6:30 AM — Wake up. Mildly curse alarm clock. Stumble around in darkened room trying not to wake children who have once again found their way in to your bed. Get dressed. Work out (some days; stop laughing).
7:00 AM — Wake up children. Harass them until they are out of bed and headed towards the kitchen. Walk through living room multiple times to ensure that the stragglers are not collapsed on couch trying to go back to sleep.
7:15 AM — Make breakfast, and by “make” I mean pour Cheerios into bowls, top with sugar and cinnamon and milk (for two of them at least). Remake one bowl where you accidentally added cinnamon because this child hates cinnamon.
7:30 AM — Remind children to get dressed, then head in to the shower.
7:45 AM — COFFEE. Carry mug around with you for the next half hour, losing it several times, drinking as you go, trying not the spill it on the 21 month old who is doing her best impression of a cat as she crawls in and around your legs.
8:00 AM — Remind children to get dressed again. Remind them to brush their teeth.
8:15 AM — Find “baby” and change her pants/dress her.
8:30 AM — Start the school day. Circle time: prayers, Pledge of Allegiance, hymn, poetry, Bible story, saint story, Catechism.
9:oo AM — More schoolwork.
11:45 AM — Drop everything and go to Noon Mass.
12:45 PM — Lunch.
2:00 PM — More schoolwork. More reminding. More housework. More, more, more of everything every parent has to do Every. Single. Day. until you get to
11:00 PM — Drag myself to bed and try to mumble a few prayers before I drift off to sleep.
Most of us, whether we write it out or just keep it in our heads, have a schedule to follow most days. The above is part of mine. At this point, I feel the need to stick to mine more than ignore it. With six little ones depending on me for so much, I find that I need to know when all the things are happening. With wifing and mother, and homeschooling, homemaking, Facebooking, e-mailing, and blogging, my day is pretty full. Honestly, without having thought out when things would happen ahead of time, a lot of things just wouldn’t happen at all. I mean, really, mommy needs to know when she’ll be able to shower most days. And so, I pencil it in to our schedule. Right there, at 7:30 AM. And schoolwork has to start with our circle time at 8:30 AM exactly or it will throw off our whole day and something crucial, like Catechism or Math, will get left out. It’s taken me a while to appreciate this fact, but a schedule is a beautiful thing.
Schedules help us to not only see what we need to do, but also when it will happen. It frees you. Or at least, it frees me. Knowing that I have that 15 minutes of time every morning to get cleaned because I have added it to our schedule allows me to not feel guilty over taking that very necessary shower. A schedule is freeing because it breaks up a day into usable, meaningful, manageable chunks that we can then fill in the way that works best for us. It also reminds us of what needs to be done because, I mean, it’s on the schedule, and in my world, if it makes it onto the schedule, it has to happen.
Which leads me to the point of this post. If most of us live on schedules, for work, for home, for school, then shouldn’t we have God penciled in on them? See that bright red bold text up there? We were missing daily Mass. Often. And while it isn’t a requirement, it is certainly beneficial. We homeschool our children mainly to share our faith with them. What kind of faith am I sharing with them if I can make it to daily Mass, and don’t most of the time simply because I forget to go, or I run out of time, or schoolwork took too long that morning, or –, or –, or –. So I made a decision. I decided to put God in our schedule at the center of our day. I tried out a few times to see just how long we actually needed to get ready and go to be there on time and it is down to 15 minutes. Every weekday, we literally do drop everything and go to Noon Mass, mainly because it’s on the schedule. Simple, right?
Now, daily Mass isn’t required, and Noon Mass probably won’t fit everyone’s schedule, but I’d be willing to bet that some form of prayer can be fit into everyone’s daily routine and that everyone would benefit from more time with God. Maybe it will be in the form of waking up 15 minutes earlier to begin your day with a conversation with God. Or it might come as a 10 minute block set aside from your lunch break to read the Scriptures or another book on spirituality. The thing is, you just have to commit to making it part of your daily routine by adding it to your schedule and keeping it there. Most of us would never just blow off an important meeting with our boss that was on our calendar. Thinking of prayer as an appointment with God and a part of your daily schedule in this way may make it more real to you, and that may make all the difference in a survival mode or barely there prayer -life and a thriving one.
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