Daily Schedule Template

As promised way back in Rule #1 (and again in Rule #3).  Here is a sample of my tentative daily schedule:

Family Activities
My Background tasks
Wake-up (about 7 a.m.)
Get Baby up, changed, etc.
Playtime for Baby
Mr. leaves for the morning
Unload the dishwasher
Make a quick breakfast for Mr. J (not required, but nice when there’s actually time for it)

More playtime

Morning Nap (Roughly 9-11 a.m.)
Quick work out
Shower and dress
Throw in a load of laundry
Clean up any breakfast dishes/wipe down table, highchair, floor, etc.
After wake-up: Dress Baby for the day
Complete any necessary prep work for lunch
Get Baby’s lunch ready
Lunchtime for Baby


Afternoon Nap (Roughly 2-4 p.m.)
Mr. returns from work
Switch laundry
Complete lunch for Mr. and I
Enjoy a meal together
Nap?!?!? (when possible, recharge!)
Playtime for Baby and Mr.
Clean-a-room (see below)
Suppertime for Baby
Mr. leaves for the evening


Put baby to bed for the night (about 8 p.m.)

Fold/Put away laundry
Prepare supper
Reload the dishwasher
Finish supper
Complete any extra tasks (make baby food, put away groceries, etc.)
Mr. returns from work

Supper/Downtime with Mr.


(For those of you reading through this and wondering what the hell is up with Mr. J's arrival and departure times:  The J Family has been running a family dairy farm for four generations, so he works during the morning and evening milkings with several hours off in between in the afternoon.)

Bathroom - Laundry: Baby's clothes, bedding
Living Room - Laundry: Bedding
Baby's Bedroom, Hallway - Laundry: Mr.'s Work Clothes
 Kitchen - Laundry: Kitchen & Bathroom Towels
Bedroom - Laundry: Mrs.' Clothes
No Work on Saturday!!
Errand Day - Laundry: Mr.'s Work Clothes

A few items of note:  

-I did not try to put any specific time labels on any tasks (except for the wake-up/nap/bedtimes for Baby J, which we try to keep as consistent as possible, or at least we keep the going down times consistent.  The wake-up times (especially the unfortunate 7 a.m. wake up!) are all up to him and we are just along for the ride!)  The day is simply too fluid, with too many variables, to enforce specific times or durations for any of the tasks outlined day to day.  As with the entire series, these are more "guidelines than actual rules."

-During the times labeled "playtime" I usually try to keep any of my background tasks to a minimum (i.e. quickly unloading the dishwasher, etc.) and get down on the floor to interact with Baby J during his active hours.  This is a great time for us to bond as well as a time to encourage activities that aid in his development (rolling over, learning to sit un-aided, crawl, etc.).

-I am very well aware of how unique a situation we have with Mr. J's work schedule, so obviously I don't expect this to be an accurate template for others, but it should give a general idea of how to break down a day into all the things you want to accomplish day to day.

I love, love, love this idea from Girl Loves Glam's Organization Board Project:

Great way to keep track of what you have scheduled and when.  Just use a dry erase marker to check off completed tasks and wipe away when it's time to start over!


Guidelines for a Stay-Homer's Sanity - Part 10

-Disclaimer:  These are *Geoffrey Rush's Barbosa voice* "more guidelines than actual rules" and they are what I think will work best for our family.  Every family is different and so take these with a proverbial grain of salt.  To each mommy their own!-

Perhaps the most important rule for every living person, regardless of their career, their familial or marital status, or beliefs.  *Robin Williams' Genie voice* "Beeeeee yourself!"

In Rule #9, it talks about taking time to yourself to recharge your physical/mental/emotional/spiritual battery.  That hints at what I'm talking about here, but this goes much, much deeper.

Find and connect with the part of yourself that is not identified by being a wife and a mother.  We spend every waking moment (and, quite honestly, a lot of our sleeping hours too!) preoccupied with the lives of those we love and care for.  It is beyond easy to let our own identities wash away in the supportive role we are offering to them.

We become "Baby's Mommy" and "Mr.'s Wife" and stop referring or even thinking of ourselves of anything beyond that, and, sadly, it almost what is expected of a stay-home parent.  I say "Eff that Ess in the Aay!"  I am a person.  I have thoughts.  I have feelings.  I have opinions and passions and a personality that is just bursting out of my pores.  These are a part of what makes me a good wife and mother, so I'd better make sure I keep them!

