I am an introvert who loves nothing better than to sit on the couch beside my husband, curled up with a good book and a cup of tea. I am also an introvert who teaches middle school children all day long and desperately needs some quiet time in the evenings.
I crave peace.
I want my house to be a peaceful haven for my family. And, for me, this means that I try to create routines for myself and our household.
I don’t know about you, but mornings around my house can get a little crazy! We all have to be out the door by 6:45 (oh, the life of a teacher!), so that means I have to get three small children fed and dressed before that time!
I don’t want my children to look back on their childhood and think, “Man, Mom was always really grumpy in the mornings!” If I want a calm, peaceful morning, I need to begin the night before.
Recently I created an evening routine that is helping me keep my sanity in the mornings. Here’s how I did it:
1. Evaluate Priorities
I identified my top priorities for my evenings. There are so many things I could do after the children go to bed, but I wanted to make sure I was focusing on the best things to do.
I wrote down what my ideal evenings would look like:
-preparing for the next day
-having a tidy home
-early bed time
These became my Evening Priorities. My non-negotiables.
2. Break Down the Priorities
Next I elaborated a bit on those priorities, breaking them down into tasks.
Reading–read nonfiction before bed (fiction draws me in more, and then I stay up late!)
Preparing for the Next Day–make lunches, lay out kids’ clothes, lay out my clothes
Having a Tidy Home–load and run dishwasher, sweep kitchen floor, wipe down bathroom
Prayer–family Evening Prayers
Early Bedtime–in bed, lights out by 10:00
3. Create a Flexible Evening Routine
I tend to hyperschedule everything down to minute. However, this often sets me up for failure and frustration. Because of this, I didn’t want to create an overly detailed schedule (9:00 sweep kitchen floor, 9:05 wipe down bathroom surfaces, etc.).
Instead I created a flexible evening routine–a simple order of tasks to complete that made sense to me.
Before Kids Go To Bed:
Load Dishwasher after Supper
Sweep Kitchen Floor
Lay out Outfits for the next day
After Kids Go To Bed:
Wipe Down Bathroom Surfaces
Work on Blog/ Classroom
Time with Husband
Hour or so Before Bed:
Read a nonfiction book in bed
4. Implement and Evaluate
Finally, I implemented the routine on a “normal” day–one with no choir concert, church services, or evening meetings. I wanted to get a feel for my evening routine.
I plan on giving myself a good two weeks to try to create a habit. I would like for my routine to become second nature. After the two weeks, I will evaluate my progress and the routine itself. Is it feasible? Does the order need to change? Is it helping create that peaceful home that I desire? Are my mornings less harried?
I hope that by creating an evening routine, I can get the introvert time that I need and the peace I crave.
I would love to hear about your evening routines! What do you do in the evenings? Have you tried a routine? What has worked (or not worked) for you?