Of Scheduling a Slowdown

Summer was my favorite season when I was a kid.

No school, long sunny days, and dirty, bare feet that needed to be washed every night.

As an adult, the only thing I have in common with summer memories is my dirty feet. Given the option, I wouldn’t wear shoes in public–but whatever.

Currently, summers make me cranky. It’s hot. My plants require extra attention. We have no routine. And my emergency chocolate stash has melted in my minivan.

In all seriousness though, the worst part of summer is the lack of routine. All the studies and classes take a break and friends randomly decide to go on vacations without your permission. I’ve also realized that when I had Baby #3, I hit the ground running as soon as we returned from the hospital, never really recovering energy-wise, and I never actually established a daily schedule that worked for me-plus-three. Summer has become the perfect opportunity to put the brakes on craziness and schedule a slower-paced life.

I’m a list person, so for me the first part of this change was recognizing what I wanted my life to look like and putting it on paper. I made a list of what I want to do in my “ideal” day, and another list of what I actually spend my day doing. After that I made an outline that divided my day into mealtimes and free times, so I can stop losing time in the cracks of idleness.

Then I zoomed out to a week-view. We can’t have activities every single day and keep a calm and tidy house. I’m not that amazing. What happens when we only have two or three commitments a week? More time to breathe, more time to not let the house explode, and more time to thoroughly invest in the activities we participate in. Currently we are working on a rough prototype schedule where we only have something scheduled every other day. On the days we’re home, we do chores in the morning and work out in the afternoon. On the days we’re gone, we try to do outings in the morning and chores in the afternoon. And the kids play outside as much as I remember to send them out.

I know there will be some seasons of busyness that are inevitable, but as far as it depends on me, I don’t want to burn out on unnecessary, overstuffed schedules. They say childhood goes by too quickly, let’s slow it down a little.

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