Monday, June 29, 2009

Admitting my greatest weakness, and asking for help from my wise readers

I'm having a breakdown and it is all the fault of Project Walking into a Hug.

Here I was, going along with this project and smiling, praising and planning Family Home Evening. Noticeable changes were happening with my children, and I was happy. And then I was slapped in the face by the fourth goal.

Schedule for Structure: Make a written schedule that you would like to follow and follow this schedule for one week.


Besides the fact that my life is highly stressful right now, my ADD/right-brained/creative self simply does not do schedules. And when I do, I end up getting really angry at the schedule (especially if it is self-imposed) and rebelling against it and refusing any sort of structure at all. Logically, I realize that we're all happier when we know what to expect. Logically, I realize that I will get more done. Logically, I realize it is a GOOD thing.

But I hate it. And schedules just make me mad.

I'm so mature.

So. Help? How do you maintain your schedule, all of you naturally organized types? Even better, how do those of you that are more like me do it? (Or do you?)

Currently, my household is in one of the greatest schedule funks of all time. So this chapter was written for me. Give me your advice, and I'll see what I can do, even if it means being on this chapter for the rest of the summer.

And I'll try really hard not to be angry about it.



If you're interested--some of my recent photoshoots:

Bulloch Family
Pam: Headshots
Binga Bows shoot
Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. I use a schedule, but a pretty flexible one. For example. I pick a day to accomplish a certain kind of goal, like Tues, Thurs I will exercise, get any driving errands done. Mon, Wed and Fri I get other household duties done and actually plan visiting time with friends etc. Other things I try and keep scheduled... I have each of my boys have a day in the laundry room where they do their own washing, drying, and putting away (I don't make them fold, but they do have to have things in a clean basket). They have been doing their own laundry since kindergarten. Dinner at 6 each night. These are most of the ones I work off of. Nothing too strict. Hope that helps, and good luck!

  2. I'm pretty flexible too, but I have a few things scheduled. I kind of have a general frame that I work around: jobs before 10 am, lunch and naps, dinner followed by softball/exercise.

    I read that while every family should have a schedule it can be as rigid or flexible as you want it to be. You can just have the general breakfast/freetime/ snack/freetime/lunch/nap/snack/freetime/dinner/bath and bed. Mine is even looser than that even, but I like the idea of a very flexible framework. That way it serves as a guideline, and you can feel successful even if life forces you to move things around a bit.

    I know of people who do one job a day (bathrooms, laundry, vacuum...) but I can't keep up with that. Thursday is my our laundry/deep cleaning day. If something fun comes up then there's still Friday. I don't like doing it on Saturday since that's the only day Levy's home.

    I also give the kids extra jobs for not minding, and it really helps the house stay cleaner. Even if they don't do a great job they're busy so they aren't making more messes. My baseboards have never looked better. Next come the windows!

    Good luck scheduling your life!

  3. I'm so like you! I get mad and rebel at schedules. Sometimes I can make loose ones work if I reward myself along the way, but it's tough. Good luck.

  4. I love the lessons taught or the solutions as being taught by Mike B. It is all in our thinking, and the direction from which we are looking at things, it is from the wrong direction. Change that, take care of what needs to be done, no matter what. Then your angry reactions go away and you begin to function as you know you should. Structure is a good thing. But also, put in some flexible time too, I think that is very important, allowing freedom after the structure. True principle! I love you!

  5. I'm with you. I hate schedules even though I know my life flows more smoothly with one. So I'm sorry no advice that would really help from me. Just commiseration.

  6. I'm really only super scheduled when it comes to work. But that's easy without kids.

  7. Considering that you're in that moving mental-shutdown stage of things, I think you're asking a lot of yourself to superimpose a schedule onto it. I've been there, Lara, and it's like having your brain permanently short circuited. Don't kill yourself with this right now.

    Having said that, there are one or two things I can think of that might work. Choose activities that come with their own schedules. Tell your kids you'll take them to a movie that starts at 2:00. Plan to meet friends at a park for lunch, and specify a time. Choose a TV show that the kids enjoy, promise them you'll all watch it together but they have to finish (some kind of household chore or practicing or something) before you watch it.

    And then let that be enough. You'll have more opportunity to fine tune things when the move is behind you. Times and seasons, dear friend! It's all about times and seasons!

  8. I am not a super scheduled person but I do like have some things that I know to plan on each day, but I am always flexible and it is never written in stone because life just happens. Good luck.

