The Break-Up Plan

I have been wanting to share with you something that has totally changed my life for the better. This may be something that everyone else has been doing, (did I just miss the memo?) but if you haven’t, I highly recommend you give it a try.

As many of you know, I am a fairly new mom, I help run my husband’s office, work my own business, teach and volunteer…which even before my baby, left very little time for taking care of anything around the house. I constantly felt overwhelmed by housework – always behind on the many tasks, and just when laundry would get done, the floors and dishes would be a disaster! I felt like I could never get it all done (and realistically speaking, we can’t…every day we wear clothes means more laundry, right?). This led to a cycle of stress, dread, frustration and guilt. My house was usually far from presentable and not really comfortable to live in.

Then I read a very old-fashioned idea: “break-up” the tasks and do them on different days. This plan came to me from two different sources around the same time; “Living Simply with Children,” by Marie Sherlock and ” You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy. Both spoke of the importance of creating rhythm in one’s home life and has the exact same example about how traditionally, work was broken up into the days of the week:

Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Churn on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday

I couldn’t help but wonder if something like this would help in our family…so for a little over a month now I’ve been trying it out. And it works! It’s amazing, really, how this simple idea has given me more free and relaxed time, helped me feel like my house is at an acceptable level of presentable every day, and also gives a sense of rhythm to my week! I urge you to try it.

Now, naturally you’ll have to tweak things a bit to fit into your life. I got rid of ironing and churning because I don’t like to do all my ironing at once and churning, well, I’m just not at that level of self-sufficiency yet. I then thought about the tasks I do want…I split cleaning up into two days…floors separate from surfaces, just because it seemed like too big of a job for me. I also added a day to cook and prepare meals, and then thought about what things would work on the best days for us.

Note, while I still sometimes do things like preparing food, I think it’s really important to keep that rest day in there. We do not take enough time for ourselves and our families to just “be” and relax a bit – so schedule it! I also kept “mend,” but think of it as fixing all kinds of things…sometimes a button or a seam, or sometimes it’s organizing an area of the house I’ve been meaning to get to.

I cannot emphasize enough how good this has felt for myself and my family. I love this new plan! I believe it works because in my previous “non-plan” I might finish one task but there was always more…there was never a sense that I did enough for the day….I could keep going and going because there was always something more that could be done. Now I know that on Monday I will get to all the laundry…there may be other days I’ll throw a small load in, but on Monday everything gets washed. Towels, sheets, etc. And when I’m done, I’m done! I can play, and knit and relax or go to work and not feel like I abandoned all the other things in the house.

They all have their own day, and now I do too!


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