Monday, June 12, 2017

Motherly Advice...the importance of routine...

We Home Managers, and especially Home Managers that also have outside commitments like paid work, volunteering, and family support,  have to look after ourselves. We cannot devote our best selves to our plans for guarding the Home and Budget, if we feel like a train wreck. Feeling like a train wreck comes easily to Mums, Dads, significant others, and Home Managers. We're on call 24/7, no-one gives us a day off and if we become ill, no-one soothes our fevered brow. We have to do it all ourselves.

As Home Managers, we should strive to be at our optimum levels of health, fitness and general wellbeing, because that, ultimately, will assist us in achieving all of our other goals.

I find that having a routine is an enormous help in both getting the most out of each day, and in ensuring that I am looking after myself. Routines, like lists, ensure that things don't get missed. And if you're anything like me, unless I deliberately set aside time for recuperation and rejuvenation, the main thing that gets missed is looking after my own health and wellbeing.

Here are some of my routines. Maybe they'll help you in considering what routines you need in your own life.

The 6am routine

We all rise at 6am. It's a special time of the day. It means we often get to see the sun rise, and whilst it's not always over the ocean, as seen above, over the back porch can be just as lovely.

 My husband heads off for his morning walk, and my daughter starts her waking routine of making sure she hasn't missed anything earth shattering on social media overnight (insert rolling of parental eyes). I spend the first half hour setting out breakfast things (if I haven't already done so the night before), and unloading the diswasher. I put the previous days clothing and linen on to wash. I get the coffee pot ready with two cups ready to go next to it, and put a teabag in my own cup. I make the bed and feed the dog, giving him some love and attention while I'm at it. I look at what we're having for dinner and get the slow cooker going or remove components from the freezer. By then my daughter is usually up and about, and my husband has returned from his walk. My daughter makes her own bed as soon as she rises. We all fling ourselves in to showering, eating and talking about the day ahead, breakfast routine running like a well oiled machine. We're out the door between 7am for husband, and 8 for my daughter and me. The house is tidy, the washing is done and on the line, beds are made, dinner is planned.

What's this got to do with my health? Well, it minimises stress. I only have a tiny galley-style kitchen, and it's painful having more than two people in there at a time. We trip over each other in our haste to be out the door in time, and tempers become frazzled. Not a good way to start the day.

 Patting the dog, well, that's good for him and for me :).

The rest is all about 'Knowing what comes next'. 'Knowing what comes next' is important. It prevents leakage of money to takeaway outlets, it fosters confidence and peace within the family, and generates a positive energy in the household as everyone understands their part in the puzzle. If for some reason, any of us now get caught up unexpectedly, or some crisis arises, I know that the house is tidy, beds are made, dinner is planned, the dog is fed and has water, and the washing is done.

 Whatever else happens today, our arrival home will be like walking in to the sanctuary I want 'home' to be.

It's well documented now, that stress is a major contributor to many illnesses and health issues, and also affects the way we look, feel, and interact with our families and the rest of the world. The outside world is stressful enough. The least I can do is send my family out the door with the best possible outlook for the day ahead. Simple things like my 6am routine, achieve this.

Now, don't give me the roll of the eyes and the lecture about being nobodys' slave. If I have chosen to be the Home Manager in my family, the home-based warrior, then I must accept the responsibilities that come with that role. I believe that sending my family out in to their day with a happy disposition, knowing they are loved, is one of the most important things I can do. If they are calm, relaxed, and confident about what lays ahead at work or school, then that benefits not just our family, but the community at large. No road rage, no overdose of caffeine without a decent breakfast, no addled brain from sugar laden cereal.

The Eating Routine

As for the eating, well, we strive to eat healthy without going overboard. We eat gluten-free as my daughter is gluten intolerant, and find we ALL feel better for it. Gluten free baked goods are a regular on our menu, as I love cooking them. But I temper this with alternating between something luxurious like Gluten Free Butter Shortbread, and something healthier like Gluten Free Apple and Cinnamon muffins with just a little Agave Syrup added for sweetness. These are the treats that replace all other prepackaged foods, so we allow ourselves a few yummy morsels. Our meals consist of a regular dose of salmon and other seafood (which are not usually preprepared, but bought and eaten fresh) twice a week, three red meat meals and two vegetarian meals. We enjoy enormous amounts of salad and vegetables, and always have fruit available as a snack. My daughter and I particularly love berries, figs and citrus fruit of any kind, whereas my husband like his bananas and grapes. These days we have the added pleasure of growing our own fruit, so at least a couple of times a week, we are able to harvest oranges, mandarins, figs, pawpaw, bananas, mulberries, limes and lemons from our own trees. We try to eat seasonally as far as possible and if we're not harvesting from our own garden, we look for similar locally grown, seasonal produce from markets and greengrocers.