  9. Seriously, with the stress of an upcoming move going on right now, you don't need any additional stress. And if a schedule stresses you out, it's not worth it. What if you say something like "I will pack one box a day" and leave it at that? Or a schedule that you know you can keep, like "I will give my kids five hugs and tell them I love them each day".

    How can I help?

  10. For me, there are a few things that have to happen, on time, in my day, rain or shine. One of those is excercise. Get up, move a load of laundry, maybe even fold some, then do my workout, and be done with it by 7:15 am. I know, I am a freak that way. But the rest of my day - pretty relaxed. Mealtimes are flexible, chores, flexible, family time, flexible, all depending on what else we have to to and the weather . . .

  11. I am like you. Schedules make me angry and upset. My only suggestion would be to make a flexible one and try that.

  12. If you don't want to do a schedule, then don't. I don't think you have to do this to the letter to make it work. Do what works for you and don't worry about the rest. It's like when I was teaching. My first year I tried to do everything my student teacher told me I should be doing. Well some of those things just didn't work for me, and it was making me crazy to try and do everything he thought I should be doing in my own classroom. When I finally figured out that I needed to just do what was best for me, it was a huge burden lifted and things worked better for me.

  13. Schedules always add even more to my guilt, but I'm constantly trying to make them work. Aargh. When will I ever figure it all out? (Probably once I have no more kids around.)

    This is our schedule for the summer: Morning: getting our jobs and practicing done. Lunch. Nap for Ben and quiet reading time for the others. Afternoon: activities. Mon: Cousin Day, Tues: Library, Wed: Pool, Thurs: Field Trip, Fri: Friends.

    So far, so good. We haven't had any major breakdowns, and the schedule is loose enough for me to not get overwhelmed.

  14. Uh...I don't have a schedule. Maybe that's my problem. I keep a calendar in my bag and one on the wall at home and try to let everything else that's not on the calendar fall into place. I like to have flexibility so I won't have the guilt. If Monday is "clean the stove day" and I don't get to it I'll feel bad but if I just note to get it done by the end of the week it tends to get done with no regrets.

  15. I'm going to be starting my time management on my organization blog next week.

    that said, take one thing at at time.

    the Y in Stacey ( see my org blog) means YOU, what is going to work for you.

    So just pick one thing. Like schedule reading time or a board game with your kids for a certain time every day. Then dont' worry about the rest.

    I have a very artistic DD who has taught me a lot about different wirings.

    One thing and then you can add to it if you want.

    Good luck!!!!

  16. I agree with Erin that this is a crazy time to impose a schedule. It is survival mode.

    But, I guess I abide by a routine, but not a schedule. Especially since having #3, which is evidenced in his crazy naptimes. Just do your best.

    (Yes! I want to do a photoshoot when you are in town-K? I realize it will take longer to get them edited. Also, I need some headshots as well as family pics. Can't wait to see you guys!)

  17. We have a chore a day on our schedule, which is really a room in house that the kids have to clean. And we have an activity a day, which is not specific and can happen at any time: outings, shopping, service, games, pool, etc.

  18. I think we all know I'm a pretty strict scheduler... chores, times for learning, time to be outside. I find that when I don't schedule we waste a lot of time and don't get stuff done. This doesn't mean that I don't schedule free time -- but it is scheduled in.

  19. I have created a schedule, it's even on my wall for all to see, but it is often not followed :( I have a hard time with schedules too.

  20. I totally agree with a few of your other comments, Lara. Schedule your "schedule" :) for a later time and just do the best you can. Good Luck!!!

  21. I live and die by my planner, so I always have in my head how the day has to break down according to where I need to be for various activities.
    For Ryanna's summer vacation, I created a spread sheet with about 10 various jobs that she has to do daily (violin practice, listen to Suzuki CD, clean her room, water the flowers in the front of the house, unload the dishwasher, etc.) I also gave Owen 4 jobs he has to do each day (take diapers to the trash, pick up toys before going to bed and put away the silverware from the dishwasher). Some of the kid's goals revolve around me--Ryanna's practice and Owen's book reading, so I know that at a certain point during the day I have to get those things done. I also try and work along the theory of what is the best time in term's of the child's attitude to accomplish said chore. If they do all of their chores every day for a week, we get to go to Goodwill or the Dollar Store and they can get whatever they want. We've done it for three weeks now and it works like a charm.
    I do think that every schedule has to have flexibility built in because you just can't account for kids getting sick, friends calling or service that may need to be done. But, a schedule is a wonderful thing!

