I know today is Thursday, but this week, Stay at Home Mondays got a little out of hand. Between the heat index outside and my attempts to reassemble a playhouse we bought on Craig’s List last weekend, I realized last night (Wednesday) that I hadn’t left our property since Saturday. That’s a little too much home time for me. However, I really needed to find a way to balance being out in the world with taking time at home–something akin to the Waldorf philosophy of breathing in and breathing out. So, we recently added a new event to our schedule: Stay at Home Mondays. The start of the week was being hard for us. Most often, we’d end up staying home anyway, but only after I felt like I’d failed to get us to the standing park playgroup Monday mornings with all our AP buddies, only after I’d imagined the grocery store trip we needed to make, and reviewed and been unable to accomplish anything on the errand and to-do list that had lengthened over the weekend.
I was feeling like maybe everyone else had figured out something I hadn’t; they had their weeks and time scheduled so they could get out of their homes more easily, keep a clean house and stocked fridge, manage their time and their things better than I could. That me vs. them thinking that inevitably leaves me coming up short while the rest of the world got some rule book I can’t seem to find. I posted on my blog asking for time management tips. I imagined setting up a routine for myself so that I would have a set menu-planning day, grocery day, cleaning day, etc. Then I started feeling hemmed in. I hate following schedules. I hadn’t even assigned days yet and already I wanted to tear up the calendar.
I took some deep breaths then asked myself what it was I was really wanting. It was a Monday. I wanted to not feel stuck at home with a son who was sad that his daddy had gone back to work after the weekend. I wanted to not be missing something out in the world with our friends, though when I was honest with myself, I could admit that my son runs from one thing to another at the park where the playgroup is held and I spend the whole time following him around between interrupted conversations. What did I really want to do on Mondays anyway? What did my son want?
With some reflection, I realized we wanted to relax. I wanted a more organic start to our week, one that honored how we were feeling. We’d played all weekend, messed up the house, eaten the food, and maybe even socialized. The transition back to our weekday schedule is always a little challenging and we needed room to ease into it, stay in our pajamas, give Cavanaugh a no-diaper morning, and not pack snacks and rush out to meet people or do errands. Even on the Mondays when we’d go out to the library, I felt torn, unable to sit and be somewhere else because home needed attending.
So, we’ve had three intentional stay-at-home Mondays now. Instead of feeling like we’re home when we should be doing something else, I find that Cavanaugh and I are engaged in more creative play. We have time to reconnect and get back into a rhythm. This past Monday, we painted his IKEA wooden table that was stained with pen marks and food remnants. We wore our painting clothes and made up songs. We went into Cavanaugh’s mostly unoccupied room and did puzzles, had a tea party, and read books. I got to be with him without feeling like we should be or do anything else. It’s a great way to start the week and it’s given me room to stop feeling like I should be doing it better, whatever it is, and just hang out and enjoy the great blessing that being a stay-at-home mom to my son is–at least when I give myself the space to sit down and notice it.
How do you center yourself and find routines for your family? Do you do better with a set schedule or go where the day takes us mentality?