Revamping Routines

Community Writers - August 14, 2022

How do you manage changes in schedules and routines?

+ Aleisha Barnes - Teacher of Family and Consumer Sciences, very passionate about making a difference in the lives of teens while teaching them how to be an adult

Marcia Berg - Wife, Mother to one college daughter, High School Science Teacher

Leesa Chesnut - Farmer's Wife, Homeschooling Mom to four boys 18-10, business owner

Taylor Cothern - Wife, Boy Mom (2 years old), 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher, Writer

Brynn Howard - Mom to a rainbow baby girl who is now 4, Wife of 15 years, Physician Recruiter and LCSW

Natalie Jones - Mom to 6 year old son, Fur Mom, Wife to a high school teacher, 2nd Grade Teacher, Upcoming Foster Parent

Heather Lindahl - Wife, Mom of three girls (7, 4, 1), Substance Abuse Counselor, Cupcake Business Owner

Lisa Mayhall - Wife, Mom of two teenage daughters (16, 17), Junior High School Principal

 Aleisha Barnes - In order to prepare myself for the upcoming year, I usually start setting the alarm earlier in the morning, so that it’s not quite a rude awakening!

I also tend to meal prep on Sundays, both breakfast and lunches, so that my mornings are easier. Thankfully, I love cooking, so evening meals aren’t a huge deal, but crockpot meals are becoming my friends!

Google Calendar has been my favorite way to keep track of things because it’s always on my phone, plus I keep it pulled up on my computer at work and can easily keep track of the comings and goings of things!

Marcia Berg- Each summer it happens. My husband and I stay up later and later and sleep in later every morning. I know we should start going to bed earlier, but we definitely enjoy not having a schedule during the summer months. I’d love to say that we start trying to adjust our schedules, and we usually have good intentions, but in reality we don’t set the alarm until we have to. And honestly, I don’t sleep much the night before school starts due to all the excitement of a new school year (or fear of sleeping through my alarm and being late on the first day).

So, instead, I try to have my first 2 weeks of lesson plans complete before school starts. I know I will be tired the first week and with this major part of my school work complete, if I need to go home and take a nap after school, I can.

In addition to planning my school work, I mark all school holidays, early outs, parent-teacher conferences, etc. on the calendar. I also add my daughters school calendar and important dates.

Since we are just cooking for 2 most of the time now, instead of planning meals for each day, I pick 3 meals for the week, we fix them, and get creative with leftovers. I like to do the majority of my household chores on Saturday morning, but try to spread laundry out during the week.


Leesa Chesnut - I have a HUGE wall calendar and different colors of dry erase markers. Kids use one color, parents another. Kids put their first initial next to appts. "C-orthodontist" or "B/G work Friday afternoon." I try to encourage getting to bed earlier the week before classes actual start to help with getting more sleep too.


Taylor Cothern - No matter if it is the weekend, a school day, or a holiday, my two year old is up at the same time everyday - 5:15. So, this school year I don't feel like waking up will be difficult, but I will miss the slow pace of the mornings. 

We have a large calendar in our kitchen that I write major events - family events, work events, appointments, etc. I have a personal planner in my purse that resembles the wall calendar, and I have a separate lesson planner for school. We also have a weekly meal planner on our fridge. On Sundays, I make sure we have all of the ingredients for the upcoming week so that preparing meals goes more smoothly in the evenings. I also prep my lunches so I can grab and go in the mornings. 

As far as daily tasks, I do most of the cooking and cleaning in the summer because I am home. But, during the school year, we divide and conquer. We have our morning jobs while the evenings are do what we can, when we can. I love doing a deep clean on Saturday mornings!

Each night, before going to bed, my husband and I take a few minutes to ask "What does tomorrow look like for you? What else do you have this week?" It helps us to think through the next day aloud, but we also hear one another and can share reminders, and make sure we are on the right day. :)


Brynn Howard - In regards to trying to balance my schedule and routine, it’s all hands on deck. Chad and I don’t follow the normal societal norms in terms of who cooks, who cleans. We have our tasks we might prefer more than others, but we tend to help out in whatever task, depending on who has the bandwidth at the time.  We both work full time jobs (plus side gigs) and tend to be very busy- so whoever can do whatever is always welcome in this house! 

Tessa loves dance, but getting her to class is very stressful time wise, so we are taking the fall off. I of course have some mom guilt, but know we will not regret that extra down time at home. 


Natalie Jones - We try to keep things simple. I set things on my calendar app and always have a reminder for 30-60 minutes before so I can mentally prepare! There are different time commitments during the year and I would be lost without those 30 or 60 minute reminders! 

Family time: We always try to do one thing as a family after dinner. Right now, Finn is obsessed with board games, so that is what we will do. We may watch some cartoons together, or just draw. We really follow Finn's lead on what he is feeling, because school is hard and taxing on him as well.
I have also lowered my expectations of what the house will look like. In a perfect world, counters would be cleared and wiped every night, no dishes in the sink, and vacuumed floors. That almost never happens. I kind of do what feels manageable and give myself permission to not do it all. Finn does help: he is responsible for putting away his laundry, helping wipe down the bathroom, picking up his toys, and putting his dishes in the sink once he is finished eating. 

Heather Lindahl  -  We keep the same bedtime routine through the summer that we have during the school year, so our morning routine is the only thing we really have to change. I work 10 hour days and don’t get home until 7 pm so that’s an added difficulty that we have to account for. Getting as much as possible ready the night before makes my life so much easier (book bags, lunch boxes, outfits, etc.).
I also keep two dry erase boards during the school year - one monthly, one weekly. The monthly one is simple. I keep track of birthdays, events, days off school or work. The weekly one is more involved. I bought a large board and DIY’ed it into a weekly calendar with columns for each family member. So, any practices, appointments, homework assignments, dress up days, really anything “extra” goes on the weekly board so we can keep track of everything we have going on!
Lisa Mayhall - Even though I would not be able to live without my Google calendar, for the family we are old-school and everyone puts information on a paper calendar that hangs in our pantry. As the girls have gotten older and taken on jobs themselves, I have them put their work hours on there as well so that I can transfer it to my Google calendar. I tell them all the time that there is too much information going through my brain that I CANNOT remember all of their things as well. But using the paper calendar that hangs in the pantry is available for everyone to view.
Everyone is on their own for laundry and a lunches. As for household cleaning it truly is a team effort and changes weekly depending on each other's schedule. Everyone knows what needs to be done and does what they can when they can. Same with cooking. I usually make out a meal plan for the week and on a good week we prep on Sunday's. Then it comes down to whose around that night to get dinner going.
Back to Grey House Notes

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.