A day in the life of EE {daily routines, systems and time management for my life as a writer}

A few people have asked how I “do it all,” meaning, raise a large family AND write a book. I thought I’d share my little philosophy of living AND the practical how-to’s of my life.

A huge part of becoming a writer has meant knowing my body, human limitations, life situation and my core values. I schedule and systematize as much of my life as possible.

My body is: is a morning body. I get my best work done in the morning. After 3pm, I should NOT be doing any creative work. Also, my body requires a lot of sleep (otherwise I get sick and/or depressed). That is the honest truth about my human limitation. I have ADD. I have a whacky menstrual cycle. I am an ENFP.

My life situation is: I am a married mother of five children and my husband is the primary breadwinner.

My core values are: daily time together as a family (including spiritual readings and conversation), daily time with my spouse, 3-4 hours of writing, 1 hour of reading, 1 hour of exercise, healthy nutrition.

Speaking of my life situation, I really cannot underestimate the HUGE leg-up I’ve been given by being married to a man who takes seriously his duty of providing for our family. There is simply NO WAY I could have written a book without the financial support of my husband. For example, my husband’s regular job provides for the bulk of our expenses and I used my book advance to hire help for the laundry and cleaning so that I was freed up to actually write the book. (NOTE: it took us a long time to get here–for many years I simply had to write after or between doing all the regular laundry, cooking, baby-caring etc.) The  added benefit of having domestic help is that I’m not an exhausted wreck by day’s end. In other words, I really can’t begin to talk about my daily practices without giving ample credit to my husband whose financial support actually makes my daily practices possible.

In order to be successful at writing, I have had to tailor my daily schedule to fit my human limitations, serve my core values and provide for my life situation.

Essentially, I systematize my daily routine. A daily schedule may seem mundane or repetitive but it’s a huge time and energy saver. We eat, sleep and work on a systematized schedule. I fully believe that many child-behavioral problems are the result of sleep deprivation and poor nutrition. I also believe my creative process won’t just magically happen. I have to schedule time each day to “catch” the inspiration. Lastly, my relationships will suffer unless I make time for them each day.

For example, I don’t want to have to think about exercising each day. I simply go at the same time and the same place each day. I also don’t want to think about daily carpool schedules so I am in a carpool that requires the same route and same schedule each day. Lastly, our bank, post office, schools, grocery stores and doctor’s offices are within two miles of home. My husband works nearby. This means our daily maintenance routines are systematized.

It took quite a bit of strategic planning for us to set this up our lives this way but because we have a large family, we simply must arrange our lives within a very close proximity to home–otherwise we will waste many hours in the car.

I am forever grateful to the people who took a chance on me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my literary agent, editor and all the bloggers who have cheered me on and supported me. Still, there is so much a writer can do before she wins the attention of an agent, lands a book contract or writes her first book.

This is what a typical weekday looks like for me:

5am: wake. I keep my iPhone on my nightstand and the alarm wakes me each morning. I roll out of bed, use the restroom, check my email and immediately put on the workout clothes I’ve set out the night before.

5:15am: drive to bootcamp. I listen to classical music or NPR because it’s an edifying way to wake up my brain and soul.

5:30-6:30am: Exercise.

6:45am: Arrive back at home. The children are already awake and getting ready. Again, our morning routine is highly systematized. The kids make lunches the night before. Matt makes a hot breakfast while I make coffee, prep backpacks and lunch boxes, brush twins’ hair, make sure everyone is staying on target. The children are expected to report to the breakfast table fully clothed (with socks and shoes), brushed hair and teeth and backpacks ready to go.

7:00am: We all sit down for breakfast. We read The Magnificat (a daily selection of Scripture readings, suggested prayers and saint-of-the-day). Everyone shares a prayer request. We close in prayer. Typical breakfast: 1 egg, 1/4 bagel with peanut butter, coffee, sliced fruit.

7:20am: Load up for carpool. I drive 7 children to two different schools every morning. If it’s raining, I make an extra trip for an 8th child.

8:00am: Back home. Shower, brush teeth, hair and makeup. Dress for the day. Note: I think it’s important for me to dress nicely each day. Looking better=feeling better. It actually doesn’t take that much more effort for me to put on nice clothes rather than my old yoga pants. Additionally, everyone in my family appreciates it when I make an effort to look presentable. (NOTE: while my children were very little, I wore yoga pants daily, no makeup).

8:30am: Begin writing. I write for 3-4 without stopping. Even if I’m not working on my book or blog, I’m either journaling or outlining. I truly believe that in order to improve the craft, I must write every single day. Sometimes people think getting a book deal was an overnight thing. Ha ha. I’ve been writing every single day for most of my life. And in the last six years, I’ve written for at least one hour each day.

11:30/12:30 Lunch break. Usually a salad with chicken and veggies. Lite Italian dressing. Shredded cheese. A big glass of water. A piece of fruit.

