Can you believe it’s the beginning of March? How are you getting on with your goals and word of the year, if you have them? This blog has certainly helped me be mindful of mine and less worried about perfection! I’ve really enjoyed taking the time to write out a few thoughts and ideas on creativity and homemaking to share with you all.
In the midst of the busyness of looking after 4 children and a kitchen renovation (pics on Instagram), looking after the house is no mean feat, let alone finding time for creativity. I have found, however, that there is freedom to be found in daily routines and rhythms.
By splitting the day’s tasks into groups according to time and importance, I can feel more free to do a bit of sewing or baking even if everything on my list isn’t complete. If I waited for that I would get absolutely no creative time at the moment with a 5 month old baby! I am very good at putting myself last on my list.
Here are some reasons why daily routines are important to me…
I know what to do
This sounds really obvious, but hear me out. Up until 3 years ago, I would be wandering around most mornings with a list as long as my arm and no idea what to start first. Unlike a lot of people in my family, “instinctively” knowing what to do and doing it does not come naturally to me. Inevitably, if I started anything, I would start with something I wanted to do, or I would start several things and finish maybe one or two of them.
Now that I have set up a routine, using the FlyLady system, I know what my priorities are and I don’t have to figure it out every day. I know I need to get dressed to shoes, empty the dishwasher and put on a load of washing before I start on any other home related jobs.
We don’t go hungry
My family sometimes remind me of the time they came to visit (probably 6 or 7 years ago) and they’d been travelling all day and they were tired and hungry. It was getting late in the afternoon and I had no dinner ready for them. I don’t think I had even decided what to cook and if I had it would’ve been too time-consuming and impractical.
With that snippet of information it could be easy to imagine that I had been lazing around… only I had been working my socks off all day in tidying and cleaning and… baking millionaire’s shortbread. A rather time consuming and fiddly idea. The baking was nice., the clean house was nice but my hard work and effort in attempting to show them how good I was getting as a homemaker fell rather flat. In the end my very kind Dad went to the shop to buy fishcakes for us to eat. Not my proudest moment. Getting your priorities right is crucial.
It gives me permission to relax
I’m not the type of person that can just swan off and be happy doing fun things all day if the essentials aren’t done. I can pretend to ignore them but they nag loudly at me all day. If you do catch me sitting doing nothing, I am, more often than not, either coming up with a plan of what to do or I am overwhelmed.
I just can’t relax and enjoy time sewing or even playing freely with the kids if I have important housework to do. Lovely though the memes are about forgetting allthe housework and enjoying the moment, l just can’t unless it’s clean(ish). I get stressed, grumpy and feel guilty and horrible. If however I get the most important tasks done, then I truly enjoy my creative time and it doesn’t feel like a sticky guilty pleasure. And let’s be honest, guilty pleasures aren’t really that enjoyable in comparison with earned rewards.
Daily routines also give us permission to relax because it’s easier to let others know our priorities, for example if we’re sick, or we’re looking after small children. We get so used to doing the vast majority of things alone that we find it hard to let go. I have such specific ways of doing things that have been thoroughly thought through (that’s a tongue twister) and it’s difficult if others just don’t get it. And that’s fine, I don’t expect them to, I just “fix” it the next time I do it myself, because it’s only important to me and I can let it go.
However, it actually causes me a lot of anxiety if I feel bulldozed, if loads of jobs here, there and everywhere have been started by others with no discussion and I lose track of what’s where and where’s who. Having a written routine makes it easier to direct helpers without feeling too bossy. “I normally empty the dishwasher and put on a load of washing in the morning” sounds better than “can you empty the dishwasher and do the washing?”. It feels less demanding to me anyway!
This is just three examples of how daily routines help me feel more in control, more calm and less hungry (or hangry as the case may be). Following the FlyLady system has seriously made a huge difference to my self esteem and to the atmosphere in my home. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what system (or no system) you follow as long as you are consistent and realistic with your expectations and make sure you plan in some downtime. I’ll be talking more about this in the future, God willing.