I love schedules. I love making them, I love writing them, and I love checking things off of them. When you have a big family, things have to be written down to get done! I think it is because our active brain capacity is maxed out after the second child. Once you have to maintain more than four people’s schedules in your mind, hard copy works best. So with eight bodies at our house, I like schedules.
I just made our summer schedule, and it’s definitely different than during the school year. We like less rigidity in the summer, but there are still household chores and responsibilities like tending the garden, weeding, practicing piano, swimming lessons – you know the routine. Of course, there are all of the fun things we want to fit into our schedule like camping, friends, cousins, star watching, BBQs, the library, and vacations. Then there are the projects: house projects, art projects, organizing projects – all those things we wait to do until summer. As moms, we also wake up each day to face our own schedule of responsibilities. There are the dishes, the laundry, the cleaning, the errands, and the meals. However, we still mustn’t forget story time, nap time, quiet time, play time, as well as some teaching time.
Even though we know it can’t be, we want all these schedules to run perfectly. We want the house perfectly clean, the meals perfectly yummy, the children perfectly dressed, and the schedules perfectly followed. We do our best, and we do a good job, until we wake up to one of those days that completely throws off the schedule.
On Friday, I woke up to two piles of bedding–one fully soaked in pee, and the other fully soaked in throw up. My pregnant nose couldn’t deal with the throw up, so I threw that pile out on the deck to dry out a bit. The laundry was already backed up from the four days I spent at Cub Scout Day Camp, but that bedding needed to be a high priority. Or did we need clean underwear? Then there was the lawn that needed mowing, the garden the needed hoeing, and the children that needed feeding.
At 4:00 pm I started bleeding. My children didn’t know why I was stuck in the bathroom. A miscarriage was not in my schedule. Neither was a trip to the ER, but we made it through that day.
It’s now two days later, and I am holding my little ones as I sit in the sun. (And I’m finally washing that bedding!) My fridge is full of food from loving friends who are also moms. I’m doing well and we’re doing whatever we want to today. The house can wait to be cleaned, but the children can’t wait to be loved. I am finding that it is okay to have days that don’t fit the schedule. We have to flow with them – that’s part of life and it’s part of being a mom. Schedules do help our lives, but LIFE is not about schedules!
QUESTION: How rigidly do you keep to a schedule? Do you feel you need more or less structure to meet your family’s needs?
CHALLENGE: Schedule a time to just BE with your family.
Image by renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Megan Rowberry says
Poor Melissa! I know exactly what you mean. i have such a hard time managing the schedules and still loving the kids. Sorry to hear about your loss. I hope you are feeling ok. Just love those sweet little kids. As always, you amaze me! love Megan
I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope that you are doing ok. I lost my first and it was so hard.
I’ve decided that if our routines and schedules always ran smoothly there wouldn’t be any room for growth. I must have an exraordinary need for growth since it seems that I rarely have a day that runs smoothly start to finish!
There’s a poem I love. It goes something like this:
Quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep
C. Olsen says
I had the same experience very recently. I am so very sorry for your loss. It’s so so so hard! Be easy on yourself and take the time to completely recover both pyhsically and emotionally.
I have the rest of the poem that Stacey quoted. I only knew that part she posted but eventually found the entire poem and really love it. I think you will too.
Song for a Fifth Child
Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
April Perry says
I loved reading this. Thank you so much for submitting such a thoughtful essay to the site. I think you’ve hit on such a very important point. Being organized and getting things accomplished is a good thing, but it’s not the most important thing.
Tonight I was anxious to tuck the children in bed because the sink was still full of dishes, but my energy was giving out. My husband wanted to sing a few more songs with the family (he’s teaching them how to sing in harmony). He said, “We’re only going to have them with us for a short time. If we get no more work done tonight but spend an evening singing and loving them, isn’t that enough?”
He’s right. And we did. And now I’m not going to worry about all the work that isn’t done. It’s mostly done, and there will be more time tomorrow. I love it that you were able to write about your experience and therefore help other moms to be a little more aware of how special this time is with their children.
Rebecca Kohler says
Yes, April–and even if you HAD washed the dishes, they would have needed washing again tomorrow!;) The time spent with children is an investment that lasts–with many happy returns (we hope)!
Rebecca Kohler says
I LOVED this article as well as the darling picture that goes with it. My sixth child is two months old, and I am struggling to get a handle on life. I keep forgetting camps, lessons, and other appointments… even if I remember them in the morning, they leave my mind by afternoon (when they are scheduled). A cluttered room is a “noisy” room to me, so it is difficult for me to sit and enjoy my baby if there is a bunch of stuff in front of me that needs to be put away. Yet I so love holding my baby! Sometimes I just go in another room. Thank you for sharing. I hope your heart and your body are healing.