One of the easiest ways to connect with YOU, is to have a hobby.  And as much as I love to write here on ViP, that's actually not what I mean.  This blog is all about my life and identity as a home maker.  I'm talking about doing something that has absitively posolutely nothing to do with Mr. and Baby J.  Not that I don't love them more than words, mind!  Just that I need something to be 100%, no-holds-barred, all encompassingly about me.  (Yes, in this specific instance, you are supposed to be selfish!)

So what is it?  *shrug*  I'm not too sure yet.  I have spent so much time focusing on getting to this point, to be home with my family and get to do all the things that I never had the time to do while I was a full time working mom, that I haven't quite figured out my "thing."  And that's fantastic!  This means I can explore my own brain in ways I never thought of before.  Maybe I'll paint?  Maybe I'll become a marathon runner?  Maybe I'll make strange yarn sculptures of cats out of yarn made of cat fur... (okay, that one's a little too weird, even for me.)

The point here is, get to know yourself outside of the roles you fill for others, and have fun doing it!  After all, "you've only got one life, make sure it's a happy one."


Warning! Personal Gripe About to Commence

Hi, folks!  As any of you avid readers of Vacuuming in Pearls may know, I have been doing one post daily in the "Guidelines to a Stay-Homer's Sanity" series, but after a very long and exhausting day of attempting to shop for Baby J, I had to get some of this out:

What is up with the children's clothing industry?!?  There are hundreds of choices for cute little dresses and jumpers and SHOES (like seriously, ridiculous amounts of shoes) for little girls eeeeeverrryyywhheeerrreee.  Don't even get me started on accessories.

Can I find ONE simple pair of shoes, or a spring jacket, or even just a couple of cute outfits for a boy?  Hell no.  I have been scouring this week for the above mentioned things and have become increasingly more and more agitated about the lack of selection for boys.  Seriously, do retailers really believe that only girls need to wear shoes and jackets?! Really?!?

Have you ever noticed that when you enter the children's section of a store that the frilly girl things are right out front and center and, generally, the boys stuff is hidden around the back side.  Why?  Oh because it's not as completely adorable as the girls' stuff.  So, then, start making boys stuff so freakin' adorable that people who don't even have kids want to stop and buy it!

And, no, I don't mean let's start adding sparkles and tutus to boys clothes.  I mean start making clothes that have a personality to them.  Generally speaking, when looking for boys clothes, you get to choose between a handful of themes like sports, cutesy animals, cars or rock-n-roll, oh, or the crude ones like "Boob Man" you see in a few places.  (I get that people often find these funny, but I just have a hard time finding the humor in "dick and fart" jokes) all of which are imprinted on onesies, sweatshirts, overalls and regular every day pants like sweats or jeans.  Not much variety here and apparently accessories like shoes are restricted to sport or racing car themed tennies.

I would love to see some variety in the boys section!  Just because a parent has a male child rather than a female one should that automatically make them not care what said child wears?  Should the child, as it grows into its own personality, not be able to decide what their personal style is regardless of gender?

I think the problem with this lies in the old misconceptions that A. boys shouldn't wear anything nice, they'll just dirty it/ruin it and B. that dressing a boy well will in some way make them more "girly" and therefore precondition them to be gay when they are older.  Again, don't get me started on the homophobic inaccuracy of this perception.

To these ideas I respond with two words and an explicative:  "Cary-f'ing-Grant!"  (So classy!)

When did dressing well become strictly a feminine endeavor?  Throughout most of history, men have had just as large a presence in clothing and fashion as women (think 18th Century France for a moment).

Taking care and pride in how you present yourself is an important part of building self confidence (Remember Rule #2?).  I see no reason to exclude boys from this soley based on some sort of societal gender role issue.

Please keep in mind that this does not mean I will in anyway deny Baby J the cheesy Sponge Bob tee he wants at five because it's just the coolest thing.  I only want to encourage him to dress to suit his own personality, whatever that may be, and I like to hope he'll have the opportunity to "dress up" a bit when he so chooses.

Besides, for now, I'm the one doing the shopping and I happen to like dressing my child in clothes that are unimaginably adorable and still "very boy!"  *end rant*

Guidelines for a Stay-Homer's Sanity - Part 9

-Disclaimer:  These are *Geoffrey Rush's Barbosa voice* "more guidelines than actual rules" and they are what I think will work best for our family.  Every family is different and so take these with a proverbial grain of salt.  To each mommy their own!-

The demands on your time and body can be overwhelming when you are living and breathing your job 24/7.  Sometimes you just need an hour or two to yourself.  Under no circumstances should you feel guilty or like you're not "doing your job" because you need a break.  If you don't take a break now and then, you'll wear yourself out like an old pair of socks.

