My husband and I have always been very flexible people. We have no problem staying out late, making dinner plans on the fly, or arranging things in order to accept the invitations we receive from others. Both of us love being ready and able to just go, to have fun, and reap any affects of our decisions later.
This worked really well the first few years of our marriage. It was just the two of us.
Then came Eliott. We sort of boasted about how flexible our growing family was. When we stayed out late, Eliott would come too and fall asleep in the Ergo on Daddy’s back.
Then we started working from home. This is when we first started realizing how our flexibility could really become a problem. During times of the day when one of us should have been working, we would take the family to run errands together. It was fun, but it wasn’t efficient.
Now, we have three kids (4, almost 2, and 3 months) and let me tell you, our lifestyle of going with the flow, making plans on the fly, and interrupting work schedules has been causing more chaos in our little home then any of us could handle.
No one had a clue about what would be happening next, what we were going to eat for lunch, or whether we would go out or stay in for dinner. Our kids naps would get interrupted and I was feeling frustrated over finding no time to write. The house was a disaster most of the time, as kids would pull toys out to try and overcome boredom from not having the structure of a schedule.
Tired and bored kids.
Parents who need to work without interruptions.
I found myself in tears one Sunday. I could not live another week like we had been. There is too many of us, needing time to do different things.
I have been reading a book that was suggested to me by a friend, which I just finished and will be reviewing soon! Throughout the entire book, all I thought was, I need my family on a schedule!
Then we had a date night with another couple; close friends of ours. The night was so much fun as we shared our dreams for the future and encouraged one another. Somewhere toward the end, I made a comment directed to my husband…frustration coated all over my words.
The conversation turned into a rant about our current chaos. We talked about how we love being flexible but how we see the effects our choices are having on our whole family.
Our friends were gracious with us and encouraged us. Then the wife, Stacy, said something that has stuck with me…
Remember Gumbo? The green guy that stretches?”
Aaron replied, “You mean Gumby?”
Well, he stretches really far, but he always comes back to his original form. You guys can be flexible if you have something to come back to! I think what you guys need is a schedule!”
What she shared was confirmation of what I already knew. But my husband heard it too. It was like it finally clicked for us. We both appreciated the analogy Stacy provided and it has been the motivation to implement this new family discipline.
So I went home and wrote out an hour by hour daily schedule for our family on our office white board.
I am sure it will change and mature as our family does, but we have something now. We have structure. We have clear and communicated expectations. We have something to come back too.
Aaron looked it over and helped me finalize it. And since implementing it, everyone has a better expectation about the day. I know what I need to do to prepare for school hour, meals, and housework with the kids. I also can look forward to the time I have blocked out to write/work. My husband knows when he can have uninterrupted time to work. And my kids feel secure knowing what is up next! That there is a plan!
So far it has minimized, not only the emotional chaos, but also the messiness in the house because I scheduled pick-up time where everyone helps. My husband and I have literally been on the same page when it comes to the management of our time, our home, and our family. It has been incredible to see how our moods have been at night when we actually get to bed early, having completed all that we wanted to in a day. There was even time for intimacy!
I am happier, less stressed, and confident about how our family operates. I know we will be way more efficient with our time too, which is a gift from God my husband and I desire to steward well. Lastly, we will be able to enjoy being flexible when we do have a day we stay out later or receive an invitation for a fun adventure, because we know what we will be coming back too!
If you feel overwhelmed by chaos in your home and you don’t have a daily family schedule, especially if you and your husband work from home, I highly recommend that you make one asap! It is amazing how much it truly provides stability and security to the family.
All I did was write down what some of our expectations are of the day, such as a time to eat, homeschool the kids, write, nap, and evening routine. Then I wrote out hour by hour what I do, what my husband does, and what the kids do. My husband helped me fine tune this family schedule and now we are on it! I printed two copies, one for me and one for him, then put them in page protectors.
I hope this is an encouragement to you as you embrace your role as a wife, and maybe your role as a mother too, if you have children. This is not super easy stuff, but the discipline of it all is so good for us!
**Random side note. My husband and I grew up in Corona/Norco and there has been a huge Gumby statue in someone’s yard for as long as I can remember! Every Christmas it gets decorated in lights. Here is the proof I found online by another person who seemed to think it was awesome.