This has always been a FAIL area in my life. I usually come up with a new "plan" every season, and I keep up with it for about a month. Then everything goes to crap again for a couple months, then I come up with a new plan. Repeat repeat repeat.
I've even gotten bored of Flylady, although she did help me a lot in little ways that have stuck.
I quit trying when I got pregnant with Ruthie. In a way it was good, I was able to give up trying to control everything (because that just lead to failure), and in doing so felt a lot less stressed about everything. And you know what? Our place stayed just as clean as it ever was. I just did the cleaning whenever I felt like it, or got the chance.
When we moved to our new house, it took me a month to get everything unpacked and put away. Then, just as I was about to sit down and write up my new "plan", I decided that probably wasn't a good idea. I was about to have a baby any day anyway. So I waited.
Ruthie was born, and things were a little chaotic for a while, of course. My Mom was here and she basically did all of the housework. Once she left, I was feeling really good, and was surprisingly able to keep up with the house. I decided to just see what came naturally as far as a routine. I gave up the need to control everything, or decide what would logically make sense, and just went with the flow. And for the first time in my life, my house actually has stayed mostly clean. Not just when people come over!
So I have decided to write down my routine. Not so I can hold it over myself and beat myself with it when I fail, but just to solidify it a bit more, so I can work on my discipline a bit (a trait I used to pride myself on before I had kids). If it doesn't get done perfectly that's ok, but this is what I'm striving for, so I hopefully don't fall back into my laziness.
My morning routine goes something like this:
~Wake up whenever one of the kids wakes me up, usually 8ish, sometimes later if I'm lucky.
~Change and dress Ruthie.
~Make our bed and open the blinds, greeting the sunshine with thankfulness for a new day (ok, I just made that second part up right now, but it's a good idea! But if you know what I'm like in the morning that should make you giggle).
~Go to the bathroom, get 'ready' and dressed.
~Pick up all of the clothes on the floor that must have been breeding through the night (in our room and the kids room). Seriously, how can there be so many clothes when I pick them up EVERY DAY?! Do a quick tidy too.
~Go downstairs with Ruthie and see what everyone is up to. The older kids usually make their way downstairs while I am feeding/changing Ruthie, and they help themselves to the bowl of fruit on the table. But you wouldn't believe what else they can get into in those 10 or so minutes!
~Make breakfast for the kids, always yogurt, and then something else like cereal, granola, toast, or bagels (Gideon will happily sit in his high chair and eat, but Judith never sits, she will usually just take a few bites and then follow me around for the rest of the morning, grazing on her breakfast throughout the morning, until Gideon gets hungry again and finishes it for her). Grab some fruit for myself.
~Vacuum or whatever little chore I have that day (see below). Judith enjoys vacuuming so she will often do it for me.
~Start the laundry for the day.
~Clean up the children from breakfast (if I can catch them), and put away the clean dishes from the night before, if any.
~Take the kids upstairs, change and dress Gideon, and get Judith to dress herself.
~Set the kids up with an activity at the table, like colouring or a game or puzzle, or one of Judith's work books. Eventually this will be "school" time.
~Make myself something to eat, and go online myself and check my email, facebook, blogs etc. (while simultaneously kind of participating with the kids).
Yeah, that is what came naturally! I'm so proud of myself. I found that if I get my daily chores done and laundry started before I go online in the morning, I have a much better day.
Weekly chore schedule:
Monday - Assemble garbage(s) and recycling and put out on the back deck for Dave to take to the alley the next morning. Wash tshirts, pj's, socks and underwear (usually 2 loads, one of which I hang to dry, because I don't have enough space to hang both indoors).
Tuesday - Vacuum living room. Wash diapers.
Wednesday - Clean bathrooms (and any other windows/mirrors as necessary). Wash pants and sweaters (1-2 loads, I can hang all of these usually). Bathe the older kids before bed.
Thursday - Vacuum living room. Wash towels and bed sheets (alternate between our sheets and the kids' sheets weekly, there's usually 1-2 loads between everything). Make up beds.
Friday - Go around with a spray bottle of vinegar and water and annihilate any smears, smudges or splats. I don't get everything every week, but I do what I can, whatever catches my eye, every little bit helps. Walls, doors, door frames, light switches, window sills, cupboard doors, railings, dressers, desks, tables, chairs, toys, etc. Wash diapers in the afternoon, and Dave's work clothes in the evening.
