As a full-time employee, I’ve often found myself maybe a little jealous of those women who have all day to do their chores. Who don’t come in after a day of last minute paperwork, forms, dozens of emails and a few harried meetings, only to have to put supper on the table, vacuum the carpet, mop the floor and somehow manage to make sure the hubby has clean clothes. I’ve been working on my attitude of jealously, because I know God has given me the responsibilities of my job for a purpose, and I ought to find contentment in what I’ve been so graciously given.
I’m also not naive. I know the women who are home full-time have very busy lives; they’re chasing after children, they bare all of the responsibility of the household chores, they’re homeschooling, they’re full-time bloggers, they volunteer at organizations around their community. Lest you be fooled and think I’m sitting here with stars in my eyes drooling over the peaceful, perfect life of the SAHM, be assured I am not. I just know that my chores and hobbies are fit in around 8 solid hours a day of being away form home.
I tried doing my chores in the evening. It resulted in dirty kitchen floors, ring-around-the-tub, and piles of unwashed laundry, because I was worn out at the end of the day, and wanted some time to do things I enjoy. The evenings are also my time with my husband, which is important. He hates it when I come home from work, make dinner, and then spend the next two or three hours catching up on housework, only to collapse into bed and instantly fall asleep.
I tried saving all my chores for Saturday, making it my “housework day.” This meant we could never take little day trips, and visiting friends and family became inconvenient. It also meant there was no time for big projects, because they were always put on the back burner so I could make sure we had clean unmentionables for the week. I believe in the Biblical concept of working six days a week, but I found there were so many things that weren’t getting done.
Here is my most recent attempt at a daily schedule, which so far is working.
6:45 Wake-up call, get breakfast (usually a hot breakfast) and dress for a little exercise. Usually this is when I wash any dishes in the kitchen.
7:30 Head out for a walk, or follow a work-out video. We walk when the weather is nice
8:15 While my husband is in the shower, I throw in one load of wash (I’ll post my weekly washing schedule later), make the bed, and sit down to spend some time in the Word.
8:45 I shower and dress for the day
9:15 Finish up any dishes that didn’t get washed, pack my lunch, put laundry in the dryer, and do my daily chore (I’ll post my weekly cleaning schedule later as well)
9:50 I head out for work
10 A – 5:30 I’ve found that if I only take 30 minutes for lunch instead of my whole allotted hour, I can leave 30 minutes early. I can also work through lunch and leave an hour early. The joys of working in a small office with flexible hours. I can also arrive any time between 8 and 10, so if my chores finish up early, I can get to work early.
5:45 I usually walk right in the door and make dinner, which I try to have on the table by 6:30. If I can, I will do simple chores like fold laundry, dishes, or pick up clutter, while dinner is cooking.
Once dinner is done, I clear the table and rinse the dishes. We do not have a dishwasher, but I have found that my evenings are more restful if I rinse my dishes, stack them neatly, and wash them in the morning with breakfast dishes. Leftovers go in the fridge, I do any bits of food prep for the next day that might be necessary, and then the rest of my evening is chore free.
Well, almost. Now that we have a flourishing garden, and no rain (seriously, like six weeks of temperatures in the 90s and not a spot of rain), I usually go out in the evening to water, often about 8 pm or so. This time of year, the sun isn’t fully set until after 10, so its still quite sunny out at that time. I’ll carry along my pruning shears to trim off faded blossoms, and I’ll pull a few weeds. It doesn’t really feel like a chore, because I have a very peaceful, shady yard.
I spend the rest of my evenings sewing or blog planning, and I’m usually in bed by 10, where I’ll read for a bit. All of my hobbies happen in the living room while my hubby is reading or watching TV, so it counts as time together.
I’ve found that my life has been a bit more restful since putting this schedule in. Since I know when the dishes will be washed, and when the laundry will get done, I don’t feel stressed to see a dish on the country or a full laundry basket. I always have a good solid couple of hours in the evening to unwind and do something that restores me a little bit.
I hope this is helpful to you as you look at your overflowing schedule and try to make all the pieces fit!