So I’ve been thinking a lot about household management and homemaking and femininity and sacred space and honoring the role God gave me and…wait. Hang on a second.
Okay. So I’m fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my kids. We homeschool. I take care of our house. That’s pretty much it. I mean, that literally takes all day long and then some, but that’s basically all that I do.
I used to have a real job where I literally just thought for a living, and then wrote down my thoughts and tried to get other people to listen to them. (I realize I just described blogging. It wasn’t blogging.) I wore skirts and heels and taught people stuff and had an office and it was awesome and I loved it until I hated it and by that point Squeaks was conveniently waiting for me to marry her dad and take care of her, so I was able to file my master’s thesis, go home, and put on a pair of yoga pants just as Buddy’s embryo attached to my uterine wall.
So I was pretty used to getting stuff done and I liked that feeling of accomplishment. And it’s hard to make that switch to being at home full time, even though it was completely what I wanted to do. Yeah okay great, I unloaded the dishwasher. Only every day ever until I die left. Whoo. So much accomplishment.
But over the last year or so I’ve thought a prayed a lot about it because it’s what I’m doing and hey, if I have to do this I might as well find some fulfillment in it, right? And maybe as a bonus cut down on the number of days that my husband gets home and I am curled on the couch drinking a gin and tonic while the kids eat bare spaghetti in the family room.
(It still happens. Don’t get me wrong.)
I’ve come to realize that my position as homemaker right now is part of my vocation. That’s sacred and I should devote myself to it.
Gradually that allowed me to realize how lucky I really am that I was able to do this. I am able to be home with my children. I am able to be their primary educator and form them in the faith that I hold dear. I am able to to be the practical head of our household and run things smoothly so that we can keep all of our obligations and enjoy our time together as a family.
I get to sanctify every part of my life and my home and even though that sometimes looks like cleaning toilets and sorting through mail, that’s awesome.
As I became more intentional about thinking about this, I became more organized about how I go through the day and the plan out our life. And, since all I do now is write about things, I’m going to write about it. Obviously. WHY NOT I MEAN.
Because I’m lazy! I’m super lazy! I don’t like having things to do! I hate doing things! I am organized, but only because otherwise my children would have starved in 2012.
For the next few weeks, on Thursdays I’ll post another segment of the Lazy Girl’s Guide to Home Management, and we can go all through my emotional and physical journey into homemaking.
I know. Get excited.
So, without further ado Part 1 or CALENDARS AND OTHER FUN SHIZZ YOU GET TO PLAY WITH.
Step 1. Get yourself a planner.
I don’t care if it’s online or in paper or written on your walls or carved in the bodies you keep in the basement (I’ve been trying to keep up with CSI:NY before it goes away, guys. It might get gory.) JUST GET YOU ONE.
I am a paper girl. I can’t remember stuff I type into my phone, and nothing is as satisfying as writing something down in a fun colored pen.
This is my planner- I use Erin Condren’s Lifeplanner in the vertical layout. I love love love love love this company, and this planner, and literally everything about it and all the fun accessories make me so excited to plan out every week.
But that’s just me. I’m a hardback paper kind of girl, and this is how I best outline our lives. But the important thing about any planner or calendar is that you use it. You put everything in it, and make sure you USE IT EVERY DAY. ALL THE TIME. Otherwise it’s a waste of space and money (even if it’s digital space.)
For instance, my husband can’t get anything from my crazy-awesome planner, and yeah, okay, part of that is because it never leaves my side and I guard it jealously and way more closely than I do the kids. But he’s an online guy. He loves his Google calendar. So because I’m a good wife, I copy everything from my crazy awesome pretty planner into the family Google calendar and he’s happy as a little clam.
Step 2: Figure out how your life should be designed.
In my case, I use the top section for appointments, the middle section for to-do lists, and the bottom section for blog planning. Meals go at the bottom (I’ll have a post about meal planning up in the next few weeks.) Daily and weekly tasks go on the side, with ample room for notes. Because did I mention this is awesome?
To-Do lists are hard. Some people love them and some people can’t use them. I love them and wouldn’t get anything done without them. I have everything from “prep dinner” to “wrap gift” on there. In theory I’m always prepared for a birthday or holiday because everything is schedule. (But whether I remember to bring the gifts or cards with us is a totally different matter.)
I have a section for daily tasks on the side. These are things I, duh, need to accomplish daily and don’t want to waste space with in my more specific to-do lists on each day. Plus it’s super nice to be able to look at the whole week and see what I missed, etc. My husband tells me this is good visual management. I think it’s just awesome planning.
Then I have a smaller section for things I want to accomplish that week that I can’t totally schedule. I try to keep this section as small as possible because otherwise I’ll just never get anything done. I make a point to make sure that specific to-dos, like making doctors appointments, are just put on a day so I make sure to do them. But some things like a lengthy moving company conversation, or taking pictures requiring light or whatever can’t be schedule. So this way I can keep track, and not get behind.
I use a color-coded system too. I have five colors of markers. Black is general information, blue is me, red is Buzz, purple is the kids, green is adult activities (not like that you perv), and orange is family events. This way I can glance at the week and know who has to be at Mass early, who has gymnastics, etc.
Again, none of this works if you don’t use it though. So make sure you design a program that works for you.
I have a variety of stations set up throughout the house for planning/scheduling purposes.
Our mail system is pretty simple. If I bring it it in, I distribute it immediately. If someone else does, it sits in the pretty tray in the front hall until I can put it on one of our desk. I take care of mail twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, no matter what. I take pictures of invitations and put all the requisite information on the notes pages of my crazy awesome planner, so I don’t have to save a bunch of paper. I’m not sure what my husband does because he’s generally not my problem.
Our main family station is in the kitchen. We have a big dry erase calendar, a menu board, and baskets for incidental stuff (camera batteries, random crap the kids find, etc.)
This is nice because I can just run into here and check to see if we’re free for something without checking my crazy awesome planner, and I also have plausible deniability when my husband is like “Um no one told me I had to drive to La Crosse for a four hour high Mass with Cardinal Burke,” and I’m all “BUT IT’S ON THE CALENDAR GOSH DON’T YOU PAY ANY ATTENTION TO OUR LIVES????”
(I might have been pmsing that day.)
This is, generally, how I’m able to keep our family scheduled and happy and kind of on time at least most of the time. Okay. We’re late for pretty much everything. But at least I know what time I was supposed to be there!
Come back next Thursday for Part 2: Lazy Cleaning Schedule!! Or NEVER WIPE URINE OFF THE TOILET SEAT QUICKLY WHEN GUESTS COME OVER AGAIN.