Monday, February 27, 2012

routine+flexibility= laid back perfection :)

There are a lot of thing in life that I don't have "figured out." I was never a routine person growing up. I like spontaneity. No week looked exactly like the week before it. I like random. I like surprises. I like being able to go with the flow, not have everything all figured out; plan, but not necessarily stick to "the plan" if something unexpectedly better throws my plans out the window...

Yeah. That's all great for a free spirited, young, single or newly married girl without a ton of responsibility. But I have babies now. And secretly, I always liked it when people had a routine. A schedule. People who didn't waste time, who knew when and where they were going next...

There is one area of my life that I am starting to "figure out," and it is making me want to figure out other areas as well! I shared before how I have a regular day of the week that I grocery shop. Somehow, having a meal plan makes everything else in life seem to run more smoothly. I hate the feeling of dinner time approaching and not knowing what I'm making, not having anything thawed out, not having the right ingredients for what I want to make, and having hungry boys waiting on me to make the next move... SO, what works for us:

1. I make a meal plan on wednesdays, after the sales have come out in the newspaper.
2. I grocery shop on Thursdays. It's like a date for me and the boys, Drew loves to go see the lobster tank, and get his free cookie and lollipop.
3. I buy what I need for 3 to 4 meals.
     ~This works because a.) we usually go to Shaun's parents one night of the week for dinner b.) I make enough that we can have leftovers at least one night & c.) I usually have 2 or 3 casseroles frozen that I can pull out if those 3 to 4 meals aren't enough.

Besides buying 3-4 meals worth of ingredients, I also replenish our breakfast/lunch stash. I like to have a smoothie and a half a grapefruit for breakfast (currently). So I usually get fruit and yogurt on a weekly basis. And I like to have salads for lunch, so spinach or romaine and salad toppings are usually on my list too. Drew will eat whatever I eat, but his breakfast is usually cereal or toast and fruit, and his lunches vary. So for me, routine has worked wonders in our life in this area.

I apparently am not the only one that likes a flexible plan for meals. Read this post to see another example of what can work.

Once I had Thursdays established as grocery shopping days, I started doing a women's Bible study on Wednesdays. So two of my weekdays have regular occurences now. My best friend is a hairdresser, and we always joke about how we wash our hair twice a week. I never had a set two days, but she did. I never knew what I was doing week to week, but now that I do, my two "hair washing days" are Tuesdays and Fridays. (This is not to say that I only shower twice a week!!! I just only wash my hair twice!)

Our evenings are even starting to fall into place: Every other Tuesday we have home group, Wednesdays are prayer meetings at church, Thursdays Shaun gives drum lessons, and Fridays are usually family nights (and Shaun often does the cooking for family night!) There is still plenty of room for flexibility in our week. Every weekend holds different plans, Monday nights are free nights, family night can be saturday if we have plans friday, and I like to plan little outings with friends on Mondays Tuesdays or Fridays that are different every week.

Being a mommy can keep your brain so busy thinking of the little details of feeding/changing/dressing/safety that you don't have time to think about when the big things are going to get done. Having set times to accomplish certain things helps me to not have to think about them or wonder when they're going to get done, and this makes just a little room in my brain for things I love: creativity, and extra time to be spontaneous!

p.s. if anyone has any tips on how they've incorporated a flexible routine into their life, please share! I love reading what works for other people and seeing if I can make it work for me too :)

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