Stay at Home Mondays

by Sonya Feher on June 27, 2009

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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, 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?

Sonya Fehér is a writer and mama in Austin, Texas. She blogs at http://mamatrue.com or you can visit her website at http://sonyafeher.com.

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Sonya Feher (29 Posts)

Sonya Fehér is mama to Cavanaugh True. She is the leader of the S. Austin chapter of API and is a professional organizer with spaceWise Organizing where she helps individuals and families create space for how they want to live.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

desiree fawn June 27, 2009 at 10:36 am

That sounds like a great idea.

My daughter is five months old and I still feel behind and without schedule. Someday I think it will click, but not yet.

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justine June 29, 2009 at 6:12 am

I was so happy to read this! I always hear that families with schedules have a much easier time of it…however, every attempt I have made to create a schedule seems to get sabotaged within hours (minutes, even)! So often I feel as if I am floating through the day, scurrying from one project or chore to another. What I’ve decided is that there is a big difference between “routine” and “schedule” for my family. As long as we do things pretty much the same way, in the same order, and I feel like I’ve met the needs of the little ones while doing so, then I am willing to give up being “there” on time and making it to every storytime, playgroup, and activity. I’ve had to accept that it means that we are “that family” at the grocery store at 10pm with all of our kids…(my, my, the looks people will give you when they assume your kids should be in bed already! We homeschool,and we don’t punch a clock for work so our time is our own… so who cares?) it is what up working for us! I love your Stay at Home Mondays idea! Fantastic!

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Amber June 29, 2009 at 12:35 pm

In general I love a schedule. I am a woman with a Plan. But lately I’ve been throwing it away and I’m glad. I had an overscheduled few months and it took its toll. Now we have days around home with no particular plan and we end up cooking and playing and gardening and reading and doing puzzles. I like it.

I think a formal stay at home day is a great idea. I might even implement one myself after reading about yours. :)

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Katie - PeanutSprout June 30, 2009 at 12:02 am

We don’t really have a weekly schedule, but we have daily routine. The key thing for our family is getting the boys out of the house to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING by 10:30 AM. Even if that just means chalk drawings in the driveway. On days when I need to shop or run errands, we leave to do that by 10/10:30. If I can help it, I’ll even schedule doctor appointments around that time.

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Andie July 2, 2009 at 1:27 am

I created ‘No drive Mondays’ in our household when my son was about 15 mos (he’s now 2 yrs). Going from a busy, scheduled full-time job to staying at home, I found that I felt compelled to go, go, go, and it has helped me slow down, sit and play, cuddle for a nap, or whatever strikes our fancy!

We live in a community with many conveniences within walking distance (at least in my perspective) such as post office, grocer, coffee shop, library, so if we need to get out of the house, we walk. Funny, friends/family will still call and say, “I know it’s No drive Monday” but I was wondering if…” fill in the blank. We have no ‘schedule’ per se, but we do have routines. For example, every morning after breakfast we take a morning walk for at least 30 minutes. Haha, sometimes I’d rather just sit on the couch, but my son brings me the leash and whatever shoes he finds by the back door! It’s a great way to start our day. I’m even buying a rain cover for the stroller so we can go out in inclement weather. Now I have to make that babywearing coat!

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Stephanie Petters July 9, 2009 at 11:26 am

I love this idea and completely understand. We went down to one car about three weeks ago but my husband still rides his bike with some co-workers after work on Tuesday and Thursday’s so he would need the car. I decided that Tuesday and Thursday’s are official at home days even if my husband doesn’t take the car. I also chose to not work on those days so that on those days we are more home centered and centered with my daughter doing fun things such as reading books, coloring, baking things, and taking walks with our dog. Now I value when Tuesday or Thursday comes because it is relaxed, I achieve the home tasks that I really enjoy as a WAHM/SAHM, and I get to spend that time with my daughter… no distractions, no play dates, and not giving those days to anyone else but ourselves. It has made a tremendous difference.

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Stacy (mama-om) July 10, 2009 at 11:27 am

Yes!

We started doing something I call “define the day.” So, Mondays are “walk in the woods day” (the woods are right by our house so we don’t drive); Tuesdays are our “out day” — class and then Homeschool Park Day; Wednesday is a “free” day; Thursday is “taking care of home” day (shopping, laundry, cleaning, etc.); Friday is “Tobi” day (our babysitter). My son really likes knowing what day it is. We vary from this, of course, but having something to vary from helps.

I agree with Justine, too… about routine versus schedule. We have a loose routine in the mornings and it helps us all settle in.

Another thing we do, on whatever day, is “cuddle time” — a time when I just sit on the floor and be present with my kiddos. They direct the play and I do whatever they say. :) This is a great way to reconnect and get grounded at home if we’ve been running around doing stuff.

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