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Parenting with a Professional, Intentional Schedule

parenting schedule by the clock?I just finished reading Steady Days by Jamie C. Martin, and I’m thinking about what it means to be an organized, intentional mom.  What kind of schedule do I want my kids and I to have?  What do I want to plan out and where can I leave things unscheduled?  What is realistic to expect from myself and my girls, and what can they live up to when I raise the bar?

These early days of parenting babies, toddlers and preschoolers feels like seat-of-my-pants parenting a great deal of the time.  My most carefully planned days often go awry in the first few hours as someone refuses to get dressed or brush teeth, or if I’m running on four hours of disrupted sleep from nursing a teething babe the night before.   I know that scheduling and organization is not exactly my strong suit.  I’m a big picture sort of person, an intuitive, living in the moment type.  I can be on time for appointments (mostly) with an enormous amount of effort.  So what kind of intentional parenting schedule will suit me best?  Do I really even need one?

While part of me wants to be as go-with-the flow as possible, I know that even a little bit of structure makes the open-ended time more creative.  This is the same principle that causes me to get my best ideas not while actually working but while walking, knitting or spinning yarn.  What I want in my parenting schedule is balance.  Sometimes I need to choose activities for my children and sometimes they need to be in charge.  I want to make sure we all get the time we need to get active, be quiet, read stories together, play hedgehog nest, cook dinner and I want to minimize the time that is frittered away like knitting with the needle pulled out by accident.  The challenge for me lies in working out the details.  I want to plan a day that flows naturally, with a structure that works with our natural inclinations instead of fighting against them.

Steady Days by Jamie C. MartinI’m glad I read Steady Days now, just coming into the height of summer.  I want to give myself the time to let my brain simmer away behind the scenes while we let our schedule relax over the summer, so that by the time we’re ready to greet the cooler days of fall I have a clearer idea of what I want our days to look and feel like.  I want to tease out the essential components of our schedule, fit in some new activities and still leave time and space for emptiness and opportunity.

Clock image credit: RAWKU5 on stock.xchng.com

Disclaimer: Steady Days image is an Amazon Affiliate link.

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  • Amber June 26, 2010, 9:25 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently that I would like to have more rhythm and routine in my days. I think it could smooth a lot of things, but honestly, I feel at a loss. I clearly need to read this book!
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Little Qualicum Cheeseworks =-.

  • Sara June 29, 2010, 8:05 pm

    This is something that I struggle with – the balance between “schedule” and “routine.” I’ve found that outside forces holding me accountable (aka, I have a day full of meetings that I need to be out for with the kids ready) makes my life much more manageable.

    Still working on that early morning routine, though. I can’t seem to get out of the house with the kids before 10am. *hides*
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Kol Yisrael =-.

  • Kristin August 25, 2010, 7:43 pm

    Yes, this has been on my mind for months now, as well. I read Steady Days awhile ago and it really took me months to process it and decide how I wanted to approach this. I finally have come around with a plan — not a schedule — but a way to list out my ideas for the day, make sure we get various things in, and to plan ahead for the week (I’ll link to it below!).

    Still not doing great at sticking to it or even filling it out daily, though! I don’t want it to be a burden — it should be a way to help us, not hinder. I really do think planning ahead some and being intentional does make a huge difference. I need to keep remembering to take the few minutes to DO it!