Routines. Plans. Structure.
All kids need them, to varying degrees. I’ve found now, that as I’m now at home alone for 5 days a week that I also need some of this, to help me make a success of being the home parent. The last 2 and a half months have been odd, only because the Current Mrs W has been working 3 days a week, using accrued holiday for long weekends. This has meant my working week has been disjointed as I get into a rhythm, only to find the wife home again! Thus we’ve been able to have days together, and also days where one of us has been able to take the kids while the other does something, even if it is only the bathroom.
I now feel I’m in a position to properly get into a rhythm and understand our family routine better. I’m aiming to prioritise day to day and weekly routines; plan expeditions and afternoon activities; and finally; sort out our meal planning (which has always been a little haphazard).
I want to make sure I am accounting for and accountable for running the house as well as remembering what time pre-school is open! This means I’ve been making lots of lists on scraps of paper, which isn’t particularly ideal. I’m now formalising this a bit, by using a pocket diary to note my weekly ‘objectives’, weekly meal plans, any arranged activities, a schedule for regular household tasks and a longer list of meals that work, for posterity.
This helps me loads as it’s giving me focus for when I have time I can use to work on the jobs list. It also gives me that sense of achievement of clearing my inbox, making progress. I’ve titled this post “Make plans not Plans” which I think is a good way to express my overall approach. My list of objectives, tasks and activities is structured weekly, not to any finer level. Some tasks have higher priority, some would be helpful or fun to complete and some are totally dependent on mood / weather / that day’s sleeping pattern. So any plans I do have, can fall by the wayside, if the 1 year old decides on a short nap that morning. That’s ok, I can bump that job to another time. Or if PlayDoh is today’s preferred medium of expression, no problem, that gives me more time to work out how to make a Hey Duggee puppet from 3 yoghurt pots and some loo roll.
My lesson learned here is that I am both setting and working towards my objectives on a longer plan than some might. I can check things off relatively freely and know I’m lucky that I get to keep two small humans at the top of the priority list every day.