We all take a multivitamin daily, and two Garlic, C and Horseradish capsules from early Autumn (Fall) through to late Spring. We rarely get a bad flu, although realistically, we still get a touch of whatever is going around. However our recuperative powers are good, and we recover quickly.

I'm not a health practitioner, and we take these things in consultation with our GP and alternative health practitioner, so I suggest you do the same.

The Exercise Routine

Exercise is a part of our routine as well. We don't go overboard, and we don't spend huge sums joining gyms or having a personal trainer. Whilst I love the idea of personal trainers and gyms, there's a part of me that says 'but isn't that just another form of abdicating responsibility for my health to another person?'. What happens when you can no longer afford the time or money for those things? The best discipline comes from within.

We just walk. We walk regularly, without fail, come rain, hail or shine. Okay, maybe not in the 'hail'. But walking here in the rain early in the day or evening is a unique joy. I love strolling along, posh umbrella in hand, listening to the rain drip, dripping all around me. A walk in an early Queensland morning downpour is something I wouldn't miss. No-one else is around, and the drumming of the rain on my huge umbrella is almost hypnotic.

The Time for Creating Routine
Time for me is important too. I have recently revisited crocheting, sewing, and embroidery. Alby, one of my older sons, is disabled, and for many long years, my days just bled into one another with the responsibility of his care. He is totally physically dependent so his needs were numerous. I had neither the time nor the inclination for crochet, sewing, or embroidery. After much effort and lobbying of politicians, he now lives independently with a team of wonderful, hand picked personal assistants. To read more of that story see The Cerebral Palsy Grapevine. I now truly relish sitting down for an hour in the afternoon, having planned the evening meal earlier in the day, and knowing that my pre-prep sessions have left me with a well stocked refrigerator, freezer and pantry, and just zoning out with a pretty task at hand.

The great thing is, that this also generates a pile of handmade goodies to give as gifts. Pillowcases trimmed with lavish lace and chiffon in neutral colours take mere minutes on a basic sewing machine. Rugs and blankets can be whipped up quickly on the sewing machine too. I've used remnants of luxurious fabrics purchased for under $10, to create lush rugs and throws that would cost up to ten times that price, purchased readymade. I made this one below for my daughter recently. It was the end of a roll of lambswool inspired fleece, super soft and cuddly, and large enough for a double bed throw. It cost just $16. We priced a similar blanket in well known bedding store, for $90. Not only that, but I had sufficient fabric to make this blanket fleece on both sides, not backed with flannelette as the retail one was.

 I love taking inexpensively purchased shirts, and embellishing the collars and cuffs with French knots, in toning or contrasting colours. I make special dresses for my granddaughters, embroidered with bullion roses. You only have to hop on to Etsy or MadeIt to see the explosion in interest in handcrafted goods to appreciate the value in these items. In fact, in aiming for a more French Chic edge to my own wardrobe, I've also grown to appreciate that small but lavish details on plain chain store garments, can elevate so-so, to something unique and lovely.

 If you're not the sewing and stitching type, you could try something like making Goats Milk Soap. I cannot adequately describe the pleasure in creating these long creamy slabs, delicately scented, that lather dreamily and wash us literally from head to toe, with no horrible ingredients. Truly luxurious.

This is all part of realising too, that having an arsenal of skills and a routine of using them constantly, beyond what is expected in the modern era, can save you money. Skills like embroidery, soap making, and learning to sew simple items that require little more than a line of straight stitching on a sewing machine, give you the ability to sew for your family, mend, embellish, and create practical items and one-of-a-kind gifts.

12 years ago I purchased a Brother sewing machine for $129. That sewing machine has provided real savings over that 12 years. Savings that run into the thousands of dollars, between gift creation, mending, sewing dance costumes, and sewing for my home. It simply gave up the ghost last week, and I've finally been able to justify using my two year old 'new' sewing machine, which has a machine embroidery function on it, and which I hadn't set up because my Brother machine, was serving me so well!

At the end of the day, if you don't yet have crafting or sewing or crochet or knitting skills, remember that these are all skills easily picked up online nowadays. YouTube and Google are your friends, and there is very little that you can't teach yourself with a little perseverance. Make that time your own, and make it something you will love doing. That way, your down time, becomes productive too.

That said, there's also nothing wrong with just curling up with a good book or your favourite Social Media either. It truly is up to you.

The spend time with like minded friends Routine

It's worth remembering that mentoring and being mentored is an important part of your routine as well. Make sure you spend time with like minded friends and acquaintances, be it through community groups, short courses, volunteering, or even just following and being actively involved in blogs that mesh with your own life's goals.

Some friends and bloggers that have influenced me greatly, and who I would consider people who mentor me or who I hope to have mentored, include Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting, Patsy at A Working Pantry, Jes at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth and a few more that you can see on your right in my sidebar. I highly recommend following these ladies and their gorgeous blogs for further inspiration on living a healthful, productive life full of the simple joys of home and creativity.

