If you are a woman who has come home after long years of having a strict schedule at a job or in college, it is not unlikely that you experience the following: a feeling of disorientation and even helplessness, easily succumbing to distractions, inability to concentrate and frustration over not knowing what you are supposed to do the next moment.
I'm talking from experience. After my most stressful period of college was over, and I started spending most of my time at home, I felt almost lost because there was no one to tell me when I need to get up, where I need to go, and what I need to do at every given moment.
If you've never seen a healthy and balanced home life in function, it's easy to give in to the world's expectations, feel useless, and conform to the idea that 'there's nothing to do at home'. When you become the manager of your time, disappointment and frustration are guaranteed if you don't learn to use it wisely.
The first step, for me, was to write out a good and solid routine, which includes all the frequent and basic housekeeping tasks necessary for our household to run smoothly, specifics of cleaning of different areas of the home, laundry, shopping, cooking, etc. Starting my day by carrying out those basic tasks saves me a good deal of rush and pressure afterwards. I also make sure to include quiet prayer and meditation time in my morning routine. It gives a completely different, more serene feeling to my entire day!
There are days when the basics alone keep me so busy that I don't have time for anything else – for example when shopping, laundry, major cleaning jobs and cooking all pile up in the same day. But normally – at this season of my life - it doesn't happen, and I'm left with several long hours on my hands.
This is when exasperation would undoubtedly set in if I didn't have a section in my home management binder for long-term household projects. This includes all things that take some time to do, or cleaning tasks that only have to be done once in a while. For example: washing windows, sewing towels, polishing furniture, or renovations. The list of things to do at home is truly endless, but if I counted on my memory alone, I'm not sure I'd remember any of them in a moment of idleness, when a good book or my computer seem so much more tempting.
It's also important not to get carried away with an addiction to crossing items off your to-do list. I'm convinced that good home life is supposed to be simple and peaceful, so I try not to be overwhelmed by the number of projects that seems to magically multiply itself, and not bite off more than I can chew.
In the late afternoon and evening hours I try to unwind and dedicate myself to useful and creative activities: crafts, good reading, studying Spanish, writing letters or updating my journal (yes, I'm still addicted to that peculiar old-fashioned way of blogging on paper, with no readers and no comments!), and finally, computer time.
Of course, routines will be different for each home, for each family, according to individual habits and needs, such as nap times, nursing times, work schedules of other family members, and whatever other considerations you might take into account.
This brings me to the final point of today, which is: be flexible. Sometimes your neat and orderly schedule is unexpectedly broken off by the needs of your parents, siblings, husband or children. Don't let this discourage and frustrate you; having a good working routine is a must, but the possibility to alter it to meet the needs of our loved ones is one of the most wonderful aspects of being a homemaker.