Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Value of a Timer

I am starting to find the value of a timer. I am tweaking my MROL again, trying to really make it work for us. I am finding that I have high expectations, which tend to contribute to my sense of being overwhelmed and a general loss of temper. Those expectations need to be lowered, but that is easier said than done.

So, to start with, my day no longer depends on what time we get up in the morning, and how long I have before Fritter wakes up. This doesn't work for us, because whatever time I plan on waking up, Fritter will wake up 1/2 hour before me. If I'm depending on that time alone to get my day off on the right foot, I will always end up walking on the wrong foot. ;-)

So my plan has changed a little. After breakfast and sending my dear husband off to work, I sit down with my planner and figure out what needs to be done. For example, today I needed to get the main floors swept and Ladybug's floors swept and mopped. This would be done with 1/2 hour set on my timer and Fritter playing outside while Ladybug napped. I also needed to get the dust bunnies out from under our bed, the front room windows cleaned, and the furnace vents cleaned. 1/2 set on the timer, and Fritter playing in his room while Ladybug napped. Morning cleanup including changing sheets today, with 1/2 set on the timer, and Fritter playing at the table while Ladybug napped. (Ladybug naps a lot.) I say my Rosary along with Rosary Army on my iPod during this time.

In between each of those times, I'm making sure that I do an activity with Fritter and Ladybug, and they get my full attention. I've done this all this week, and it seems to be working. My chores are done before 11, giving us plenty of time to play or run errands or whatever before afternoon naps. During naps, I plan a 15 minute organizing project, and free time for me. Some days this means a nap for me, and other days it means reading a book or whatever strikes my fancy. After naps, I've decided that no routine is the best routine for us, besides getting dinner on the table and the bedtime routine. This leaves time for us to swim or read or play or whatever, and I'm not left feeling guilty about a messy house.

The timer holds me accountable, because I'm working to stay on task instead of getting sidetracked on other projects or cleaning. Also, I don't spend my whole morning cleaning, without spending time with the kids. So far, laundry is the thing that keeps getting put off, and it takes me at least two days to get it folded and put away. But the timer thing is working.

Each day, I just put on a pretty apron (like the one I won at the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival and forgot to blog about) and clip my timer to it. I'm also not being really rigid with it, which helps. If the timer goes off before I'm done with whatever task, I'll just add a few more minutes. The important thing is that I'm keeping track of the time and the task at hand. Do you do anything to keep you on track with housework?

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