Monday, March 24, 2008


I am going to make a stab at putting down my "schedule."

I have been very resistant to scheduling my life. My mother was extremely scheduled. I mean, extremely scheduled. There was a time for everything and everything was to be done at its proper time. The net result was that our home was always spotless, there were always clean socks with no holes in them, and groceries were always bought with coupons and on sale. Dinner was served promptly at 5:15 each evening, and it was always homemade from scratch, very balanced and nutritious.

Mom vacuumed and dusted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, although Wednesday was what she called a "light" cleaning day. Bathrooms and hard floors were Tuesdays and Thursdays. Closets rarely needed much attention, as she had complex systems for rotating the products she bought ahead (in bulk, on sale) and stored. We were always supplied at least six months in advance with everything but milk and produce. She had so many groceries on the shelves in the basement, once a little brother of one of my friends was over playing and he stopped in wonder, "Wow, Ruthie, I didn't know you had a grocery store in here!" Mom even bought gifts ahead and stored them--toys, baby outfits, etc.

Her laundry system was so complex--washing the cleanest things first and saving and reusing the hot water for dirtier items. I didn't understand much about it, except that there were "clean whites" and "dirty whites" and only the most unkosher of citizens would ever consider washing dish cloths or dish towels in the same load as underwear. I just tried to stay out of the way, and I always got my clothes back pristine clean, folded perfectly, or ironed and hung on a hanger.

I was expected to help with the vacuuming, dusting, bathrooms and hard floor cleaning. I also had various other jobs--peeling carrots was one I did a lot. Mom always kept carrot sticks and celery sticks in in containers in the refrigerator and brought them out after every meal. I was also the main dishwasher after dinner. In the summer I was asked to pick beans and gather the apples that fell off the apple tree every morning. I finagled out of picking beans as much as I could because the vines gave me an itchy rash on my arms. My mom told me to toughen up and go out earlier, before the heat of the day, and wear a long sleeved shirt. I think I caused her a great deal of frustration in my reluctance to cooperate.

Our home was organized, clean, economical... and very stressful. Deadlines for housework were as stressful as my school deadlines for assignments and tests.

When I grew up and got out of the house (in other words, when I married at 21), the first thing I did was dissolve the schedule.

Of course, this made me feel guilty and dirty and unworthy of having friends over (or friends at all).

But I just felt I had to escape the rigid prescriptions for every day.

However, I know there is value in having a schedule, especially if you can be flexible with it. Another thing that God taught me when I had my babies is that you don't have to create schedules; sometimes they sort of happen naturally, and all you really have to do is notice them, work with them as they evolve, and be willing to change them when it is necessary.

So here is what my life at age 42 looks like:

  • Bible reading/prayer
  • Beds made
  • Rinse down my own shower
  • Sinks and vanities wiped down and dried
  • Kitchen cleaned (dishes, counters, table tops)
  • Clothes put away
  • Family room tidied up

  • Menu plan for the week
  • Catch up laundry
  • "Big Prep" to teach Bible study

  • Teach Bible study
  • Big grocery shopping with menu plan centered list

  • Change two beds (rotating)
  • Clean toilets
  • Organizational cleaning project (whatever is appropriate)

  • Take morning shower in kids' shower and clean their bathroom
  • "Big Laundry"
  • Start dusting and vacuuming to cut down on what has to be done on Saturday
  • Moms in Touch prayer group

  • Finish "big laundry"
  • Continue with dusting and vacuuming (maybe there won't be much left for Saturday!)
  • Finish Wednesday's organizational project or consider starting a new one

  • Family cleaning day--the goal is to have everyone pitch in at 100% effort for 45 minutes and get the house cleaned from top to bottom. However, with crazy schedules, this often doesn't happen. Still everyone is supposed to do his/her own bedroom this day, and we do the basement and wash the kitchen floor.


  • Change the furnace filter
  • Change the vacuum bag and clean out the vacuum filter
  • Give the dogs their heartworm meds

This schedule does not include cooking dinner or driving the kids to activities or picking Shannon up from college. I don't want to try listing those or I will forget some, and just when I think I'm getting it all done, I will miss something very important.

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