I wrote an article on No Sidebar about quitting my job to lead the life I wanted to live. When I wrote the article I thought I knew what I wanted.
The life I want doesn’t look exactly the way I thought it would.
Once I actually started staying at home with my kids full-time, I kept thinking I needed a schedule. I thought that was what everyone did and we just needed a schedule and everything would magically go the way it was supposed to.
I thought “We just need to get on track with a schedule.”
What I really meant was that a “schedule” would solve all of my problems. I would have time for myself. I would know what to be doing. I would feel fulfilled.
I wasn’t googling or checking Pinterest for schedules. I don’t even like printables. I just had this story in my head that a schedule was the answer.
I felt guilty because I wasn’t following my schedule.
But what I have found to be true for us is the exact opposite – we thrive with no schedule.
Our “schedule” revolves around eating and sleeping. Those are the constants, the things that have to get done every day.
We don’t schedule our days hour by hour. I don’t devise crafts for my kids. I let them lead and tell me what they want to do.
It lets their creativity flow. They devise their own crafts and I don’t need to be overwhelmed with all the pieces and instructions that come with a kit and trying to keep all three of them on track. They play with each other or on their own. I can see what interests them. I can see how they are different. We do what we want each day.
The hardest part about this lifestyle is actually my thoughts about it. I had to accept that I knew what was best for us. I had to be willing to let my kids choose what they want to do, even when it isn’t what I want them to do. I had to be willing to say yes even when I wanted to say no. I had to figure out how to fit my work into our day.
I had to be willing to let go of the story that I needed a schedule and routine for everything. We just aren’t going to do storytime followed by crafts and then outdoor time every day. It doesn’t work for us. We don’t enjoy it.
What I’ve really decided is we all enjoy ourselves more when my kids choose what they want to do rather than always doing what I want them to do. It was important to figure out exactly what worked for my family, not by trying to follow rules that I thought other families were following.
My ideal life doesn’t always look the way I pictured, but the joy of spending time with my family is there, and that’s the important part.
About the Author: Rachel is a mother of 3 little girls and is passionate about helping other moms find time to enjoy their kids by simplifying their lives. Find her at Justgettingthingsdone.com