Tuesday, May 1, 2012
In many ways, I feel like Wife and I have our family on cruise control. Things are pretty stable around the house. Here are some of the contributing factors.
Wife has been finding recipes and creating dinner menus for the week.
I have stayed on top of laundry.
Cleaning the house and maintaining some level of organization has been consistent.
We have maintained our calendar so that we are generally aware of events coming sooner and later.
There are many people who do not like to live life by a schedule. They feel that the schedule rules their lives and leaves no room for the unexpected.
I could not disagree more. Having lived both sides of the coin, I can say that I have more freedom now that I keep a tight schedule. Sounds like a paradox?
When I am keeping my schedule, there are fewer times where I am wondering what I'm supposed to be doing. In effect, my time is used more efficiently. Things are being done in the order that will allow things to be done when needed rather than spending time on the wrong things, only to get hit over the head with an insurmountable number of tasks later.
One example is that of Wife creating a dinner menu. When she does so on Sunday nights (sometimes even earlier,) I can make a shopping list Sunday night or Monday morning and do all of the shopping then for the week. Now that I have all of the ingredients for all of our meals (except things like fish and other items I buy the day-of) I do not have to spend that time later in the week or running to the store in the eleventh hour.
Wife's laundry is a pain in the ass, as I've stated in the past. There are so many items that require special processes that it takes planning to make sure these items are done right the first time. Else, I'm doing a ton of ironing (or a stack of wrinkled clothes accumulates waiting for my ironing motivation to to build.) I have a better sense of when the washer needs to be started so that I can be there to separate the line dry or dry flat items from the items that need to be put into the dryer until damp and then hung or laid flat. These items cannot wait in the washer or dryer for even a moment or they will be wrinkled. With a bit of planning, I can work it out so that I can do many other things in the meantime.
Keeping the house clean has been great and easier than I thought. One thing that helped: put more toys in the basement. We recently had a shelving and storage unit installed in our basement. Having small toys in the upstairs living room is unnecessary. The only things still kept there are dress up outfits and some action figures. Everything else is in bins that are kept out of reach unless adult supervision is available.
Maintaining kitchen cleanliness has proven more elusive. I have done a much better job of cleaning as I cook (so that the kitchen isn't a total disaster,) but post-meal cleaning has not worked itself into my routine consistently. The transition from meal to the next activity to timed too close together. The best thing I have done is to consistently run the dishwasher at night and empty it while making breakfast in the morning. Being able to put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher over the course of the day improves efficiency.
With JD in so many extracurriculars, in particular dealing with speech and occupational differences, we have many appointments consistently throughout the week. Without a tightly run schedule, we would spend a lot of money on eating out, laundry service, and cleaning service. I only dry clean items that are dry-clean-only and have maid service bi-weekly to do deep cleaning.
When I do take the time to plan my days, I find that it gives me freedom to do fun things. I know when we have time to go to the park and when we have time for playdates. I have time to hit golf balls and surf the deal websites for wish list items. I have more time to maintain our investments and to consider home improvement projects. I have time to play guitar and to make meals that take 90 minutes to cook. By having a well-established calendar (thanks, Google calendar and my Android-based Motorola Droid), I am able to think about my day and how to make the most of my time. And, in the end. make the most out of life.
Posted by Chicago Dad at 9:15 AM