1:30pm: I’m still writing but a different kind of writing: proofing, editing, re-reading what I’ve written, perhaps catching up on email. If I don’t have pressing writing needs, this is when I read. I read for an hour every day.

2-2:30pm: Nap. I sincerely believe more than HALF my success as a writer can be directly contributed to getting enough sleep. Period. I used to think it was sorta artsy and cool and “writerly” to stay up late drinking and waxing eloquent on life. Yeah. No. That doesn’t work for me or my life. If I’m a good writer it’s only because I prioritize sleeping, eating and exercise. I have to work hard at it. I’m only mildly talented. The rest is hard work.

2:40pm: Older kids arrive home from school. Debriefing. Look over homework. Ask about upcoming tests. Plan the afternoon. Assign afternoon chores. Snacks.

3:15pm: Pick up the twins from Pre-K. This takes longer because as little people, they move more slowly. There are lunch boxes to be fetched, jackets, completed work, updates, checking in with their teacher, etc.

3:45pm: Home. Make healthy snack for twins. Usually sliced apples with peanut butter and milk. Talk to the twins about their day, assign “little chores,” ie. setting out their clothes for the next day, tidying up their rooms. Playtime. Chores.

4:15: I begin dinner prep. I only cook three nights a week. We have a multitude of food options nearby so on the other nights my husband picks up dinner on his way home. This is one of the major ways I save time and energy. Also, my gift is writing, not cooking. So, I make very basic meals. On the days I am not cooking I am driving Jewel to and from ballet class.

5:30pm: We all sit down for dinner (except for Jewel who is usually at ballet class–this is why we make sure we sit down for family breakfast every day because not everyone is home for dinner everyday). We discuss “high-lows” of everyone’s day (a highlight and lowlight). This often leads to great conversations. One of my core family values is daily meal together.

6:30pm: Twins bath. Dinner clean up. Prep for the next day. Boys finishing homework. (I am beginning to feel very tired at this point). Slowing down.

7:00pm: Twins in bed. (Yes, they actually go to sleep at this time. I think many child behavioral problems can be directly traced to sleep deprivation.). Boys finishing chores, homework, prepping for next day. They are allowed to play Xbox at this time. Matt and I regroup on the couch and talk. This is OUR daily time together. We plan for the next day, cuddle, eat a dessert. My brain and body are beginning to shut down. We rarely watch TV during the week, mostly we DVR shows to watch over the weekend.

8:30pm: Older kids’ bedtime. Yes, I believe ALL children should go to bed early. I fully believe this leads to better grades at school and emotional stability. (Exceptions made for homework, extra reading)

8:45pm: I begin my bedtime routine. Yes. I have a very early bedtime. Again, I require a lot of sleep. My body has always been this way and instead of fighting it, I accept this about myself and don’t push it. Again, this is a systematized routine which helps calm my body for sleep. I brush my teeth, wash my face, moisturize and floss. I drink a big glass of water. I write in my love journal (a journal I keep for documenting all the ways my husband loves me each day). I get in bed and say my prayers. I read poetry before sleeping (I avoid reading anything upsetting or stimulating before sleep). When I’m ready for sleep, I call for Matt. He comes in and says goodnight. He can’t go to sleep as early as I do but we always say goodnight and kiss. From the beginning of our marriage we made it a point not to go to sleep upset with each other. My last spoken words each night are: “Goodnight, Matt. I love you.” When the light is out, my last thoughts are: “Thank You, Jesus, for this day. I love You.”

9:15pm: I am asleep.

  • http://evenonesparrow.blogspot.com even one sparrow

    I love reading stuff like this. This looks similar to my day, excepting that I have a 1 1/2 year old and am 37 weeks pregnant (so lots more napping and yoga-pants-wearing for me at this stage in my life). But I need this much sleep too, and I need to work out at least 4 times a week while pregnant, 6 times a week while not pregnant, to stay happy/sane. My daughter goes to sleep between 5-6pm, and I go to bed around 9pm.

    I’ve also been cutting out things that bother me in terms of wasting time — like doing my hair. So I got a pixie cut and now I don’t have to spend any time doing it.

    Have you read or glanced of Laura Vanderkam’s book “You Have More Time Than You Think?” You might be interested in it, but it seems like you’re already doing a lot of what she recommends. But if you know of anyone who wants to re-vamp their lives to make the most of every day, I would recommend the book highly.

    • Anonymous

      Great recommendation. I haven’t heard of the book but it sounds very helpful! Thanks!