  22. Lara, wow what a time to be against that chapter.

    Recently, I've decided to let the kids involved themselves in what chores they like to do and limited them to five or seven quick ones. They are responsible for each one and the only caveat is get it done and show it on their charts. It is before any luxuries like Wii and computer. Reading is a must before playtime. This summer schedule gets them to organize themselves while being responsible. I have done so much more lately. I still couldn't believe it! ;-)

  23. I prefer to have a routine over a schedule. There is something about a schedule that is rigid and unforgiving. Lord protect anybody that stops a schedule from happening, but a routine, that CAN be a little different (if you let it). For instance, if you know that ever morning you plan to wake before the children, make your bed and get dressed, this will happen every day, whether you did it at 5:30 am, or 10:30 am. If you plan that when children wake up, they will be fed, clothed and (fill in the blank...sent to school on time, or entertained with a morning activity, whatever applies) then again, so long as everybody is where they need to be when they need to be there, it doesn't matter if its done at the exact planned for hour or not. In fact, I really, TRULY, would encourage you to just have a morning routine and an evening routine and allow the afternoons (especially during these summer weeks when kids are out of school) to be a little free-form. Somebody need a nap, take one, want an impromptu trip to the library? Go for it! Its important to your family's happiness that your daily routines are not confused with a daily schedule that causes misery and takes away the ability to create together. Or at least that's my two cents.

  24. I think I'm like you, but I have learned to schedule so that I can be more spontaneous.
    For example, if some cool opportuity comes up and theres no food in the house and no clean clothes I get stuck at home. So now I have a schedule so that things are relatively under control most the time. Then I can just override the scedule when something fun comes along.

  25. I doubt I am much help here. I am pretty laissez-faire in the summer with schedules (but cranky when the house gets messy). During the school year, I have outfits put out the night before (have one of those days of the week closet organizers in each of their closets) and before bed, they pick up whatever toys that were being played with (we do that in the summer too, but I'm a real nazi about it during the school year). There is a also a homework rule before play or TV, which Mikelle is getting more and more of a butthead about as she turns from kid to tween. But like I said, I don't know how much help I am. :-( Hang in there. Just the fact that you're trying shows you're doing a good job.

  26. I'm not really good at it. I'm the kind of person who likes a list, but tends to like the list more when I make the list at the end of the day and write down what I already did. :) The only thing I really have on a schedule right now is story time. I don't put laundry or things like that on a certain day. I just do it when I need to. Sorry to not be of any help.

  27. What clan of cave hair said: "I prefer to have a routine over a schedule. There is something about a schedule that is rigid and unforgiving."

    Also sums it up. For me, anyway.

  28. I'm of no help at all. I love schedules . . . well, I love writing them and dreaming of sticking to them, but I never do. right now life is just chaos. I try to remember to write things on the calendar and then look at it once a week. I keep a few recipes on hand so I can make baked-apologies for the times I drop the ball. I wish you luck and would love to know anything you learn that works. Maybe we could all then hire you to write our schedules--ooo, I like that idea. Someone else give me a schedule!

  29. I am a creature of habit. I like to do all of my things the same way each day. That being said, throw in a 13 year old son and a hubby, well, that's a challenge. I do like a schedule, but it has to be flexible when others are involved. Ugh, can't really help with this one, but I wish you the best, lol.

  30. I try, and try, and try to follow a schedule (especially since my husband is a creature of habit), but I'm not so good at it. The best I can ever do is invent a totally new schedule every day—so it's not exactly a daily routine, but at least that day is planned out.

    (Then again, does anything ever go according to plan?)

    Instead, I keep lists like nobody's business. I have the weekly list, the daily list, and the long-term list. And I'm pretty good at sticking to them—so even if my day doesn't exactly resemble yesterday, or tomorrow, at least I've accomplished the things I'm supposed to do. Yes, things like "do the dishes!" and "fold laundry" make it onto the list, too.

    Don't know if that helps, but I definitely feel your frustration!

  31. I don't have a schedule either, I've never tried I'm too scared. But if you just think about it a little bit- you usually EAT at about the same time each day right? Start there. Add in other things that you usually do at a certain time anyways. Keep your times approximate and don't worry about the exact minute. Then add in other things as you see they will work. Maybe. Good luck!

  32. OK, so this is probably NOT what you want to hear, but I say schedules aren't for everyone. I've tried doing a schedule and have never been able to stick to it. Life throws too many curve balls and I end up getting mad that I'm not doing what I should be doing at any given time. For me, I work more efficiently without one.

    That being said, there are things that end up being "scheduled." You can't change things like the time you have to get the kids ready for school, pick them up and go to appointments. In that way, we already have a "schedule."

    Just call me the anti-scheduler. Sorry.