Friday, March 12, 2010

Organized Chaos

A few of you have asked about specifics regarding how I reduce the morning madness. To be quite honest I feel strange even writing about it because it is so basic--you probably all know all of this stuff already. But I have decided to combine these tips with a response to some other inquiries I have received over the recent months regarding how I structure my day.

First, I am by no means the authority. I have just adopted a few things that seem to work in this unpredictable season of life with small kids. Second, there is a lot of grace surrounding everything I am about to say. Some days I do it all. Some days I don't do any.

  • Foundation:
    The absolute key to my day is that I start it with my Lord. I need time with Him before the demands ensue--otherwise it just ain't pretty. I then desire Him to overflow into every moment--the whiny, happy, frustrating, joyful, and overwhelming moments--where He graciously guides and comforts and forgives and blesses. He is that detailed.

    Practically speaking, I ask Him throughout the day how to best spend my time. From one-on-one time with the kids to cleaning toilets to writing and studying, I want to be faithful with my moments because I have learned that this will be the place of most blessing for me (and my family) and the way He will be most glorified in my little life.

  • Cleaning:
    OK so here are some tangibles. I used to be a perfectionist when it came to the cleanliness of my home. Then I had three kids in three years. My standards were obliterated. Now my goal is simply to knock the top layer of grime off the surface, staying just above the "disgusting" range.

    So when it comes to cleaning, I do one thing each day: Monday, Windex; Tuesday, bathrooms; Wednesday, kitchen floor; Thursday, vacuum; Friday, wash sheets and towels; Everyday, load of laundry. But like I said above, much grace surrounds this schedule. Don't even ask when I last mopped my kitchen floor.

  • Home Management:
    At nap time and bedtime, once the kids are down, I take about 10-15 minutes to put most things back where they live--which may include loading the dishwasher with crusty breakfast dishes. I start in the laundry room and do a "clean sweep" throughout the house--quietly and quickly, like the Tasmanian devil on mute. If a toy crosses my path, then I just toss it into the playroom--my freedom room. The kids will put it away later, right?!

  • Prep for morning:
    If it is a school night then there are a few things that make the early morning routine run much more smoothly--and keep us all from ending up in tears. First, we pick out my daughters clothes the night before. She is my child who tarries, so she is the one who needs the most preparation. Then, I make her school lunch and pack any snacks that my boys and I might want that next day. I also get any bags together that need to go out the door with me in the a.m.

    I also do not spend much (or any) of my evenings watching TV. Deep gasp from the audience. It is one of those things that seems to distract me from the essentials of my life. Rather I just keep "badgering" the Lord to see how He would have me spend my time, which in turn helps me prepare for the following day--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

I want you to know that I do all of this with very clumsy feet. I trip and miss and get skinned knees, but God faithfully restores and sets me back on track. The key is getting before Him with our moments--asking Him to invade and change our responses. Nothing is too small that He does not want to lead in and bless abundantly. Nothing is too mundane that it cannot be done to the glory due His name.

It is me before Him, you before Him--our moments an offering at His feet. And here's the thing: He says stuff to guide us because He absolutely adores us. We will be most blessed, and He most glorified, when we choose to listen and obey.

So how about you? What tips have you learned along the way that could benefit us mommies of young ones?

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