Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Do you ever have those days when it’s simply OK to let the kids stay in their pajamas until swimming lessons begin at 1:30 p.m.? When it’s simply OK to let their playtime extend beyond the allotted time, because they are playing sooo nicely together? Sure, I could stop them early to fit in what I had in mind for the day—like getting dressed, having some workbook time, doing a few chores, finally starting some type of morning prayer with them. But then I think, “why?” (well, except for the prayer part) when they are having fun together in an unusually peaceful manner. No, I shouldn’t interrupt … They’re kids after all!

Admittedly, I like structure. A lot of it. My dream would be for everything to be scheduled out—morning, noon and night. On a practical note, I think having a routine is necessary in keeping up with five kids and running a home. How else would I get them to school on time in clean uniforms and with a homemade, balanced lunch in tow?
We have a general routine, but sometimes I wonder if it is enough, especially when we have those occasional pajama days, and I wonder, “Is this OK? Should we be doing something else today, something more productive?”
Our general routine is something like this: We get up and get breakfast at the same time everyday. When we do workbooks (summer only), we do them at around the same time. We have snacks and lunch at the same times, too. We all take naps or quiet time everyday. Dinner and bedtime are loosely structured as well.
Sounds good when I type it out. So, what am I talking about wanting more routine?
I don’t know. I guess the perfectionist in me wants to fit more in, wants things to flow more easily. Because in between the waking and breakfasting, I have to “repeatedly encourage them” (you moms know what I mean!) to make beds and put clothes away and all that … I guess the perfectionist in me wants a well-oiled machine to operate. But I don’t have that. I have a family! And so it’s probably a blessing for me that our schedule is a little looser than I would like it to be, because then the spontaneous can happen a little more easily. And I don’t get too bent out of shape when it does.
Today, the girls are content making mini-forts and teaching the twins how to be pretend dogs. And I have been grateful for some uninterrupted time to catch up on a huge stack of laundry. It’s the little things, isn’t it?
On most days, I do have to fight that urge for more regular routines in a more certain, scheduled order. But today I am grateful for being content with a dishwasher that’s still not unloaded and kids that are still not dressed. However, beds are made and one load of laundry is done. And everyone is getting along fairly well.
Yeah, I’d say we’re having a pretty good (and balanced) day after all!
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4 thoughts on “Balancing Act

  1. We are so not scheduled now that Summer is here! I'm sure your kiddos have a wonderful memory now of playing in jammies until swimming, what a fun day!! That is what summer is about, right? Having fun?

    I am glad I'm not the only one who has to prompt (a nicer word than yell) the kiddos to make beds, get dressed, put clothes away, clear the table, etc… drives me crazy!

    It will come automatically some day right?

    I love schedules too, but with this growing family of little ones, it seems so hard and far away! I know come fall, I pay for our relaxed summers for at least a month of getting used to the schedule!

    Happy 4th my friend!

  2. structures and schedules? definintely! but don't stress out about it too much. especially like jaimie says, since it is summer.
    and it doesn't get any easier the older your kids get. this is something i struggle with all. the. time.
    in fact i have a girl who has been as fussy as a toddler lately because we've been out and about too much. her bedtime has been way too late. and add to it a summer cold and this move, well, it's enough to make me grouchy.
    but your children will be small for such a short season, sarah.
    enjoy them.
    children don't keep.
    laundry does.
    easy does it wins the race.
    i try not to let any day go by without doing some kind of chores, just so that i don't get overwhelmed.
    but balance is probably THE hardest thing to achieve.
    praying for you……

  3. I'd like to adopt your degree of scheduling! Things around here have been very "free", if you catch my drift. Lots of lazy time, the girls finding unusual activities to occupy themselves.
    Naptime, quiet time… that's the best part of the day!
    My girls have seen many days end in the same jammies they got up in! Oh well… it's summer!

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