This is actually what is planned for a typical afternoon
4pm: Bring in the washing/fold
4:30pm: put away clothes,
lay out tomorrow's clothes,
quick lounge room cleanup
5pm: Put music on, Make tea
6pm Finish making tea, set table
Sounds great doesn't it?? Here is what actually happened one afternoon last week:
4pm we headed outside to bring in the washing. The kid's mooed at the cows over the fence and I finished up with an extra 15 minutes to spare! We took a walk to the end of the drive to check the mail and enjoy the sunshine together. On the way back, Erin gets a bout of the runs which coats her thoroughly from waist to ankle!
4:25pm I clean up Erin in the laundry. While I am doing so Billy goes walk about. When I notice this, I leave Erin half naked in the laundry while I bolt around the backyard calling for Billy in a panic (visions of him going to check the mail on his own and going out on the road!). I find him around the front trying to climb on the trampoline.
4:30pm We go inside and I check that I am not in labor or dying (DON'T run in a panic when you are 39.5 weeks pregnant). We run a bath and I pop both kids in while I sit and fold the clothes.
4:40pm Billy poos in the bath. Do we see a running theme here? Anyway, I 'rescue' the panic stricken Erin and fish Billy out before he starts playing with it. I hose both children off in the shower and clean out the bath. We head out to the kitchen where the children are dried and dressed in their PJ's.
5:15 pm We then put the folded clothes away and get out new ones for the next day. I start tea and instruct Erin to pick up her toys in the lounge room.
5:30 pm The kids are getting fairly rowdy now as they are used to just getting into the bath at this time and expect that once they are in their PJ's tea will be fairly soon! I put a Christian music kid's video on for them, which quells things enough for me to get tea well underway, set the table and finish folding the clothes.
6pm Jon is still not home, but this is not unusual (one of the reasons I moved tea time to 6:30). I put the last of the laundry away as the video finishes then I put some "grown up" music on (evenings are usually for grown up music, plus I like to have something a little more appealing than "Five Little Ladybugs" greet Jon as he opens the door!). I sit the kids up at the table and give them some sultanas to snack on. Tea is still not ready as Jon opens the door but I pop the kettle on and we sit and have a cuppa before I dish up.
Please note - this is a GOOD day!! Everything got done, everyone got fed, there was relative calm when Jon walked in the door and everybody ended the day in one piece!! Perhaps I will give a run down of a BAD day one day, we will see!
So what is the point of having a routine if it all gets shuffled about? Well, in Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, one habit he talks about is "beginning with the end in mind". He uses the analogy of a pilot in a plane. Apparently, during a flight the plane will spend the vast majority of time OFF the flight plan! This is due to weather, other air traffic and other factors. Now, when a plane leaves, say, New York for Moscow, if their navagation is off by 1 degree, they can land in a TOTALLY different country!!! Hang on, didn't I just say that they spend the vast majority of their time OFF the flight plan? Yes, they do, but they are constantly returning to the original plan, readjusting, altering course to meet their intended final destination.
My intended destination - short term - in the evenings is a calm, soft place for my husband to fall after a long day at work, a warm, loving environment for my children and a restful period for myself to enjoy after a long day. My flight plan is my routine as put in my home management book. Because I am constantly readjusting and altering back to the original plan, more often than not, we make it. The LONG term intended destination is a family which can communicate, can show love, support and affection for one another and, most importantly, can fellowship together. Even when the whole evening collapses and I end up shoving baked beans down the children before sending them to bed and defrosting something for Jon and I (or asking him to!) I know that the next day we will start again. Why? Because we have a final destination in mind.
So, no, I am not perfect. We have our days. There are moments when I finish the day with a Scarlet O'Hara like, tear-stricken "After all, tomorrow is another day!" (best pictured with a southern belle accent and wide hoop skirts al la 'Gone With The Wind') But I shudder to think of trying to make it through my day with no flight plan. I may leave for Paris and end up in Timbuktu!