Enhanced – read by the author

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Finding Your Routine


hen I was pregnant with our sixth baby, our oldest was nine years old. We seemed to have a pretty good rhythm to our days, but I had this nagging feeling that with the next baby our current routine would simply not work.

I spent some time praying and sat down to reorganize our daily life. It was overwhelming. Questions ran through my head. How do I keep our house in some semblance of order, nurse a baby every few hours, make regular mealtimes happen, continue to train the children the way I know I’m supposed to, and homeschool?

It seemed like an impossible task. However, I knew God had given us these children, and He would somehow provide the grace to do all that needed to be done.

So I prayed again, dug into some resources I thought might be helpful, and prayed some more.

I started out by making a list of the things that needed to be done each day with the amount of time I thought each task might take. When I added up the hours I was shocked to realize that I was expecting to accomplish eighteen hours of work per day!

After that reality check, I returned to the drawing board, reminding myself that God had to have a way to do this.

As I looked back over the list, I realized that not everything on that list had to be done on a daily basis, so I made a new list of very basic daily tasks that truly needed to happen. I started with things like timely meals, kitchen cleanup, laundry, taking the garbage out, homeschooling, etc. I then listed the things that only needed to happen weekly, like house cleaning, and realized that we could do that on Saturdays which would help keep our weekdays more doable. I then assigned as many age-appropriate chores as I could to the children.

I also realized that I needed to settle into the idea that we were shooting for a “skeleton” routine, and we could build from there. At the time, we needed to only do the basics until the kids got used to this new rhythm.

It took a while to have confidence that our new schedule was covering enough, but once I felt like things were pretty well lined out, we dove in with both feet!

I was excited, energized, and by the early afternoon, exhausted.

Once I began to recover from yet another reality check, I realized that I had still put my schedule together based on the best-case scenario.

In other words, there was no margin for error—no margin for a child who wasn’t cooperating, a chore that wasn’t done properly, a discipline issue, a spilled glass of milk… you know, all the things that happen when you are dealing with actual children. And there certainly was no time for hugs and encouragement for a job well done.

What had emerged was a schedule planned down to fifteen-minute time frames with five kids going in different directions and no way to oversee all of it with any sense of godly nurture, care, or flexibility.

At that point, I took a step back and was actually thankful that this was the failure that it was.

I didn’t want to be a mom barking out orders. Our mission is to raise godly children, not to have a home that runs like a well-oiled machine.

“The truth is that there is no perfect schedule because there are no perfect people and no perfect days, but in hindsight, I can tell you that perfection never really mattered.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love order, and I think that order is good. Keeping a certain amount of order can be a great way to train our children in diligence, work ethic, and more. God is a God of order, not of chaos (1 Corinthians 14:33).

But He also understands that raising children is messy sometimes. It’s part of the process. In fact, He has a very tender spot in His heart for those with children at home:

tennis shoes lined up under a cabinet
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11)

Even so, God has also called us to think in orderly ways, to reason, judge, and consider all aspects of a matter. (Isaiah 1:18)

That means we need to exercise good judgment in prioritizing our daily routine and family life so that it reflects His values (biblical values). Even then, He needs to lead us in the details of what that looks like for our particular family.

What that meant for our family in that season was that I needed to break my day into bigger rather than smaller blocks of time. I had a list of tasks that I felt were important and needed to happen during each block, but I could now see that it was vital to include margin within those blocks so I could respond to my children in a way that pleased God and served our family well.

The tasks were tools that God would use toward that end, but whether every task was completed every day was not the most crucial issue. The most critical issue was keeping our overarching mission in mind: raising godly children.

The routine I laid out was our servant, not our master. It was there to help orient our days to benefit our family in ways that moved us toward our mission.

That particular routine varied somewhat as we entered each new season, but overall it served our family incredibly well for many, many years. However, you must know that in our over twenty-six years of homeschooling, never has one single day gone exactly as the routine was so beautifully laid out in the spreadsheet on our refrigerator.

The truth is that there is no perfect schedule because there are no perfect people and no perfect days, but in hindsight, I can tell you that perfection never really mattered.

As long as our routine kept its proper place in our family, God used it greatly to accomplish what He had for us.

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headshot of Durenda Wilson

urenda Wilson is a home-schooling mom of eight (born 1991 through 2004), seven of whom have graduated. She has been married for 32 years to Darryl, and they have 9 grandkids. Durenda has written The Unhurried Homeschooler, Unhurried Grace for a Mom’s Heart, and The Four Hour School Day. She is the owner/writer/host of her blog and podcast, Durenda Wilson, and mentors moms at simplyunhurried.com. She also enjoys speaking at events where she can encourage homeschool moms to think outside the box and homeschool in a way that is a great fit for their families!