School isn't out yet for us, we have the rest of this week and then next before we're officially on summer vacation, but I'm ready for a change right now. It seems like I've been just barely squeaking by in so many areas of life and I'm just tired of it, so I've decided to make a few changes.
First is in the use of my time. I should be able to get so much done each day, being home alone without the kids, but it seems like I have an endless to-do list. So I've been thinking about all the things I think I should do, the things I actually get to and the things I want to do. I realized that although I'll probably always have a never-ending to do list (because really, the house and clothing will just continue to get dirty) I can still prioritize. Sure, I want to do my best at being a homemaker, but in fifty years from now I believe there will be more important things than how clean my house was. The time I spend with my children, with my spouse, my friends and family is ultimately more important than the dust gathered on my tables or the crumbs on the kitchen floor. Not that I'm going to give up on taking care of my house, I believe God's blessed me with it and I don't want to take that for granted, but I do need to balance it all a little better. I've never been good about balance, I'm kind of an all or nothing type person, but I'm trying.
One of the things I've decided to do that will help this balance is to take a summer vacation from excess technology. In looking at my typical use of time in a day, I determined that I waste a lot. Whether its Facebook, blogging or even watching television, those are hours that I won't get back. They are hours that I could've been spending with a loved one or cleaning or reading/crafting. So, starting today I'm cutting out Facebook entirely. Let's face it, that thing is a huge time sucker. I decided that I would still blog, because its my writing outlet and that is important to me, but I am not going to watch television unless its with Erik or I'm working out. So, I think I'll reclaim a lot of time from that and I'm excited for it. Spring and summer is a wonderful time in Montana and this will help me get outside with the girls and enjoy it more.
Another thing I've been looking at is my parenting. We actually had guest speakers at church on Sunday and they spoke about parenting with grace and truth, as well as being the example to our children in speech, life, faith, love and purity. It basically boils down to being close to Jesus, because he is grace, and knowing your Bible, because that is truth. It seems so simple but that doesn't mean its easy to do. I have noticed some of my own bad qualities showing up in the girls and I hate that. The way I freak out over stupid things or grit my teeth when I'm angry. It convicts me that they are learning more from my example of what I do, instead of what I say. So, I'm determined to change this. I think summer vacation with the girls is a great opportunity, because lets face it, they will fight. All that time together without the distraction of school is a breeding ground for arguments. It will definitely be a test for me to show them favor even in the midst of discipline.
One thing I think will help with that is a routine of sorts. I find myself nagging at them to do certain things every day, like make their bed, brush their teeth, etc. Why do I have to remind them of these things they do everyday? So I decided to make them a daily chart--a list of things they do everyday that they can look at and check off once its complete. The morning one will include making their bed, brushing teeth and hair and getting dressed, all to be done before they watch any tv/movies,etc. (Which I'm going to try limiting tv/movies this summer too. Its way too easy for them to watch hour after hour of mindless cartoons. If I'm cutting back on that, they can too!) Then their evening one will have picking up their floor, pj's and teeth brushed again. Does anyone else have the battle with their kids about picking up toys? We do and I hate it, I ask them to clean up and all I get is whining and "its too messy, I can't". Well, hopefully this will help that. I think a new rule for summer we'll have is no new toys out or new activity until the old one is put away. I haven't determined what the reward will be for doing these things, possibly their weekly allowance or maybe a bigger prize to work for. Money seems to work well for my girls, so it will probably be that. But I'm hoping that having a daily routine will help them to know what they need to do without me having to constantly remind them.
So, even as we finish up the school year with all the busyness that entails, I'm hopeful for the change in our home and family that summer brings. What about you? Do you do anything differently in the summer to help maintain order & happiness in your family?