Schedule Number 682

February 12th, 2013 posted by Mia Cronan


Picture, if you will: a frazzled mom sits down at the kitchen table with pencil and paper, ready to revamp the schedule she wrote for herself last month. Meanwhile, the laundry’s piling up, the children have the playroom torn apart for the third time that morning, breakfast dishes are still sitting on the counter, and Mom hasn’t even given a thought to what she might make for dinner that night. Do you see yourself in this picture? The difficulty in maintaining a schedule and a routine is one of the most common complaints of a stay-at-home mom. Look at the Bradys! Every morning Carol was dressed (in a dress, no less!), made up, hair was done, and she was ready to take on the day, before her six children left for school. Why? It’s because she had Alice, the live-in maid. They even had time for a cup of coffee together on some episodes. Most of us can’t even visit the powder room without an entourage, let alone sit down with a cup of coffee.

Type “A” Mom

Many women simply function better when a sense of routine is in place; and likewise, they find it stressful when the routine gets shaken up or out of control. We’ll call them “type A moms.” Their credo? “I will have dinner in the crock pot by 10am, five loads of laundry done by noon, and my bathrooms will sparkle by 2 pm. Today, I will teach my children how to quote Shakespeare, amortize a mortgage, and plant tomatoes that will grow to be the size of watermelons.”

Type “B” Mom

Other women are very at home (pardon the pun) with being seat-of-the-pants homemakers. We’ll call them “type B moms.” Their credo? “I laugh in the face of peanut butter in the carpet, I scoff at bologna sandwiches stuffed into the VCR, and the gray flannel blankets that lay all over my furniture are my friends. Bring them on!” Most of the women I know fall into the type A category, so I can only expound on this topic. The others, I’ll leave to a type B mom, who won’t get upset about the rice boiling over while she sits down to write about them.

So, what can we do?

How do we relieve our stress, brought on by not feeling in total control of our schedule? I can offer a few suggestions, and then I’ll go try them out myself. (Physician, heal thyself?)

The To Do List

When you write your to-do list for the day, actually make three lists. On the left side of the paper, write down the things you must do, like call the pediatrician, pay bills, and buy diapers. Then, number the items in order of importance, with the idea that you will complete them in that order. NOTE: Be realistic about what “has” to get done. Is it life-threatening if you don’t complete a large cook-n-freeze project today? In the middle column, write down the things you’d really like to get done, such as weed the garden, straighten your basement, or clean the bathrooms. On the right side, make a list of fun things you’d love to do, such as crosstitch, write to a friend, read a book, or just meditate.

Get Going

Once your children are tended to for the time being, jump right in and start knocking through that list, explaining that Mommy has some things she must do, then she’ll be more freed up for the little ones. You’ll be amazed at the sense of freedom you’ll have, early in the day. You can then start on the second column. And try this – for every two things completed, reward yourself with either getting down on the floor with your kids for 30 minutes or doing something from that right-hand column.

Be Realistic

Here’s an important point. Know your own limitations. Don’t be your own worst enemy by asking too much of yourself, whereby setting yourself up failure and bad feelings about yourself as an at-home mom. Build into your schedule some flexibility so that when things come up, as they do with small children, you can adapt with minimal stress.

Closing Thought

If your children do not nap anymore, or if they simply resist naps, at least insist on “x” amount of quiet time, all by themselves. In order for you to be a loving mommy, you need a break, too. It may take a while for them to get used to quiet time, but it’ll be worth your efforts and diligence in the end. During that time, you can be whittling away at your to-do list – even that right-hand column!

Mia Cronan (16 Posts)

Mia Cronan is a married full-time mother of three girls, ages 4, 3, and 1, living in Pennsylvania. She owns and edits, the magazine for modern mothers with traditional values. Mia can be reached at [email protected].

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