Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The tricky issue of scheduling

As a mom who is at home most of the day with a small child I have become all-too-familiar with the challenges of trying to stick to some sort of routine. I always hated the routine of being chained to a desk, but somehow the floating-nebula schedule (or anti-schedule I should say) of being home all day at the mercy of a baby's whims doesn't work for me either; oddly enough it makes me kind of depressed! For the first six months of Oliver's life I felt like I was at loose ends, never knowing what might or might not get done during the day. Now that Oliver is going to be ONE next month (!) I have AT LAST evolved (and trust me, this process involved many evolutions) a sort of schedule that makes me very happy.

The key for me has been to find what will get me up in the morning. It is so tempting to just stay in bed and get an extra hour (or two) of sleep when there's nothing that you really have to get up for--and when you have a child who sleeps late (many babies rise early!). Scheduling something boring like a doctor's appointment or a meeting with someone early in the AM to get you out of bed is not really fun. I have found, though, that if I have time for writing articles, emailing, corresponding with health counseling clients, planning workshops, etc. in the early morning that really gets me going! The other key has been Oliver's development of course -- he is now at a point where he loves to explore and play right next to me, but independently. So this frees me up to do some cooking and cleaning, and occasionally some sewing. Working with clients over the phone or in person is still quite challenging with Oliver around, so that's a kink we have to work out as my client load expands; I will definitely need some help with childcare then. Here's how it goes on an ideal day:

6:30-8:30 work on Earth/Body Balance stuff (also blog sometimes)
8:30-8:45 yoga stretches
8:45-9:30 dress/shower (Oliver usually wakes up sometime in here)
9:30-11:00 breakfast, clean up the kitchen & bedroom (dishes, sweep, bed, etc.; I also use this time to do things like putting beans on to soak or cook, washing salad greens, or putting a meal in the crockpot)
11:00-1:30 out with Oliver, errands (farmers' market, library), walk, play, etc.
1:30-2:30 lunchtime (this is very fluid)
2:30-4:00 Oliver naps (or some time during the afternoon--this gives me time to sew or nap, too! The nap is preceded by about 20 minutes of nursing of course.)
[By this time of the day things usually start to break down...but my goal is after his nap to get into the kitchen and make sure dinner is prepared before Hugo gets home.]
4:30-6:00 cook dinner & do other food preparations, straighten the house
6:00 Hugo arrives home (if not working late); we have dinner together and hang out as a family (play time, watch TV, bath time, etc.)
8/9 Oliver goes to bed and I get a little more sewing done for clients
10:00 bedtime! (this is my chance to read for a little while)

I have learned to be more relaxed in terms of my expectations about when things will occur. There are weeks when Oliver takes no daytime naps, and plenty of times when he wants to just sleep in my arms like in this picture (which is very cute of course and I can always talk on the phone while I admire him :). It has helped a lot to allow 2-3 hour chunks of time for doing certain things. Mainly my morning is for work, then a relaxed breakfast and straightening the house, followed by a few hours for errands, taking a walk, or doing whatever we need to do for that particular day. Then lunchtime and Oliver's nap, followed by getting dinner ready. This sounds really simple but it has been REALLY hard arriving at this conclusion!

The other key for me now that I think about it has been committing to cleaning a little every morning and every evening. This way the house stays relatively clean and tidy most of the time and I don't have to wake up to a mess (I am the sort of person who can't sit still or work productively if there is total chaos around me). Of course, in times when I have tons of sewing to do for clients and Hugo is working overtime we have to let things go, and I have to sleep in to get enough rest. But this is how I prefer to do things on normal days.

If you are a stay-at-home or work-at-home mom please weigh in! Or if you have seen firsthand the struggles of scheduling your time as an unemployed or working-from-home person, I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you need structure? What gets you up in the morning?

1 comment:

  1. That's an absolutely adorable picture of Ollie!

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