day until it becomes a habit.

The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.—Charlotte Mason

And children cannot be expected to have those good habits if the mother herself does not have them. Self-discipline, folks, it takes plain old self-discipline.

As Auntie Leila says, "trying to do all the stuff you have to do, today, with a loving heart."

Do your duty! Be diligent!

*more finger wagging*

I mean YOU Church Mouse!



  1. enjoyed your post! I am a free spirit and planner by nature in the ministry world-however so hard for me to keep diligent on routine! I appreciated your quotes-very encouraging!

  2. You are such an inspiration to me. Keep up the hard work, and the rewards will come!

  3. We have a very similar routine it seems! Do you donate your breastmilk as a way of getting the caffeine out of it before your baby nurses?

  4. I don't donate it because of the caffeine, for about 8 months I was donating it to a friend with a baby in need.

  5. Gotcha. I've been gleaning lots of good stuff from your blog- thanks for sharing your practical wisdom!

  6. Thanks so much for reading, Lauren! (And for commenting! I LOVE comments!) :)


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