A good friend of mine, who is a great mom, told me once when my kids were little that she rarely planned the day before. She liked to wake up in the morning with no preconceived plans and decide what the day would hold. As a new mom, that sounded like such a great idea. Part of the fun of being a stay-at-home mom is the flexibility that it affords, after all.
For years, I tried to be free and open and not overly planned or scheduled. Until I realized that it didn't really fit my personality at all. I liked the freedom but always felt out of control and a bit in a rut. I had to determine through experience that I like and need structure, particularly since I do stay at home, and it is so easy to let the day escape and take on a life of its own.
Since James has returned to public school, some structure is already put in place. I drop him off and pick him up, and Luke has a couple of classes that keep me on my toes. During the school year, I find that I have a pretty rigid setup to make sure that each of my three kids gets what is absolutely required. It only took a few instances of realizing that I somehow needed to get Luke to his gymnastics class at the same time that James needed to have his blood sugar tested and baby Ben was hungry before I embraced wholeheartedly a daily routine that allows me to do my mom thing.
A lot of that rigidity from the school year dissipates in the summer time, but of course that is when I feel the most lost. And, some of my responsibilities do not fade during the long, lazy days of summer. The baby still needs to be nursed, and James needs to have his blood sugar monitored. Having a daily schedule made it possible to make sure that primal needs were always met. I also like to plan for downtime each day, as well as things like exercise for me, reading time for the kids and time to practice working on a skill.
Additionally, I found that having events planned throughout the summer made each day something to look forward to. As a family, we love to get out and about. Kim knows that early each summer I'll sit down with my list of all the free activities in the area and plan outings for the cousins at the local museums, libraries and natural resources like the beaches and trails. Then I send my master list out so the cousins can go together.
While it may seem more constricting to my dear friend, I have to say, I love anticipating a full day more than an empty one. I love knowing what is coming and feeling like I've got a handle on all the things I need to do. The day may yet come that I can confidently enjoy a day of spontaneity, but as long as these three kids need me, it won't be in the near future!
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I'm thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.