A couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law and I were visiting about the challenge of managing our families. House cleaning, meal planning, calendar coordinating. It can all be overwhelming. I was reminded though that systems and routines are critical, imperative. We all seem to push back on routines, thinking life will become too structured, too mundane, too routine.
We have entered a new season in our home. Our girls have entered higher ed and we have entered those empty nest years, although they aren’t quite out of the nest. I went back to work full-time. New season, new challenges. As I visited with my sister-in-law I realized I had let too many of our routines and systems fall to the wayside. Some needed to. Life is different. But frustrations were hitting us. Meal time felt stressful, laundry was piling up and seemed to consume our weekends, entertaining was happening less often. I’d been avoiding setting up new systems and routines. I was pushing back, feeling like life was too structured, too much of my time was not my own. The truth is, routines and systems create room for a full life.
Clean spaces, simple meal preparation, laundry systems, allow for me, my family, to enjoy time doing the things we love. The systems and the routines don’t confine us, they free us. The mundane, the chores are taken care of in small pockets of time, leaving larger pockets of time to relax, to fellowship, to live fully.
Here are a few routines I have put back in place:
- A load of laundry washed and transferred to the dryer each morning. (5:30 am)
- Weeknight meal themes: Sunday-Pasta, Monday-Fish, Tuesday-Beef, Wednesday-Salad/Sandwiches, Thursday-Chicken, Friday-Eat Out, Saturday-Rice Bowls
- M,W,F-vacuum, M touch up bathrooms, W dust (I am fortunate to have a housekeeper)
- Sunday coupon clipping and pick-up grocery order
- Friday planning-fill out calendar and schedule for the week to come
- 4:30 workouts (as soon as I get home)
I encourage you to create some routines. Don’t look at them as confining. Instead, look at them as a tool to help you create time for the things you love, as a tool to help you delegate, as a tool to create habits.
Routines don’t mean a routine life.