It's okay to ask your partner to take over for an afternoon so you can go get coffee with a friend or even just for an hour to enjoy a long bubble bath!

Yes, they work hard to provide for your family, but you are taking care of them in return, and without a little help here and there, who is going to take care of you?

Enjoy yourself.  Cozy up with a good book.  Go for a walk, blessedly alone.  Nap!!  Take the time you need to reconnect with your own personal inner peace.  Then, when you're ready, wade back into the chaos with a calmer mind and soul.  Your family and you will all be better for it!


Guidelines for a Stay-Homer's Sanity - Part 8

-Disclaimer:  These are *Geoffrey Rush's Barbosa voice* "more guidelines than actual rules" and they are what I think will work best for our family.  Every family is different and so take these with a proverbial grain of salt.  To each mommy their own!-

As a homemaker, obviously most of your days are spent in your home, which can lead to a serious case of cabin fever, regardless of the season!  For the sake of sanity, get out and about as often as you feel is necessary.

On an everyday basis, you won't be able to just go and lark about by yourself.  The little ones have to be involved, so that puts a dampener on the fun and interesting things you could do out of the house, right?  Nope!  Planned outings, either with just you and the little or as a whole family when Daddy is home on the weekend, can be a great way to break up the dull-drums of everyday home life.

We live in a rural area that obviously doesn't provide many children's public activities.  However, luckily, we are only about a half hour from two bigger cities that, like most metropolitan areas, offer all kinds of publicly and privately funded events.  (Think carnivals, the circus, stroller-walks, etc.)  There are also tons of public education classes for adults and children of any age, both together or separated.

Don't despair if you can't find (or necessarily afford, I know how tight a budget can be with only one working parent!) any of the more elaborate events I mentioned.  There are tons of things you can do for anytime and on almost any budget:  Go for a drive.  Run errands (it's gotta be done, right?).  Go for a walk.  Take the stroller to the mall and just window shop.  Make play dates or just have lunch with a friend.  It doesn't matter much what the activity is, only that you're taking in a change of scenery which will make you happier, healthier person when you return home.


Guidelines for a Stay-Homer's Sanity - Part 7

-Disclaimer:  These are *Geoffrey Rush's Barbosa voice* "more guidelines than actual rules" and they are what I think will work best for our family.  Every family is different and so take these with a proverbial grain of salt.  To each mommy their own!-

Okay, I'm not necessarily talking about training for the next big marathon all year round (unless that's what you do, in which case, wow!  I'm in awe!), but a general sort of physical activity daily can really help boost endorphines and motivate you to keep moving.  

There's something in the law of physics that an object in motion tends to stay in motion, right? So keep your body moving!  This doesn't mean having to do a formal workout everyday, just anything that gets your heart pumping and the blood flowing.  Go for a walk, dance in the living room, do cartwheels for Pete's sake!

The best time is in the morning, shortly after you wake up.  You're probably thinking the same thing I did when I first heard about this routine: "But then I'll be tired and not want to do anything all day!"  Wrong-o (at least it was for me)!  A half hour to an hour of physical activity in the morning actually jump starts all your systems and gives you a head start on the day.

It still amazes me how refreshed and alert I feel after a quick jog or some impromptu dancing around the living room (and an invigorating shower).  It sets the tone for my entire day, "Yes! I am awake, and I am doing things today!"


Guidelines for a Stay-Homer's Sanity - Part 6

-Disclaimer:  These are *Geoffrey Rush's Barbosa voice* "more guidelines than actual rules" and they are what I think will work best for our family.  Every family is different and so take these with a proverbial grain of salt.  To each mommy their own!-

You spend so much time taking care of the needs of your home and family as a homemaker that it's easy to forget that daddies need some one on one time too.

After working all day (or night, or both!), as wonderful as it is to come home to a tidy home with a tasty meal, it can be fairly lack luster if your spouse is too preoccupied and you end up "enjoying" it all alone.

Set aside time after work is done, the littles in bed, meals have been eaten, and the dishwasher is running just to sit together watch a few episodes of "How I Met Your Mother," play a game of cards, or just talk about your days.  Even better, every once in awhile, line up a babysitter (thank goodness Grandma J lives less than a mile away from us!) and go out on a date!

Date nights serve as a good time to let go, have some fun, and reconnect as a couple.  Let yourselves feel like newlyweds again and focus just on one another and why you two started on this crazy ride in the first place!


