Finding Your *Perfect* Rhythm
School started last week and the initial report?
It is kicking our butt.
In mostly good ways.
The beauty of the school year is that it brings about consistency, routine and a rhythm which we all so desperately crave. The dogs days of summer and its carefree nature are lovely, but come the end of August I’m all “give me a schedule, people.”
While breaking my knee wasn’t high on the priority list – hell, it wasn’t even on the list – it did afford me one thing I rarely get: time. Time to think, to reevaluate, to breath, to pray. We don’t have a perfect system in place, as evidence by some bumps in the road this week. But, we are approaching this fall with a different heart. A different mindset.
In a nutshell, here’s where summer left us:
Simplify the kids’ schedules. Our current society pressures us to enroll our kids in ALL THE THINGS. Last spring, we put a moratorium on all kids’ activities. All of them. Yes, the time away gave everyone a breather, but more importantly it allowed us to experience, and thrive, with rest. We now ask ourselves, and our kids, is [insert activity name here] leading you closer to God and what He’s calling you to do or away from it? Stop doing things because you feel pressured and start cultivating a passion for the things your kids love.
Consider the family dynamic. One family we know has all their kids do swim team. That’s all they do and they do it as a family. It’s their family culture and it totally works for them. What’s your culture? What’s important to you? We encourage our kids to do the things they love, but we also recognize we have six kids and everyone has to take a turn. We’re teaching them all to sacrifice for the greater good and so far, no one has died from practicing a little self-sacrifice.
Cull the stuff. Before the great knee break of 2015, I was really on a roll cleaning out our house. No spot was safe. For me, visual clutter really stresses me out. To best honest, we were tired of asking the kids to pick things up all the time. Guess what? When you get rid of more of the things, then you have less things to pick up. Brilliant. When the bigs went to summer camp, I went into serious “get rid of it” mode and the house is lighter, happier and less stressed because of it. Some things got trashed, some got repurposed and lots more got donated to specific friends and organizations in need. Of all things, that brought me the greatest joy, giving with purpose.
Enjoy the beauty. When you whittle things down to the things you love, you really appreciate them more. After cleaning out my girls’ room, I discovered some beautiful artwork and religious keepsakes. There is a quote that hangs in our office that is pure gold: A grateful heart silences a complaining voice.
Invest in the things that keep. I used to be Target’s best customer. And Pottery Barn’s. But when the last four months hand you a new A/C unit, a fridge, a dishwasher, a new knee, a garage door opener and five kids in Catholic school, you tend to take a hard look at your finances. The saying really is true, you get what you pay for. Instead of grabbing something that will do in a pinch, we’re being much more purposeful about buying the things that last. It takes more planning, more budgeting and more patience, but the regret factor so far? 0%. The room that usually gets pushed to the bottom is our master bedroom, but after 15 years we finally put some new sheets on the bed, compliments of Perfect Linens. They are probably the best sheets we’ve ever owned, no joke. My only wish is that the pillow cases were a tad longer. But they are soft, easy to wash, well made and beautiful. I’ve bought sheets from every place you can imagine but these are hands down the best. If you’d like $50 off your set, visit Perfect Linens and use the code TEAMW50. I’m pretty sure we’ll be buying another set for the bed, very soon. And hey, no judgment on that unmade bed.
Don’t be afraid to change the system. I’m a bit of a creature of habit. Laundry on Sunday, grocery store on Monday, pizza on Fridays. But we’re changing things up this year because it just wasn’t working. So far, huge dividends. Point being, don’t keep doing it if it isn’t working. My stubborn self needs to hear that from time to time.
I’ll be chatting with some great ladies in Illinois via Skype this Friday about getting yourself organized for a new school year. I promise to share my notes!
Note: This is a sponsored post, but y’all know me well. I only share about the things I love!
We limit our kids to (1) activity each. For the big guy – it boy scouts. For the little – church choir. We are gone 2 nights a week….not counting scout camping nights. It works for us. It gives us at home time, plus a few nights were we are busy. A great balance. I imagine with 5 kids in school and activities it can be a bit hairy. Love your blog and insight.
We try encourage the kids to do some activities. Any school club that meets after school is fully welcome; town/club sports or private lessons were too costly anyways. And for the first few kids, joining anything and everything worked. But then more kids in school and kids in high school, even 2 activities per kids can add up. However, a brake was put on a lot of things a few years ago when our special needs daughter was born – we all wanted to stay home more and huddle close. Some of my middle kids made realizations about what sports they actually liked or what people they wanted to play with, and they have cut down things on their own. (I still feel a little lost, not to go to any kids’ basketball games after at least 8 solid years of sitting in games!)
I still dream of decluttering my home more! Given how many kids we have (11 from college age to toddler) we really don’t have lots of stuff. But it is so easy to have mess overwhelm when you have to share your space with many charming but slightly untidy kids. It’s trying to find the balance between thrifty (save all the things because you might need it some day!) and simplified (get rid of everything except one set of clothes and a toothbrush!). We’ve moved more into the simplified camp as we’ve had more kids; as you said above, “When you get rid of more of the things, then you have less things to pick up.”
You really have some excellent points here – thank you for sharing your reflections!
I’ve only bought merino wool shirts in the past three years. They are perfect for all temperatures under 100F (so, most of the time!) and eliminate the need to constantly put on and take off sweaters when going in and out of changing temperatures. While the cost per shirt is much more than for regular t-shirts, the cost per wearing is already much lower because they last. And last. And last.
Inspiring even for a singleton!
Thank you 😉
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