One of my 2018 goals is to “Create purposeful routines and rhythms in our schedule that enable us to tend to our family, loved ones, and home well.” 2017 was a good year, but since so many big changes occurred (Charlie grew from a baby into a toddler, I launched my business and joined Beautycounter, and so on), I frequently found myself feeling scatterbrained and just generally not on top of things. This wasn’t due to a lack of boundaries–I’m proud of the boundaries I’ve built into my business and blog from day one in order to best protect my family time–but rather, the problem was a lack of an intentional schedule. I have thrived on schedules my whole life, but when Charlie was born, any sense of one flew out the window…as it does with any newborn. But, as Charlie’s needs and timing grew more constant and predictable, I still hadn’t set any type of order around my day-to-day life as a mama, a wife, and a writer.
Enter A Mother’s Rule of Life. My friend Claire blogged about the book last year and I was immediately intrigued by the concept. Holly Pierlot, the author, says “A Rule of Life is a traditional Christian tool of ordering one’s vocation. Found most often in religious community life, a Rule can also be used by laypeople–whose state in life is no less a calling from God. It consists primarily in the examination of one’s vocation and the duties it entails, and the development of a schedule for fulfilling these responsibilities in a consistent and orderly way.” She goes on to define vocation as “a specific call of God–a particular mission we have been given on earth–living out this mission is to do God’s will in our lives.”
Finally, she clarifies that the difference between a Rule of Life and a schedule is that “A Rule is an organization of everything that has to do with your vocation, based on a hierarchy of the priorities that define the vocation and done with the intent to please God.” YES. This was what I wanted and needed!
In A Mother’s Rule of Life, Pierlot guides readers through the creation of a Rule ordered around the priorities of the married vocation, in order: prayer, person (the self), partner, parent, provider (work). I followed that format to create my Rule as well, and just checked off my monthly goal of updating it to reflect a few recent tweaks in our routine. Note that this outline is mostly for Charlie and me–I didn’t incorporate Dave’s work or study schedules since he maintains those on his own, but he and I do discuss them often and make sure both my Rule and his schedule are in alignment. I also want to mention that I don’t follow this perfectly! I do try to schedule things like play dates in the “slots” that I save specifically for them, but if a friend can only get together on a Wednesday, for example, I don’t hesitate to switch things around.
5:30: Wake up, morning prayer, personal time
6:30: Charlie wakes up, cuddle and quiet play
7:00: Breakfast, load/unload dishwasher, put in laundry
7:30: Morning offering, play, get ready for the day
9:00: Outing and at-home play
Mon: Play date
Tue: Trader Joe’s
Fri: Target, Costco, or miscellaneous errand
11:30: Lunch, pray Angelus
12:30: Play (outside when possible), outing/work
Tue: Lisa work
Fri: Play date
2:00: Charlie naptime, Lisa work
Mon: Something Pretty
Tue: Lisa Kirk Writing
Wed: Something Pretty
Thu: Miscellaneous writing (freelance articles, Beautycounter newsletter, etc.)
Fri: Emails, planning, catch-up work as needed
4:00: Family time, prep dinner
Wednesday and Friday: Lisa run
6:00: Play, Charlie bath, family rosary decade
7:00: Charlie bedtime; clean kitchen, shower, rest, quality time
9:15: Get ready for bed, pray rosary decade with Dave, read
The main benefits I’ve gained from, more or less, following this Rule weekly? Mental space from knowing that I have places to go each day, errands all happen in an orderly manner, and I know exactly what to do during Charlie’s naps (no more aimless clicking back and forth, trying to decide what to prioritize each day!). More frequent prayer throughout the day and much better daily Mass attendance. And, strangely enough, so much more joy from maintaining our home! One quote from the book I could have triple underlined was “As I began to live my Rule, I became excited by the fact that day by day, and moment by moment, I was trying to fulfill God’s will in my life. As a nun vows obedience to her superiors, I was practicing obedience to the demands of my vocation as reflected in my daily duties. I was obeying God with each and every action I performed, right down to loading the dishwasher and feeding the cats.”
Many aspects of this season of life with a young child can feel invisible, insignificant, and even pointless sometimes…but this book and its principles have reminded me that God sees me and He loves me as I strive to serve Him through serving the family He has entrusted to me.
Intrigued? Some sweet friends and I are giving away a copy, along with a few special gifts we selected to encourage and inspire a special mama somewhere out there: a Blessed Is She mini liturgical planner (which looks AMAZING), a darling and super soft Marian tee from Brickhouse in the City, a gorgeous watercolor print by Emily Rachelle, and a rose gold pen. Enter on Instagram here before Wednesday at 8:00 A.M.!
P.S. FYI, this post is not sponsored by anyone, and Claire purchased the copy of the book for the giveaway herself :)