Time management. Scheduling. Routines. What’s your reaction when you hear those words? Does scheduling your large family seem scary and impossible? Or do those words mean delight, freedom, and productivity?
If you're part of the first group, you're pretty normal. In fact, I think it’s totally safe to say that mommas of large flocks feel inadequate when it comes to time management. When I first started this blog, I surveyed nearly 200 families, and what I found shocked me, quite honestly. Somewhere near 90% of mommas that filled out my survey said that they felt like they needed help with time management.
Examining Our Attitudes Toward Scheduling
It’s fascinating how the concept of time management is so different to so many people. Our attitudes towards scheduling seem to depend a lot on the way we were raised. For example, I grew up in a perpetually late family. It was very embarrassing to show up late. And as a result, I promised myself that I would be punctual. If I’m not early, I’m late. I’ll confess that sometimes I have taken it to the extreme and damaged relationships, especially with some of my not-so-prompt children.
But then again, I know some people who grew up on a schedule run with military precision. No room for tardiness. No grace or time to stop and smell the roses. And as a result, these now-adults have a very laid back, or nonexistent view of scheduling.
As all of us Large Flock Mommas know very well, neither precision micro-management nor a hands-off approach work very well when managing a large household. There has to be a happy medium. And I think that’s exactly what building a schedule provides to a busy momma! If you already schedule and it’s working great for you, I’m so proud of you!! But if you need some help, please read on.
You might have tried having a schedule in the past and found that it just doesn’t work well for you. Perhaps you have accepted the idea that you just don't have the personality to live on a schedule. Or maybe your kids might have meltdowns that change the whole trajectory of the day. I get you, momma. Wow, do I get you! But if you have found yourself chronically resistant to running a scheduled home, I think it's a really good idea to examine why that is.
What’s Good For Momma Is Good For the Kids, Too
I am very busy. I have several irons in the fire, proverbially speaking. In fact, something I frequently hear from other mommas is “Beth, how on earth do you do it all?” After all, I homeschool, do all the mothering things, run a side business, blog, teach Sunday school, etc.
But you know what? I’m guessing you have a lot going on as well. Or if you don’t, I’m guessing you wish you were able to get more done. Am I correct?
Here’s the secret: One, I don’t actually do it all. And two, I don't think I have some super human energy level, and I'm not driven more than the average mom. I truly believe that the reason I can get so much done is that I have started keeping a solid, yet flexible, schedule to keep track of what I need to do! I haven't always been this way. And I am here to encourage you that you can learn to schedule your life as well!
Teach Us To Number Our Days
We'll delve into the nitty-gritty of scheduling in the future, but first I think it's important to really ponder the benefits and reason behind doing it. For me, it's not just about being productive for productivity's sake. It's about bringing glory to the One who gives me breath and life. And isn't that what we want most?
In Psalm 90:12 we find Moses saying, “Teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” God has called us to be good stewards of what we have been given. And we know that time is one of the most precious gifts that we have been given. Numbering our days—making the best use of them—pleases God. I don’t know about you, but when I die, I want to say that I lived my life to glorify God and serve others, and that I didn’t squander my time. I don't want to die well rested or living in chaos. I want to say that I mastered my time, rather than being mastered by it.
That’s not to say there’s not time to rest. Oh yes, we all must have times of rest. But Mommas, when we run, let’s run hard. And let’s run well. And having a plan for the day really helps with that.
And finally, it’s so important that we remember that we are discipling our children with not just our words but our actions. They see how we steward our time. Not only do kids thrive on predictability in their day, but when we have proper control over our schedule, we are modeling stewardship, grace, and flexibility.
Scheduling doesn't have to be scary or overwhelming. Instead, it can be a way to glorify God as you bring freedom and productivity to your day.