Saturday - Nothing. I don't normally even do dishes. And for supper we have leftovers or quick food from the pantry. It's as close to a day "off" as a mama can get. I do take Judith to her dance class in the morning, but I usually sit and read a book (it's an unparented class), and have a blissful 45 minutes of quiet to myself. Then once my gym membership starts again, I will go to the gym after lunch. I do my meal plans for the week and grocery list before bed, but I don't really see that as a "chore", I quite enjoy it. I do bathe all the kids before bed on Saturday, too, and wash their hair. Yes, they only have a bath 2x a week and get their hair washed once. And I only bathe Ruthie on Saturdays.
Sunday - Groceries are done first thing in the morning (Dave often does the shopping while I stay home with the kids). This is also my big cleaning day. I vacuum the living room and stairs going up before breakfast. Then after I eat I tidy and vacuum upstairs (but only every 2-3 weeks, it doesn't get too bad up there). Then when Gideon goes down for a nap, Judith and I pick up all of the toys in the basement and vacuum down there, and the stairs. Then I sweep and mop the kitchen, and also sometimes the entrance and bathrooms if needed (usually every 2-3 weeks). I also catch up on all the dishes and do a thorough clean of the kitchen, and put away any remaining clean laundry. I seriously spend the entire day cleaning, but that's what I prefer. I like to be able to look at it at the end of the day and feel like I accomplished something (and then not worry about it too much the rest of the week). If we end up going out and doing something on Sunday, then I bump all of this to Monday, which is tricky since I don't have Dave to hold Ruthie all day for me, but I do what I can.
I like having Saturday is my "rest" day, and then Sunday as kind of a "reset" day for the week.
*Gideon goes down for a nap between 2 and 3 (and I wake him up at 5, he'd seriously sleep all day, he gets that from his mama I think). Then I usually put a movie on downstairs for Judith, and try to get Ruthie down for a nap in the hammock (she will sometimes sleep 2-3 hours in there!). If I am successful, I actually get some time to myself!*
*I also try and put "yesterday's" laundry away in the afternoons. It doesn't always happen, but I actually enjoy folding and putting everything away, usually while Gideon naps. If I miss it one day, I can usually double up the next day and get it all away. And if all else fails, I do it all Sunday.*
My evening routine goes something like this:
I usually start thinking about dinner around 4:30 or 5, depending on what it is (I would DIE without my meal plans!). I aim to have dinner ready for 6:30. Although I've often been late with this, especially if Dave is home late so I have to make supper with Ruthie in tow. But since he has been home with his injury, I can be more consistent (well, at least try. I still seem to always be "late" with it). I make most dinners from scratch so it takes a while. I need to learn to do a lot of the prep early in the day so I'm not so rushed in the evening.
After dinner, if Ruthie needs me I will feed her and go online for a bit. The kids usually enjoy playing downstairs after dinner, and it's the only time of day they aren't at my heels, for some reason. If Ruthie is sleeping, or content in the sling with Dave, I will clear off the tables, clean up the kitchen, spot sweep and do the dishes (pots & pans, everything else in the dishwasher which I run usually every 2-3 nights).
Soon I will be going to the gym again 2x a week. Those nights are usually rushed, I try to leave by 7/7:30 so I can be home by 8:30/9. But I need the gym, so it's worth it.
Around 8:30 I will tell Judith that bed time is coming, and she helps me tidy up the living room. This has seriously been the BEST idea ever! Tidying up before bedtime has revolutionized my life. It's so nice in the morning coming downstairs to a tidy living room, and then it's quick to vacuum in the morning too. Judith doesn't always want to help, but she has to at least put her arts/crafts/puzzles/games etc away in the cupboard, and take all of the toys downstairs (so many seem to migrate up every day). This has been really good for her, after fighting with her for a couple weeks about it, she now participates willingly, and often without being asked.
At 9 the kids go upstairs (8:30 on bath nights). Lately, now that we actually have a routine, they go up without a fight. We get our pj's on, brush our teeth and wash faces if necessary, read 3 books on Mommy's & Daddy's bed, then tuck the kids into their beds with hugs, kisses and prayers. Bed time has been going really well lately! It will probably get harder when we transition Gideon to the bottom bunk from the crib this summer, but for now, it's great. I'm so glad I decided to be consistent with bed time. For a long time we just went with the flow, and sometimes the kids weren't in bed until 11 or 12! Now they are in bed with lights out by 10 at the latest every night, and it has improved their attitudes a lot, and made my life a lot easier. Yay bedtime!
After the kids go to bed (Dave often goes to bed at this time too, especially on work nights), I will either do the dishes or go online, whatever I didn't do after supper. I try and be in bed before midnight. Occasionally I will just be too tired, so I'll go to bed with everyone else.
So, this is basically what my life looks like these days. I definitely don't follow this all perfectly, I'm a pretty flexible person and when things come up I can easily deviate from the plan and make up for it later. But this has actually been working out pretty well for me! Hopefully it will last this time...