Opening My Routines

I love a good list. Checking it off is so satisfying! But I also hate lists when life is busy or when we’re adapting to a new routine. Instead of guiding my days, they seem to mock me – reminding me of all the things I haven’t gotten finished.

Image from Frog and Toad Together

If it’s on my list to clean the playroom and it doesn’t get done, suddenly it goes from childhood mess to the worst reminder that we live in a pigsty. If I want to map out writing and it’s on my list but doesn’t get done, suddenly it goes from being prepared and organized to wanting to shut down this blog and never write again.

I took an intentional break in July, which was much needed and helpful. But August has been so, so busy. Unexpectedly busy. Surprise houseguests, the beginning of school, life. I’ve been sporadically writing but since it wasn’t planned, it feels chaotic rather than refreshing.

I’m learning to live openly with our routines and schedule. I’m not throwing out my lists and hopes but I am remembering that life happens. That if I’m stuck with a list, I can overlook the necessary flow of our days. I’m giving myself grace as we transition to full-time kindergarten (harder than I thought it would be) and all that having a set schedule entails. I’m giving myself grace as I spend my days with just Elle, letting her lead and learning our own little rhythms. I’m giving myself grace to remember that when writing becomes a chore rather than a joy, something needs to shift.

I’m sure meltdowns will continue to happen and today I’ve cleared our morning to work on that list but I’m hoping to stop and take time to let that list go, too.

If you have four minutes, I’ll leave you with the immortal story of Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad: The List. 

Do you like lists? How do you let them guide you without adding stress?

Linked with Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “guide.”


Published by

Annie Rim

Welcome! I live in Colorado with my family and have taught in the classroom, at an art museum, and now in the playroom. I reflect about life, faith, and books here on my blog.

24 thoughts on “Opening My Routines”

  1. Remember in the story that in the end, frog wrote one essential thing to finish his day and he was able to do it! What is one essential thing thing to accomplish? It doesn’t need to be anything more than “go to sleep “

  2. Thank you the link – I had no idea the stories were on YouTube. Now I can tell my grandson. I bullet journal, and I am 73, so i have the time. After retirement life really didn’t not have deadlines or seem productive these past three years. So it helped me. I cannot imagine doing this with a family. Frantic list making yes, but like Toad, may having it blow away allows you to just play!

    1. There are so many stories on YouTube – love it! I was so diligent with my bullet journal — until it took over. Then I just stopped. I guess it’s about finding a balance, right? Sometimes outside circumstances turn out to be our best friend!!

      1. Balance is in EVERYTHING for me. I started Bible Journaling and then found bullet Journaling and then Anne Bogel and the whole concept of a Launch Team. I am 73, I want to do it all!!

  3. From one list maker to another, I can appreciate the feeling of they stop being a guide and start mocking your day. We start Kindergarten for our youngest in a couple of weeks and there is no guide telling you how to handle all of the emotions. Thank you for this!

  4. When the Lockheed T-33, America’s first jet trainer, was introduced, it was also one of the first aeroplanes around with ejection seats. So a checklist to firing the seat was provided, conveniently printed on the inside of the canopy rail.

    Unfortunately, Step One was “Jettison Canopy”.

    I have kind of a dichotomy – when flying, shooting, or handling explosives I was pretty rigid about doing things the same way, every time. Staying alive and retaining all of one’s limbs is a good incentive.

    But at home…if it doesn’t get done, it may get done tomorrow. Or not. Hey, where’s the beer?

    Makes Barb feel like she’s living inside a Jimmy Buffett song.

  5. Oh, I know these thoughts…
    One minor thoughts blows up into this big thing! We definitely need to be careful to not let lists and goals dictate our lives!
    Hope you enjoy writing again!

  6. I like lists – I hate dislike making them. I get lost in the weeds and lose them. One of my greatest faults is not being organized. Thank the lord I have been blessed with a wife who is more gifted in that area. She looses things, I find them. She keeps lists, I complete them. It seems to work. 😉

  7. Grace is a gift and is sometimes needed. Ive learned the Holy gift of offering grace to others. For example, the other day, I had a car accident. It wasn’t my fault at all. The young man who hit me was beside himself as he wasn’t suppose to be driving as his license had been suspended. He was suppose to get his license back the next day—which literally would be in 6 hrs from the time of our accident. I was fine. His car looked worse than mine so I chose to give him grace and not report it to the cops. It’s been incredible to watch what offering grace did to him. He wants to make it right and is doing everything in his power to make sure my car is fixed. He pays for it etc. Just wanted to share an example, but now my comment is turning into a book! :p I’m over in the 50 spot. Oh and I’m usually a list maker too.

  8. Oh Annie, I sympathize with you! My summer was far crazier than I expected. It left me depleted and discouraged. And those lists and goals I had set for summer? Yeah, they flew out the window about June 13th. I had to work through my own disappointments and work with the boys’ schedules. I have to keep reminding myself they are only here a little longer. Sometimes my lists and expectations need to take a back seat to relationship.

    Loved your post, my friend!

    1. As much as I love lists, those summertime lists always stress me out, just looking at them on pinterest. Probably because I know I’ll “fail…” 😉 Relationship coming first – I keep reminding my self that this is the POINT. Thanks, Jeanne!

  9. I find grace easy to grant others and SO VERY HARD to give to myself. I too have a love/hate relationship with lists. I’m getting to the point where I just schedule time for a bit more general things and call it good enough. I once tried one of those calendars with ideas on what to clean every day. I about gave myself a heart attack trying to accomplish it all. Giving my working, “momming”, writing self a break 🙂 And, by the way, I adore Frog and Toad.

    1. Oh, I tried one of those cleaning calendars, too. Our house has never been so messy! 🤣 I’m learning to find my own style and be impressed with what works for others! Cheers to figuring out some sort of balance or mix!! Thanks for stopping by!

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