I can do all of these things with a better routine. Our therapist suggested that I try to figure out whatever routine I need to get things done. Make a plan and stick to it. Here is the basic plan that I have come up with.
- Meal Planning. This will be the number one thing that I need to work on to make my weeknights and weekends run smoother. If I know exactly what I need to have on hand and when dinner needs to be started it will save a lot of running around after work. If I buy what I need based on what I am going to make, it will save me time in the grocery store wandering through aisles. And, if I plan my meals based on sales, it may even save us a little bit of money in the long run.
- Having a set dinner time. Right now, I usually wait to see how things go in the afternoon before I even think about when dinner will be. Is Penelope extra clingy today? Do we need to go to the grocery store? Do I need to clean up before I can cook? From now on, dinner will be at 6 unless we are going out to eat. This way, I can know exactly how my afternoon has to go when I get home from work. Nick will know what time we will eat and if he can be home, he will. If not, then we will sit together when he does get home and dinner will already be made for him.
- A bedtime routine for Penny. This is easily my biggest headache right now. There is no constancy in her bedtime. Now that I have established when dinner is, it means that her bedtime routine can follow. Bath at 6:30. Snuggle and a half a Daniel Tiger at 7. Books and lights out by 7:30. Hopefully asleep by 8.
- A chore chart. I recently printed out a chore chart and have hung it with my "command center" (more on this another time). It tells me what I should clean everyday and give me something concrete to see and a list to check off when it is done. If I do all the things on the list, it will make maintaining easier. Then, things will be clean when we get home. I won't have to wash dishes before I make dinner because they will be done already. This is so important for me.
I know that in many ways it is silly that an adult woman would need this much structure in order to get a handle on her life, but I know myself. I know that chaos is NOT my friend. I need to have the stability of a routine and know that I can always expect this. Will there be days when things change; yes. And then, I will roll with it. Until then, I will live and die by my new schedule. Eventually, once I get a handle on the basics, I would love to add things in. Ideally, I could push dinner back an hour or make something in the crock pot so that I could go to the gym in the afternoon. We could have a set date night or even have a time every few months where we get away for an overnight. The big benefit in this new schedule is that I can be calm knowing what is next. Penny can be calm knowing how her day will go. And Nick can be calm knowing that he doesn't have to question when dinner will be on any given day. Once again, the true step for me will be the actual "doing".