I have always viewed myself as a person that thrives on variety. I love for my days to be full of different types of tasks, hobbies, and activities. Parenting, however, has taught me the importance of embracing routines. While I only had one child, a lack of home systems did not affect us as much as it did when child number two came along. It was at that point I realized a new approach must be found. For one thing, our little Buddy is very much like Bret in that he thrives on the routines and systems that personalities like mine and that of my daughter avoid. It sounds so simplistic, but things like having a certain day that I know I am going to deep clean the bathroom or empty and clean the fridge ensure that those tasks are completed. Without having a system in place to keep the home in order, so many of those mundane tasks that really must be done will fall by the wayside for far too long.
As we added gardening and animal husbandry to our life, those systems became even more vital. Waking up with the sun became the norm for me, as I preferred to get the tedious tasks of gardening (weeding and pruning especially) done before the day’s heat was full force. The chickens would expect to be fed when they saw me outside, and thus began a complete homesteading morning routine. A cup of coffee and devotion, then making the morning rounds to check on the animals, followed finally by time alone in the garden became a system and routine that I loved. The beauty of this kind of routine is that it also provides the variety that I enjoy. Animals, while having consistently the same needs, are much like having small children around constantly. If you have ever spent time with a child, you know that time with a child is anything but mundane. The same can be said for animals. I enjoyed seeing how many truisms I had heard through folklore about chickens. Terms like pecking order, running around like a chicken with its head cut off, or hen pecked suddenly made complete and perfect sense. Feeding the rabbits was always fun, particularly when mama rabbit had babies with her. They would run sporadically everywhere and often jump to the top of their houses to give the cutest warning stomps to their siblings that we were headed their way. The time in the garden was consistently my favorite, as jobs such as weeding and pruning did not require much concentration. The tedium of completing them gave me the opportunity to notice patterns in nature, to pray while working, and to meditate on new things I had learned. It was in the garden that I came to realize that the monotony of routines and systems can truly build your character. There is such a noble testimony in being consistent and faithful to the things that are right and to the things that need your care.
As we are settling into our new homestead, I have found that my systems at the old house do not work the same here. It is taking me time to recreate a routine that works for us, as we still live a lifestyle that can vary greatly from week to week. Learning to incorporate trips to weekly music lessons and quiz practices into our days has added another level of requirement on “mom-needs-to-be-organized,” not even accounting for the extra time remote school has added to my work week. All these tasks and activities are suiting our current phase of life quite well, but they must be scheduled and planned. So that’s why we need systems. I have started making the kids a weekly checklist, which includes an area for my son’s tasks taking care of his pigs and my daughter’s commitment to daily practice on her violin. I have included small tasks for them to do each day to contribute to the care of our household, as well as a checklist of school tasks that need to be addressed before free time is earned. I would like to say we check off everything on our lists each day, but that would be a lie. I write my task list for each day in my paper planner, along with my meal plan and goal planning. Everything on my list may be done or may not, but I have the accountability to myself to see each day what is thriving and what is lacking. This system helps me adapt and overcome with more success the next day.