How Do Your Routines Get Done When Something More Fun Pops Up?

by Heather

Heather sent me these questions, and I am posting it for everyone because I think everyone can benefit. I will answer, with my thoughts, but I would also love others to comment and add their own thoughts.

Heather says:

I love your site and just came across it while trying to get inspired to get "back on track" with my cleaning and organizing routines.

I have a general question too. I have a daily and weekly schedule that I fine-tuned after trying the Flylady technique for a while. I have adjusted those routines to work for my schedule and try to keep up with them. However, I'm finding a hard time fitting them in. Do you schedule the tasks into your day?

I am so busy with kids, work, family obligations, friends, etc (all wonderful stuff) that I run out of time for me stuff (house/exercise). Let's say a party pops up when you should be doing your Wednesday night routine. What do you do? Blow off the house stuff ... again, or say no to the fun? I think I'm too spontaneous for a clean house. ;)

I'd love your insight. I think my problem is that I don't keep dates with myself and consider other's needs first.

Taylor's response:

While weekly routines, with daily parts, are the core of keeping your home in good order things pop up all the time, just as Heather mentions. In fact, I doubt you will ever have a week that will go exactly according to your generic weekly house cleaning schedule.

Does that mean you should just give up? No. It just means that you need to be flexible with your routine. I know at first that sounds like an oxymoron -- a flexible routine. But in reality, once you have it established, your routine actually gives you more flexibility. You have broken down the necessary housework into more manageable, smaller parts, so if you need to move small parts a round a bit it isn't as hard as moving the whole big task of housekeeping around.

Go ahead and go to the party on Wednesday, but if you know its coming on Tuesday do just a bit of your Wednesday tasks on Tuesday night, and the rest bunched with your
normal Thursday tasks, or whatever else work for you. You will figure out what works best for you -- and sometimes that means saying no to fun. But honestly, not very often is that necessary if you have your routines in place AND everyone in your household is contributing at an appropriate level. You may need to work on getting others involved in more chores, but then if you do everyone should have the chance for fun.

Heather also asks:

I also have noticed that I'm living with a husband (not to mention 2 kids) who don't put things away after they use them, ever. I'd be happy to hear how you deal with that. Do you try to motivate or do you just pick stuff up for them. I do try to leave the things there until he feels inspired, but it takes a very long time. I don't like a cluttered home, so I generally pick it up. Thanks for your time and inspiration!


Taylor again:

It won't happen overnight by any means, and at first it takes a lot more work than just doing it yourself, but you can train your kids to pick up after themselves if you work on them with routines.

One great way for kids to learn to pick up is to have certain times of the day that you expect clean up time, such as after breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for example. If they pick up that frequently it won't take as long as marathon sessions every couple of days, and it will quickly become a habit.

Husbands are a completely different animal, because you are partners, and are not their Mom (nor do you want to be). That is a much more individual case that takes communication, trust and respect between spouses to work out, with all parties giving and receiving, and compromising because of the love they have for one another. It is more complicated, I believe, than I can respond in this short space.

Does anyone have any other thoughts, ideas, comments? We would all love to hear them in the comments!

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by: Heather Bauer

Your response is very helpful. I think balancing the spontaneous fun with some times when I have to say no, is the way to go. I find that I'm always saying yes to other's needs and not my own peace and sanity that comes with a clean home.

On the husband front, I agree that it's a tricky one. I have noticed that he picks up more if I keep my things picked up more. So, maybe consistency is the key with that. It bugs me, but I need to try to let some of it go until he's ready to tackle it. I totally agree that the kids need to have their own routine to pick up throughout the day so it's not so daunting and overwhelming.

Thanks again!

Heather's questions
by: ~LL~

Heather, Hi! I hear you on so many levels! I am a mom of 4 boys ages 10, 8, 6 and 4. AND, my hubby is a pilot and is gone 18 days a month.

Here are some things that have helped me. First, I have a weekly to-do list, but it is not a schedule. A schedule is almost defeating to me as it reminds me of the things I did NOT get done. I just have a list that needs to be done each week. When I have a day that nothing pops up, I do what I can. Then, when field trips, or parties or sickness occurs, it is no big deal to take a detour because I know that it will all get done.

I also try to remember the most important tasks. I mean, really...nobody will notice if I didn't scrub my bathroom baseboards, but if the boys are out of undies, that MUST be done ASAP.

As far as picking up for/after your kids. I help the little ones. The big boys are told when to pick up. I set a timer and tell them that anything that is still in the floor is mine. I have only ever had to claim something it all gets picked up.

As for hubby, he is pretty good. I don't hassle him simply because he isn't home that much. I do find, though, that the more picked-up the house is, the more willing he (and the boys) are to keep things up. They really do like a neat and orderly home.


by: P. McCann

Heather, I am you, you are me. Wow, I'm reading your first question, and I'm like, "great question." I, too, have a hubby and two kids. The whole fly away mom thing, I called it on strike. I wish I had never went on strike, Cuz things got worse. I have to start over and the snowball effect is how I'm gonna take this and I think as things start looking up the kids will see it and do their part and hubby too. All we can do is hope. Still, overwhelming, I've been checking out this site for a month now, love it, btw, I'm just now figuring out how to get through the web site it was a jumbled mess in my mind. I just took a deep breath and started today with my goals. Wish me luck. Good luck to you also, Heather and thanks Taylor you are awesome.

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