Thursday, January 18, 2018

Living off the grid - time wise

I've been thinking lately how my daily routine as an at home mom has changed over the years. And it has changed a lot over the years but at the same time it hasn't. I sometimes have deep questioning thoughts if I'm a truly boring person who abhors change, or if I'm using routine because that's life with a bunch of kids.

I think I question because, frankly, I live really oddly. Living in a rural area and homeschooling means I don't actually even see a town some days. I don't have to get kids to school, I don't have to pick them up. I don't run errands, I don't hop in the car to grab coffee or see people. Which I'm sure makes me seem like a complete anti-social hermit. I get out of my house by walking down the road every day I don't go to town/the city to see my parents.

My schedule isn't made by anything outside of my own home and mostly, me. I'm the boss of me! I decide when I get up, when my kids get up, when school and sit down work gets done, what activities we go to and when, and usually when choosing these things they fit into my general routine. As in we focus on school most every morning barring a weird doctors appointment, make most activities fit into afternoons, and if not we have the flexibility to work other things around to make the things that don't fit perfectly work. I choose how to spend my time after I've dealt with school and kids. I decide when to cook and eat dinner. There are short periods of time where things get disrupted for one thing or another and I can feel the difference and stress it creates. I feel maxed out and rushed, but at the same time very unproductive.

Obviously I'm only speaking for me and my own weird existence, but whether it's from living this way for so long or not, I feel like I would really not enjoy living according to outside schedules. I mean, I would have to adapt, and I know I could do it, but I really don't want to! And I mean this in a very general way, because we all have appointments, and Mass, and activities, and meetings and lots of things that we have to show up for at certain times, but not having the daily rhythm of my day determined by outside factors is pretty swell.

But that's so odd! I'm so weird! It's so distinctly un-modern and uncommon. As a society we're so used to being told what to do, where to go, and when to be there. Which happens for very important reasons, but have we thought about the overreach of them all in our lives that much? Do we ever question "school" and work and the myriad of things we think we have to do? We really do have control over our own time.

I think I partly took to routine and making sure I'm making choices of how and when I fit all the things of life into my day because I had a bunch of babies in a short amount of time! Babies and their routines make you figure out that there should be a routine to your day, that you function better if you sleep, eat, and play on a regular schedule. As an adult this is still true. And as the adult of a bunch of babies, your way of survival is to get all babies on the same routine as to not lose your mind completely. As the fiftieth caveat of this short post; of course my babies weren't perfectly scheduled every day of their life, but the general rhythm of routine in our days was something that over time I learned really helped everyone including myself. Knowing that most days I'd have nap times to get a little time for myself was hugely relieving. Knowing that when babies woke up, I would nurse, then they would play put in perspective that their needs needed to be met before mine. And the list goes on and on.

I would never tell anyone to live as weirdly as I do. But I do think that intentionally looking at how we spend our time and how to use it valuably for ourselves; what we want to spend our time on, instead of the other way around and being forced to live in the leftovers of time the outside world dictates, can change our perspectives on how we're living our lives.

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  1. I'm glad you are writing again! I Love getting to read your thoughts.if I were more thoughtful and smart I would have a better comment to leave.

  2. I have school picks as well as homeschooling to do.. so right now I feel like I just go go.. but today i was just think I need to reassess our routine especially now that we have an infant. Always hard to readjust..

  3. I'm a mix. I would hate a schedule that largely consisted of dropping kids off places, so I'm glad I'm not chained to that. It would feel like a huge waste of time to me (even if it isn't) and I abhor wasted time. But I also have to get out of the house every other day...or it's not pretty. ;)

  4. I love this!!!! I've been noticing more and more, especially from families who have kids older than my own toddler, that most people (it seems) live pretty busy lives that are determined by exterior forces. And they can feel a loss of control, that they "have" to let their lives swing into a chaotic frenzied schedule because their kids (or themselves) need to be fulfilled. I really like how you're calling us to be intentional about how we spend our time and to remember that we need to have agency over how we fill our days.

    When I gave birth to my son, my life was probably similar to your "off-grid" setup, because even though we lived in the metro of a city, I didn't have a car during the day and we just spent time around our apartment complex or in our apartment. And it was really fun to find the rhythm of our day and make a loose schedule to follow! (I called it my "hobbit-monk" schedule, because it revolved around prayer, work, and food) Now that we moved into a house about 6 months ago, in a pedestrian-friendly area, I've found that it's nice to have the established structured activities outside of the home like toddler time at the library, but I still love following the schedule that WE determine. So I intentionally reserve 2-3 weekdays as "home days" where we don't do anything that relies on an outside person or event's schedule, and it's pretty peaceful and great :)

  5. If you don't already do so, you should consider praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Not only are you sanctifying your day, but you are praying with the universal church.

  6. I relate to so much of this, although I only have a toddler and a baby on the way. We've especially been at home more this winter with cold temps and snow...and the more I get into the rhythm of home, the more I rebel against any outside schedules. I'm not necessarily lazy at home, but I agree with you that I love being master of my time and schedule on a day to day basis. I don't like filling my days with a lot of outside events...rarely do I schedule more than one thing in a day (appts, play dates, etc). We are in a smalllll town/village with no stop light so I do take a lot of walks, but it's not exactly city life, haha! Thanks for the great post!

  7. Great post! I've been feeling the need to slow down with the approach of baby #4. Your post encouraged me to do so. Thank you!

  8. Haha, I feel like I have the EXACT same inner dialogue as you regarding outside forces: “Leave me alone— I’m the boss of me!!” And I don’t even live remotely rural but on a major suburban area (aka worst of both worlds!). But I seethe at the ideas of outside forces (even school!) telling me where to be when. One of the many reasons I hope to homeschool is precisely so that I’m not rushed in the morning or afternoon, babies can nap, and I don’t feel pressured. As a former teacher, I really disliked the very early morning required to be on time and alert! For some reason I found it so stressful.

    I guess maybe I’m also a really weird anti-social being, but I also just love the idea that my people are growing and learning in the leisurely and comforting environment of home. Any week where for some odd reason we go out of the house for half the day more
    Than once, I totally feel the chaos (and the house becomes a disaster!). Never thought I was a “homebody” but I just love the freedom of not being tied to multiple outside commitments! :)


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