On losing rhythm and getting it back
I’ve lost my rhythm.
Not my music rhythm, though I haven’t been singing much lately, either.
No, this is my daily rhythm. The one that keeps the household running smoothly, time spent with my daughter and husband, and our Charlotte Mason lifestyle moving forward.
I’ve lapsed into the TV trap and my house is a mess.
There are reasons behind the fall — I broke my right (dominant) wrist a month ago and had to have surgery on it, my husband has been unemployed for most of the year and so is home all day, I’ve been working hard on finishing Wildwood Curriculum Form II, and I’m developing a preschool guide to Charlotte Mason from a secular/inclusive viewpoint.
Any one of these things would throw my routine out of balance, and added all together everything blew apart.
Why am I writing about this here? Because this blog isn’t just about Charlotte Mason methods, but about our lifestyle. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Because I know that you have had times, maybe months or even years, when you’ve struggled with rhythm, with getting things done and still maintaining a reasonable level of cleanliness, getting meals on the table, and feeling like you have things under control.
We’re going to identify, brainstorm, and implement solutions. I’m going to walk through what I’m doing in the hopes that it can help you, too, dear reader.
First, identify the problem areas.
I’m doing good on getting breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the table at consistent times, having a decent bedtime for all of us, and keeping laundry under control. Though they could be better, they aren’t big issues for me right now. My biggest problem areas right now are:
- House is a mess
- spending too much time on the computer (between Wildwood, the preschool guide, and general surfing)
- letting my daughter watch TV
- spending too much time on Wildwood to the detriment of other projects that are also important
- Not singing
Next, identify possible solutions
Here’s where I brainstorm ways to get my problem areas under control. I won’t use all of these, but it gets the ideas flowing.
— House is a mess: spend a set amount of time cleaning every day, do morning and evening routines, enlist family’s help to keep things picked up (I’m still on doctor’s restrictions for my broken wrist, which limits how much I can do without causing further damage); start doing morning and evening routine again
— Too much computer time: designate specific days to work on different things on the computer, and set a timer to enforce limits for myself. turn the computer off during the day, rather than having the laptop open, on, and easily accessible
— letting my daughter watch too much TV: keeping the TV off during the day (difficult because my husband likes to have it playing all day in the background. Get her into a rhythm too, where we do outside time in the morning and activities like playdough and painting in the afternoon
— spending too much time on Wildwood: This goes back to computer time, and I need to set firm limits
— not singing: Sing! These don’t have to be specific nursery rhymes or folk songs, just little made up songs through the day. Maybe to call my family to dinner, while I fold laundry, or while playing.
This is too much to tackle all at once, so I’m going to take small steps.
On cleaning the house — for this week, I’m going to do my morning and evening routine, and the daily chores from Motivated Moms (the housekeeping app I usually use and love). Also, 5 minutes per day on the worst room of the house. That’s all.
Set a time limit for computer time — I’ll have my laptop closed between 9AM and 6PM. Off and put away. Work needs to be done before and after that time, maybe 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening.
Insist that if my husband is not actively watching TV, that it stays off. His downfall is having NFL Network playing all day in the background. If my computer is off, it will be easier to convince my husband to keep the TV off.
Sing throughout my day. Not anything specific, but just start being intentional about singing little nonsense songs, nursery rhymes, and folk songs.
You may be wondering how this all ties into rhythm. The cornerstones of my rhythm are sleeping and eating at consistent times, but I still need consistency throughout the day, too.
If I do my morning and evening routine every morning and evening, it brings rhythm back into my life. It also creates white space because I’m not constantly thinking “I need to be cleaning”.
By keeping work to certain hours, it keeps it from leeching into the rest of the day. I can spend more time on my daughter without guilt. I can also work without guilt.
I just started today, so no big results as of yet. I’ll update more as I go. Today, though, I shut down the laptop at 9:30. Oh, the temptation to just ‘take a peak!’
Morning routine and evening routine were done. The house is just a tad cleaner than it was yesterday.