I wrote an article about No Sidebar about quitting my job to live the life I wanted to live. When I wrote the article, I thought I knew what I wanted.
The life I want doesn't look exactly as I imagined.
When I started staying at home with my children all day, I always thought I needed a schedule. I thought that was what everyone was doing and all we needed was a schedule and everything would magically go as it should.
I thought, "We just have to set up a schedule."
What I really meant was that a "schedule" would solve all of my problems. I would have time for myself. I would know what to do. I would feel fulfilled.
I haven't googled or searched Pinterest for schedules. I don't even like printouts. I was just thinking of a story that a schedule was the answer.
I felt guilty for not following my schedule.
But what I found to be true for us is exactly the opposite – we thrive without a schedule.
Our “schedule” is about eating and sleeping. These are the constants, the things that have to be done every day.
We don't plan our days by the hour. I don't design crafts for my children. I let them guide me and I tell them what they want to do.
It lets your creativity flow. They develop their own craft and I don't have to be overwhelmed with all the parts and instructions that come with a kit and try to keep all three on track. You play with each other or alone. I can see what interests you. I can see how different they are. We do what we want every day.
The hardest thing about this lifestyle is my thoughts about it. I had to accept that I knew what was best for us. I had to be willing to let my kids decide what to do, even if it's not what I want them to do. I had to be ready to say yes, even if I wanted to say no. I had to figure out how to integrate my work into our day.
I had to be ready to let go of the story that I needed a schedule and routine for everything. We just won't tell stories every day, followed by handicrafts and then time outdoors. It doesn't work for us. We don't enjoy it.
What I really decided is that we all have more fun when my kids choose what they want to do instead of always doing what I want them to do. We enjoy not having a schedule.
My ideal life doesn't always look the way I wanted it to, but the joy of spending time with my family is there, and that's the important part.
About the author: Rachel is the mother of three little girls and is passionate about helping other mothers find time to enjoy their children by making their lives easier.