Sorry, folks!  No regular post on Sunday!  (Even God rested on the seventh day, right?)  A big thank you to everyone who has taken an interest in Vacuuming in Pearls!  Please feel free to follow the blog via email, like us on Facebook or become a "ViP Member" by clicking the Google "Join This Site" link to the right.

Check back tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Central for Guidelines to a Stay-Homer's Sanity - Part 6!


Guidelines for a Stay-Homer's Sanity - Part 5

-Disclaimer:  These are *Geoffrey Rush's Barbosa voice* "more guidelines than actual rules" and they are what I think will work best for our family.  Every family is different and so take these with a proverbial grain of salt.  To each mommy their own!-

What do Saturdays and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" have in common?  The rules don't matter!

From Friday night, when Mr. J gets home, until Sunday evening when he heads back out, Mommy is off duty!  Even though Baby J makes sleeping in on Saturdays impossible, it's a relaxed as it can be.  I plan ahead for either incredibly simple meals (thank you, frozen pizza!) or prep something earlier in the week that can just be thrown in the crock pot.  No cleaning, no dishes, no laundry and I don't have to get out of my jammies if I don't want to!  The TV can be on whenever, though we do still try to limit the time to when Baby J is napping or down for the night.

Everybody needs a time to relax, recharge and mentally and physically prepare for the week ahead and homemakers are no exception.  I think this is the easiest thing to forget, both for the stay-homer and the bread winner.  We can't go all day, everyday, et infinitum, without taking a step back to breathe.  In our family, our time is all day Saturday through Sunday afternoon, other families may have different times based on their schedules, specific days and times don't matter.  The only thing that matters is that this down time exists for everyone (littles included!).


Guidelines for a Stay-Homer's Sanity - Part 4

-Disclaimer:  These are *Geoffrey Rush's Barbosa voice* "more guidelines than actual rules" and they are what I think will work best for our family.  Every family is different and so take these with a proverbial grain of salt.  To each mommy their own!-

Whaaaat?!?! No TV!?  Well, yeah.  Homemaking is my job.  I couldn't sit and watch TV at my regular 9 to 5 office job, could I?  Why should I park it in front of the tube just because I'm home?  If I expect my child to limit their TV time (or at least I will when Baby J and hypothetical future siblings are old enough to know what the TV is), shouldn't I too?  Electronics time (excepting the laptop for Pandora purposes and the occasional Pinterest search for a recipe or cleaning trick I had pinned) I try to limit to during nap times and the TV until after bed for the little one.

This may sound a little extreme, but really, there is so much to do, I barely notice!  Meals and playtimes with Baby J keep me busy during his awake hours and usually during naps I knock off the tasks I have planned for myself in my (slightly overly compulsive) schedule as mentioned in Rule #1.

This does not, by any means, mean that I don't take breaks or allow myself to relax a little throughout the day.  I'm just more likely to grab my Kindle and read a few chapters, do a quick design project for the house, or spend some time writing here or elsewhere.

I think people would be (pleasantly) surprised at what a difference "black out" periods make in their daily lives.  Mr. J and I have even discussed infringing on sacred weekends with a no TV policy on Sunday mornings before he returns to work that evening.  There are tons of things we can do as a family that don't involve the magic black box:  puzzles, games, story telling, and dogpiles on the living room floor to name just a few!


Guidelines for a Stay-Homer's Sanity - Part 3

-Disclaimer:  These are *Geoffrey Rush's Barbosa voice* "more guidelines than actual rules" and they are what I think will work best for our family.  Every family is different and so take these with a proverbial grain of salt.  To each mommy their own!-

I can hear the boos and hisses already, but hear me out!  When you spend most of your time in your home, the state of the place can have serious repercussions on your mood and your sanity.  I keep comparing homemaking to jobs out in the office world because it is a career just as much as accounting, or engineering, or whatever else you can think of, and don't let anyone tell you differently.  That being said, imagine what you would feel like if your office or other place of work was chaotic, dirty and, let's admit it, a little stinky sometimes.  Maybe it's just me, but I don't think I would be very productive and I definitely would not be happy or excited to go to or be at work.  Now imagine that you couldn't get away from that place at the end of the day and go home.  Sounds miserable and exhausting, right?

That's about the effect a messy house has on a stay-home mommy (or daddy, let's not forget that men can be homemakers too!).  It seems logical (Ha! Me! Using logic!) then that a clean, well-organized home would have the opposite effect, right?  Keep in mind, I'm not talking about Home and Garden photo-ready, all-day, every-day, only a comfortably tidiness.  Only bummer is you're the janitorial staff right along with all the other jobs you juggle at home.

