Now that we have spent some time evaluating our priorities and praying, it’s time to plug activities into a schedule. Again, you can use my worksheet if you wish. You want to begin with things that can’t move (i.e. church, school, work, etc.), then move on to your priorities. You want to plug your highest priorities in first, then work down the list. Use whatever time you have left to put in additional activities.
Once you have completed your schedule, pray over it and then take it to your spouse or someone you really trust to get their opinion. One time when I did this, Bill felt like I had not made ample time for him and was trying to fit too much into one week. His wisdom helped me cut back and make him more of a priority.
As promised, here is my daily schedule. This schedule basically stays the same from day to day with a few exceptions such as church, community group, family day (every Friday b/c Bill gets home early), and a weekly date with my honey. I’ll begin to explain some of it today and continue in the future. I want to say first that most of my day before Bill gets home revolves around the kids. The reason is that if my schedule revolved around me and what I “need” to get done, it would look something like this: read (let Liam play by himself), clean (let Liam play by himself), exercise (stick Liam and Ariana in the stroller), talk on the phone (let Liam play by himself), etc. Get the point? The fact is, my greatest ministry and priority right now besides pursuing godliness and being a loving wife is to be a loving mommy who points my children to Christ. A clean home, my social life, even my physical health all come after that mission. And the fact is, I only get a few short years with them. Bill also helped me realize that. So my day is filled with a lot of activity with Liam, especially since I am his only playmate. At this age, Ariana still spends most of her day eating and sleeping.
Many people don’t use a set schedule with allotted times. Instead, they make a list of what needs to get done each day and begin with the top priority. There is much wisdom in doing this, and I would advise it for many people. I keep a fairly rigid schedule for 2 reasons. 1) I feel that children need a set routine each day. It keeps expectations clear and helps with many discipline issues. We say “time” at the end of almost every activity (i.e. blanket time) so Liam knows we are changing activities and what’s coming up next. He now knows his schedule so well that he will go to the next activity without me saying anything. 2) I can be lazy and irresponsible if I don’t have a detailed schedule to follow. A set schedule keeps me more productive than a list because with a list I will say, “Oh, that can wait until tomorrow.” A set schedule leaves me with no options (especially when your child is holding you accountable). The constant change in pace also keeps things interesting for Liam and me.
The last thing I want to say is that I rarely follow the schedule perfectly, and that’s O.K. When you have children (or if you don’t), things hardly ever go as planned. There are always mishaps or activities that take longer than planned. I said above that the schedule is rigid, but I am flexible in keeping with it. If something happens to throw our schedule off, I just make quick adjustments and pick up where we left off. You must continually search your heart in this area because a schedule can become a quick source of pride, thinking that things are going smoothly because of your planning. When my schedule is off (and it always is), I try to laugh and be reminded of what a weak creature I really am apart from God’s grace.