Routine is important. I'd be a bit lost without my routines. I love that at the beginning of each day, I relish what is ahead, and as I get ready to go to bed, I feel a real sense of achievement at what has been accomplished.

What sort of routines do you have? Are you a 'routines' sort of person? Do you think that having a more structured routine would help reduce stress in your home?

Do tell...


  1. Dear Mimi,Im a routine & lists girl too :-)
    Especially needed at the moment as our eldest son is staying a few days,while he settles into a new job and country ,and 2 of our grandchildren are also staying , so Im back into lunches and kindy/school drops offs.
    Your Goat's milk soap looks divine and such a good idea with the blanket for your daughter's bed , I bet she's thrilled.
    I meant to comment on your two posts previous to this one ,just having a busy spell here,but I have read them and wanted to say thankyou for encouragement and advice, with love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria, I just find it makes such a difference to have a routine in place. Even if it's a tough day, you can sort of auto pilot through it! I'm glad you find encouragement here. Love, Mimi xxx

  2. When I read this post yesterday I thought it wasn't for me as I no longer really have a routine. I mentioned a few of your thoughts to Bluey. He looked at me and told me that I most definitely do have a routine, and then he started listing it all off. It really is basic stuff but according to him I do it in this order at least 5 days out of 7.
    Get up, dress, make the bed, put on a load of washing(Wednesday towels, Thursday sheets) put dishes away, have breakfast whilst looking on the computer, sweep and mop the floors, have coffee, hang out washing, hide in the craft room and emerge for lunch.
    Now this was Bluey's description of my day. I guess I do all this and I guess it is routine but I just do it. It's not a necessity. So even the most mundane of lives has routine. See above.

    1. Jane - I love that Bluey could rattle off your routine to you . Last night our eldest son who is staying over, asked me why I had a list of basic jobs in my diary (whilst chuckling , I might add) and I replied it keeps me motivated and on task AND your dad recently said he's now doing a list, after seeing mine for years. Takes awhile for these men to catch on 😉 Love Maria x

    2. Dear Jane...yes as I said to Maria, the advantage of a routine as such, is that it becomes automatic. That's the ideal :) Mimi xxx

  3. Mimi, your preparation in the morning for the rest of your day is brilliant. Mornings in my house are often frantic and fairly unenjoyable, it's something I really need to plan for.

    I've just this last week realised that I haven't really established a new routine in our new home. I definitely have things that I do every day, like school and kindy drop offs and pick ups, sports practices etc, but I haven't worked out my own routine properly. Where we used to live I had a set day each fortnight that I would do our grocery shopping, but here I am put off doing a big shop because the supermarket is more expensive. Which means I make far more trips which is silly. At one time I had set baking days, whereas I have just been baking when we need a top up, and some days I really don't feel like it! Because we live rurally, it takes longer to go places, so it's important for me to combine errands so I'm not constantly in my car.

    When we moved everyone said it would take at least a year to settle in to our new area, but I'd only really thought about the meeting people side of it. I suppose I just expected the household side of things would run the same as it had in our old home, but it hasn't been as smooth as that.

    This morning I wrote a new budget for the second half of the year, I have a list of Christmas presents I plan to make, baked enough to last the week, and fixed the toilet roll holder lol, so I'm feeling like this week is a good opportunity to write down what I want my days and week to look like. Thanks for the inspiration Mimi!

    Jen in NZ

    1. Dear Jen, yes you need a routine for YOU too. So many think it's about having a routine for the kids. But a routine makes EVERYONES life easier. Well done you. Mimi xxx

  4. Mimi thank you for the reminder of just how much better life is with a routine. I have had several over the years but the last 5+ years since we moved to Queensland I haven't been able to get into a routine at all.

    That changes the first week of next month - my husband has a permanent, full time job that will have him going back to working in an office environment. I will be 'home alone' so will be able to get a routine happening once again.

    Currently my husband works from home which means that he works his own hours and does his own thing. This has been good at times but I was not ready for him to be under my feet all of the time. You would think that it would change his life but apart from not having to wear business attire and not have to leave the house to get to work nothing has changed for him. It impacted me, a lot. So rather than trying to fight a losing battle I have just gone with the flow.

    By the first week in July I should, hopefully, be seeing that the new medication that I am on is starting to work so lots to look forward to.

    I have been testing new recipes while we have waited for this 'phone call. Still have more to test one being a gluten free sour dough recipe that I came across on pinterest. Being able to spend time in the kitchen without getting interrupted is something that I am looking forward to.


    1. Dear Lynette, I think routine is important at any stage of life. I know you've had some changes in recent years, and it takes time to adapt. But you'll get there...Mimi xxx


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx