Controlling circumstances

Without attempting any . . . systematic employment of time, and carrying it out, so far as they can control circumstances, most women are rather driven along, by the daily occurrences of life, so that, instead of being the intelligent regulators of their own time, they are the mere sport of circumstances. There is nothing, which so distinctly marks the difference between weak and strong minds, as the fact, whether they control circumstances, or circumstances control them.

--A Treatise on Domestic Economy, Catherine E. Beecher, 1845

This is something that I am working on. I have such a hard time implementing a schedule between my lack of self-discipline and the changing needs of my son. But Red Chief and I need a schedule. We're both happier when we know what's going on for the day, even if it's only me making a list in the morning of things I want to accomplish.

How do you balance scheduling and spontaneity? How loosely or specifically do you schedule your day?


  1. I wish I had some guidance for you, but none. I'm not a very scheduled person. Part of it is a lack of discipline, and part of it is I'm more of a take it as it comes type of person. I don't like schedules much. That said, I had Mo on a "schedule" right away when he was born, and will do the same with the twins. That was the Babywise schedule of "eat, play, sleep" I found that it was very helpful in giving me time to get other things done.

    Also, I found another good source of iron. Cream of Wheat. 1 serving has 50% of the recommended total for non pregnant people. I love a bowl every morning.

  2. I'm a loose scheduler. I kept hearing if I scheduled I would have more time but for me it killed all motivation to the point I could barely drag myself out of bed to face the same old round. Over time I've managed something that works most of the time for me. I have a general idea of how my day needs to go but I leave the *when* faily open & don't get fraught if something changes.

  3. I totally agree--I love a schedule, but I occasionally lack motivation or discipline or whatever you want to call it.

    I have gone through many different options, but lately I am trying to write down the three most important tasks that I need to do during the day. On my best days, I also have Katie and Rachel suggest their three most important tasks. The idea being that we have a balance of work (those would be my three most important things) and a balance of fun (Katie and Rachel's three most important things.) On good days we get it all done. Other days we don't, but that's ok--at least we're working towards something!

  4. I like to have a schedule to keep me sane, but I don't fill every minute of the day with something. That way there is still room to be spontaneous. Meals are a must, so they are the basis of our schedule. I try to have our meals be at the same time every day. Nap time is still pretty important for my almost 3-year-old, Wes, so that is in the schedule, too. I live at least 25 minutes away from the closest city where I like to shop, so if nap time gets encroached on I know Wes will get some kind of nap in the car. I leave the morning for play/tv time, but that is the time I use to be spontaneous since play/tv time is the least necessary time of the day. If a friend calls for a play date or we get invited to go shopping or something, I try to do it in the morning so that we are home for nap time. My 4 1/2 year old, Skyler, is in preschool all day, so we for sure have to be home to get him off the bus, which I have found to be really nice to keep us on schedule, too (otherwise Wes and/or I might sleep the afternoon away completely). It is nice for me to be able to think about where we are in the day and what is coming up so the day doesn't feel like it is going to drag on forever.

  5. With your little one so young you may want to try the idea of routines inside bubbles of time. For example before and after breakfast routines that include making beds, cleaning teeth, getting dressed etc leading on to cleaning for you while he does independent play. The amount of time for cleaning/independent play flexes to a longer or shorter time depending on his ability to play on his own that day or how long the earlier parts of the morning routine took. End that bubble of time with morning tea at a set time of day. Use the same idea for the next bubble of time between morning tea and lunch and so on.

    It gives your little one a sense of structure and familiarity to each day but you are not clock watching or forcing an activity to continue when it is a lost cause.

    Jen in Oz