3 Steps to Creating a Focused Home Routine
Every part of our lives starts from our home. We take kids to school and back again, we go to work and come home again. We manage chores, meals, events, activities and life in general from our homes. This is where everyone gathers at the end of the day to recap and share the stories that make up our day. We want our homes to be a haven, a place to regroup and rest. Therefore we are having to constantly change and adapt our routines to find what works best for our families.
It feels like we are always striving to make our home routines better, to suit our lives better in our current reality. Our challenges, activities, work, they are all changing all the time and our routines need to change along with them.
Over the past 10 years, my life has changed drastically. Ten years ago I was expecting our first child and just learning how to look after a home of my own. I had no demands on my time other than work and friends, and no children demanding my attention. I was not involved in volunteer work, community initiatives, or trying to run a business from home - we were free to do what we wanted, when we wanted, and we had no idea how drastically that was going to change.
We had our first baby, then came 2 more. We moved 4 times. Our careers evolved and changed. We took on community involvement. And now, ten years later, here we are managing children's sports, my husband's hobbies, my hobbies, my business, family events, music commitments, ALL the things.
When in that time was I supposed to learn and perfect routines to manage my home??
Over the course of those 10 years, I found myself changing from a relaxed newly married wife to a stressed out, perfection seeking new mom. Thankfully, through learning and growing, I have settled into a more relaxed, recovering perfectionist mom. My goals started out high as I wanted everything in my life to be perfect, and to appear that way. But over the years I have learned that perfection should never be the goal, as it is unattainable.
I have learned to measure success by progress alone.
When I look at how far I have come over the past ten years, it is incredible that I am still standing here. That any of us are, really.
The way our lives are shaped is intense and fast and almost feels as if we have ended up where we are by mistake.
It is so important to step back and take a look at the routines you have made every once in a while, and really examine whether they are what you actually want in your life.
As I slowly moved from wanting perfection to accepting progress, I had to adjust that "perfect" vision of what our home and family should be like. This whole time when I was working towards the ideal of "perfection" within my home, what I was really searching for was a home I could be proud of, that I could say was mine. I had to search and begin to find the things that worked for us as a family. I learned to choose comfort over style, and function over perfection.
I am trying to be proud of my home in the stage it is at right now. We have come a long way, through a lot of stuff, to get to where we are now. I'm proud of that and want it to be reflected in our home, and reflected in who we are as a family.
As we work towards progress and not perfection, we need to be willing to change things that are not working, and put into place ideas that will keep us moving forward.
Enter the home routine!
Today I want to talk with you about how to adjust them as your family changes and grows and moves from one stage of life to another.
Begin with reflection
I want you to take this opportunity to look at how far you have come. We have all made changes in our homes and our lives over the years, and sometimes even the small things will have made a profound difference.
You may not feel that organization or routine is a part of your life, but it is there if you look hard enough. Whether these routines are ones you consider to be positive or negative, we all have them.
I want you to write down your practices and routines from ten years ago.
Think about organization of your home, your life, your activities - was there any? (Think back to the story about me - I had no clue what I was doing and it showed for a long time).
Did you have routines? What were they?
What were you proud of in your home and your life? What were your struggles?
Taking a moment to reflect on where you were can help you to see the changes that have taken place in your life and your home, for good or for bad. We need to see the lessons in order to change our current habits.
Assess your current reality
Once you have reflected on what your life was like 10 years ago, ask yourself what has changed in your life. What are the realities of where you are as a family right now? Do you have good routines in place, or is this an area in which you struggle?
I have 3 young children, but the dynamics of having a 9, 7 and 4 year old (which I currently have) are very diffferent from the dynamics of having 2 toddlers and a baby. The expectations and stressors are different, and this means that the routines are also very different. Routines can also be different based on your current schooling reality, current work schedules, as well as other commitments.
Have a look at how these things have changed your routines and practices in your home!
Take this time to think back, further than the stage you are at! Perhaps you remember a time when things were flowing smoothly in your home. What were the reasons for that? Maybe there is something you can put into play in your current routine.
I want to remind you that this can go either way. Children and a home can either encourage or discourage organization and routine. And this is alright to admit! The purpose of this exercise is not to beat yourself up or get too proud, it is to recognize the changes and whether they were positive or negative within your home.
Maybe you do a load of laundry a day and this is working wonderfully for you. Maybe your morning routine sets you up for success. Do you have home systems in place, and if so are they working for you? Take note of what is working.
While you're doing this, assess the mood, flow, style, happiness and joy of your home. These things can so often be affected by routine and perhaps one of these is missing for you in your home.
Once you have found the things that are working for your family right now, reflect on what is not working. Perhaps your ideal of getting your chores done in the morning are setting you up to be disappointed every day. Maybe you are not actually a morning person, and a fantastic evening routine may work better for you!
Pinpoint what is not working for your family. Sometimes identifying the routines that are not working will give you more insight than identifying the positive routines.
Plan for the future
You should now have a solid understanding of what worked for you in the past, and what didn't. You should also have a good grasp on what is working for you right now.
This means it's time to look at what could be.
What is your vision for your home and for your family? I suggest you make a list of all the things you would ideally love in your home. Is this time together? Chores completed? A sense of accomplishment and pride?
Write down your ideal home and family life. Now I know for some, this may seem a little bit unnecessary, but hear me out!
When you have a clear picture of what your ideal home life is, you can begin to set goals for what you want your home to become. You can dream, and aim towards a solid vision.
Gather inspiration. Seek out advice from those who have that thing which you feel is missing. Those friends who have something you love about their lifestyles? Take note as to how they are accomplishing these things. If you love the way they are organized, ask them for their biggest secret.
Once you have a clear idea of your goals for your home, as well as some great inspiration, take just one of these goals and add something to your routine. Or simply start a routine if that is where you are!
Start with something simple, but just start. Repeat it every day and soon it will become a habit. Once you have a habit, you can begin to add on to your routine and add more positive habits to your life.
Add in a new item in the routine and trial it for your home and with your family. If it sinks, get rid of it. Remember to keep your reflection of how far you have come!! It can be so encouraging in times of doubt.
Imagine the difference you could be seeing 10 years from now, taking just one small step for change today. Small steps of progress add up to big results!
If I can tell you any one thing, it is this: it is about progress, not perfection. If you do these things one step at a time, it will be possible to achieve the vision you have for your home and your family.
Remember to always take pride in how far you have come, and remember that this is your home and you should be proud of it.