Believe it or not, this isn't really as bad as it sounds.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, sticking to a schedule makes all the difference!  (It's Rule #1 for a reason, isn't it?!)  Admittedly, I'm a little bit insane about my list making, but it helps keep me on track with what I want to accomplish day to day, week to week.*  Breaking all your cleaning tasks down into specific days and times keeps you from feeling like all you do is clean and keeps away that horrible feeling of defeat when dealing with dishes and laundry, which are never done (my personal pet peeve!).

At our place, the living room floor is Baby J's play mat all day, and maintains a state of controlled  (usually) chaos while I go about my pre-planned chores around the rest of the house.  But once he goes to bed for the night, I pick up his toys and blankie and put them on a shelf, sit back and listen to the hum of the dishwasher while I read (or write a blog post!) until Mr. J gets home.  Trust me when I say there is a sense of peace that washes over you when your home is in cleanly harmony and you can truly relax!

*As promised, here's an example of said schedule (daily and weekly)!


Guidelines for a Stay-Homer's Sanity - Part 2

-Disclaimer:  These are *Geoffrey Rush's Barbosa voice* "more guidelines than actual rules" and they are what I think will work best for our family.  Every family is different and so take these with a proverbial grain of salt.  To each mommy their own!-

It seems like a weird thing to make a personal rule, but each weekday I feel like it's important that I get up and shower and dress the same way I would if I were going to go to work.  Before anyone gives me the hairy eyeball about wearing "work clothes" every day, let it be known that my previous workplace had a casual dress code (i.e. nice jeans and tops).

If we're not going anywhere that day, I sans the make-up and an impractical hair-do while dealing with a very grabby nearly nine month old. Oh, and the shoes.  Who wears shoes around the house I ask you?  I'm sure there are those who do, but we're the barefeet type of people.  If I do have errands to run, then I'll usually throw a little light make-up on and of course add shoes to the ensemble.

So, why, you ask?  If you're staying home, who do you have to dress up for?  Well, no one really, but harkening back to Rule #1, routines are important and being clean and presentable fosters self esteem, self confidence and motivation.  Bumming around in jammies sounds pretty awesome, not to mention comfortable, but what do you really do in jammies?  Sleep.  What do you do when you're showered, dressed and all kinds of presentable?  You go places, you see people, you do things!

The mind is an interesting place where we can create all kinds of self-fulfilling prophecies.  So trick it into predicting that you will be a dynamic, productive, kick-butt kind of person and, more often than not, you will be!

As an added note, notice I said "weekdays" at the beginning of this post.  Weekends have rules all their own (look for more in Rule #4) and they do not include getting out of those jammies if you don't want to!


The Adventure Begins...

Today is my first day at home, starting my new life as a *gasp* homemaker!  (Yesterday would have been, technically, but it was a snow day for Mr. J and for those at my old job, so it didn't feel like it counted to me.)

While Mr. J and I were discussing the options for our family, it gave me a lot of time to think about what I would do if I were to stay home and care for our home and Baby J.  I would cook and clean, of course, but there was more to it than that.  I would give myself guidelines, "Mommy Rules," if you will, to ensure that I didn't feel listless in my new life, and I would write.  So, I've created this blog as an outlet for my creativity and to share all the things I am doing and learning in this new endeavor.  So!  What will be the topic of my first run of posts?  My self-penned rules of course!

Guidelines for a Stay-Homer's Sanity
-Disclaimer:  These are *Geoffrey Rush's Barbosa voice* "more guidelines than actual rules" and they are what I think will work best for our family.  Every family is different and so take these with a proverbial grain of salt.  To each mommy their own!-

Routines are sooooo important!  People will tell you all the time how essential they are for the little ones (and having taught pre-school for 7+ years, I can not stress how true this is), but not everyone realizes how important they are for mommies and daddies too!

When you're coming from a very structured daily work routine into the more relaxed atmosphere at home like I am, it's easy to forget to have or stick to a schedule when you "don't have to be anywhere," but keeping a daily routine can help ease the transition into the homemaking lifestyle.  It will keep you engaged in daily activities and helps make sure you complete all those little daily tasks that keep your home and family running smoothly (unloading the dishwasher in the morning so that all your dishes for the day can go right in rather than accumulating on the counter/in the sink or doing a load of laundry here and there rather than battling the entire week's worth all in one day).