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Being a working mom, whether by choice or necessity, is not easy. It’s often a life of guilt and questioning, and of always feeling like you are behind. I speak from experience, because I am a full-time teacher and also a mom to three children under school age. Can I tell you that one thing that has helped my home run more smoothly (and saved my sanity!) is implementing daily routines? Now, I won’t lie and say that it is easy to implement routines. We working moms have a lot on our plates—managing a household and caring for our families is enough by itself—throw in a job, and it’s enough to make anyone want to cry. In my own homemaking, I feel like if I let one thing go, then everything else winds up in chaos as well. Routines can help us to stay on top of all our responsibilities and feel a little less like we are drowning.
Now, before I go any further—if this concept makes you feel burdened, as if it is one more thing you have to do, let me say—I get you. That was also my attitude. I will be the first to acknowledge that starting new habits such as routines is NOT easy. However, there are some steps that you can take and some principles to remember when planning out and implementing your household routines. Our routines will not look the same for everyone, because we all have differing schedules, responsibilities, and needs. But this list can give you some appropriate guidelines and help you to feel more confident in getting started.
- Start with grace.
We as Christians talk about grace a lot, but it can be so easy to beat ourselves up over our failures. If we are to be gracious women, we must start by giving grace to ourselves. God is not mad at you for not having your life together. God sees even your feeblest efforts at trying to do a better job for yourself and your family. Beating yourself up will not help you to achieve your goals. Instead, it will only perpetuate the cycle of living in defeat. One good way to start with grace is to begin your day by declaring Biblical, grace-filled affirmations over yourself. Here are some examples:
“I am secure in Christ.”
“I am loved perfectly in Christ. My failures and successes do not change that.”
“God’s grace is sufficient to help me with these tasks, and to cover all my failures.”
“I am called in Christ.”
This is where we must begin, and we must get in the habit of preaching grace to ourselves throughout the day. Over time, this will become a reality in our lives, and we will see a transformation.
There are also some practical steps by which we can avoid setting ourselves up for failure. Which leads me to my next point…
- Start small.
I think for myself, and for many people, we see the importance of implementing routines, and we want to start right away, and we want to completely revamp our whole lives on day 1. This is simply not feasible because we are creatures of habit, and routines take time. A better perspective is to think of these new habits as two-degree changes. If you adjust an angle merely two degrees, it doesn’t look like that big of a change at first, but when you look at that change over time, it is significant.
Don’t feel like you are not doing enough just because you are taking small steps. The key is to pick one thing you want to change, and then practice it over and over again until it becomes normal. Then, pick another habit to develop. Over time, your new routines will help you to slowly eliminate the feeling of not being in control.
- Plan backwards.
This principle can best be stated, “Begin with the end in mind.” Imagine exactly how you want your household to run. While keeping #2 in mind about starting small, think about a date by which you want to have these routines in place. Then, think about how many small steps it will take for you to reach your ideal goal. Set a frame of time to work on normalizing each step before adding another step.
It’s also important to remember that even in the midst of our planning, that life happens. We have setbacks. This, again, is where grace comes in. When we make mistakes, or when things don’t go as planned, we get back up and start again where we left off.
Here are some GREAT resources to help you get started:
Crystal Paine from the blog Money Saving Mom offers a 14-day course called Make Over Your Mornings. She is amazing! She also has written several books, including one of my favorites, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life.
Jami Balmet at Young Wife’s Guide has an AMAZING podcast that I listen to all the time called The Homemaking Foundations Podcast and I highly recommend it! Be sure to listen to the following episodes:
HF #002: Creating Simple Homemaking Routines That Work with Katie Bennett
Hf #008: Creating Realistic Routines for the Busy Homemaker
Hf #42: What to do when your routines & schedules vary from day to day
Also, an EXCELLENT resource that I cannot recommend enough, is THIS book:
While this book is not specifically about routines, it can help you A LOT with something that often makes our routines futile, and that is CLUTTER!!! What mom has time to deal with that? Go check it out!
In this post, I did not go into detail about specifics, such as morning and evening routines, meal time routines, etc., because this is something that will look different for each person. You know what you need to change to make your life and your home run more efficiently. These principles will not just work for working moms, but really for anyone. I will have a post coming up later this month about how to get your kids on board with new routines, and another post on making New Year’s resolutions that stick. May God bless your efforts!