  • http://www.quietanthem.com/ Renee Ronika

    This makes me so happy for you, and it makes me satisfied in the life God has for me right now, as I can feel hopeful for the future. Our life is systematic, too, but I’m the breadwinner. (My husband got his doctorate and a job, but lost the job before it started due to budget cuts.) I’m heartbroken a lot because I can’t write, but I make time for family, ministry (which has been on warp speed lately), some writing, and exercise. These are my priorities. I have only cooked once since I started back at a very draining, very financially demoralizing teaching position at a ridiculously huge (size-wise) university. My husband does most of the house chores, and I do them when I can. I have no idea if my writing dreams will ever come true, but I know–in the meantime–God is fulfilling His will through me for my blood and church families. Sometimes I want to cry because I’m so exhausted and tempted to feel unfulfilled, but then I remember the ministry, the tiny bits of writing I can share (even if not that many people are reading), the marriage that is flourishing despite our recent string of financial/professional disappointments, and the daughters (ages 3 and 2) we’re rearing to be confident, determined, and brave. It’s enough for now.

    • Anonymous

      Renee: may I just share how much your ‘ministry of comments’ has meant to me? When i think of all the people who have encouraged me over the years, you are one of them. You are so kind and generous with your comments. You are a good example to ME in that area! Thank you so much! Someday, the generosity you show will certainly come back to you! Cheers for “it’s enough for now.” yes, yes it is!

      • http://www.quietanthem.com/ Renee Ronika

        Thank you, Elizabeth. Thankful, indeed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruth.svelmoe Ruth Svelmoe

    Agh, this is so helpful. I am coming off of a year of resting and allowing myself all the irresponsibility in the world (obviously don’t have kids!) and now that I’m trying to get back to achieving goals and being productive, my ENFP self is sabotaging every effort. I actually almost wrote you to ask how you manage your time, so I am very appreciative of this blog! It’s inspiring and helpful for good ideas. I would love to hear anymore advice or ideas you have on this.

    • Anonymous

      I’m glad you appreciated this. If you have a specific question about time-management, I’ll know how to answer in a followup post. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree with all of this. We had a similiar family schedule when I lived at home: family breakfast (minus the baby, the years there was one…we just let him/her sleep!), family dinner when it was do-able (as in, when we were younger), chores, and early bedtime. I had the earliest bedtime of just about any kid in my class–9:00 as a junior in high school. I swear that’s the only way I could get up at 6 AM. I’m a night owl by temperament, so my parents would let me read, but I was in bed by 9. And there wasn’t a phone or a computer in my room, either.

    • Anonymous

      We don’t have a TV in our bedroom. I simply refuse to have one in my bedroom. Bedrooms are for sleeping, resting and lovemaking–not TV watching!

  • Natalie

    Thanks so much for this! I’ve recently been diving back into full-time writing before baby #1 comes (in May) in attempts to complete the book I started over a year ago. It’s challenging to set up a schedule that works and feel productive at the end of the day (especially while about seven months pregnant), so it’s super edifying to see how other writers structure their time. I’ve been left wondering a lot of “how do they do it?” since writing can be so isolating. It’s important to share this stuff with one another! Thank you again.

    • Anonymous

      I think it’s so important to share this stuff with each other. I’m always so happy when a writer I admire opens up his or her life so I can see HOW they do it. Glad this was helpful to you, Natalie!

  • http://www.mydevising.com/ Claire Westbrook

    Really enjoyed reading this today. It’s definitely an encouragement. :)

    • Anonymous

      YAY!

  • http://www.jessicaclemmer.com/ Jessica Clemmer

    This is VERY helpful. As a mom of 4 and pastor, who has just delved into blogging, with hopes of a book down the road (feeling WAY down the road at this point!) I was just saying to a friend yesterday that while I feel passionately about what I’m doing, and that this *is* the right timing for me to do it…I am having a WHOLE lot of trouble how to make the practicals of all this work!!! Great advice and encouragement…thank you!!

    • Anonymous

      Timing is so important. There is no way I could have EVER written a book in my early or mid-twenties while my babies were all little. It’s OK to allow ourselves seasons. :)

      • http://www.jessicaclemmer.com/ Jessica Clemmer

        I totally agree…in fact, having all my kids solidly in school, and turning 40 this year was finally my ‘permission’ to myself to really decide to go for it and do this thing!

  • Melissa Conroy

    I’m not a parent, but I look at many harried, overstressed families today and my perception is that many of their problems are self-generated. Modern parents tend to overload their children and themselves with an abundance of extracurricular activities and fill their days with far more than they can accomplish. Also, many people are not very self-disciplined and organized prior to kids, so their lives become extremely difficult when children are added. This sounds harsh, but I truly believe many parents blame their children for their own laziness, lack of structure, and inability to say no.

    For myself, structure and organization are very important, and part of me has been worried that if I have children, my life will fall apart into chaos and my life will become the typical circus that represents the average American household. It was extremely refreshing to read your post and see that parenting and family life can be calm and tranquil and not the insane madhouse that so many homes are today.

    I am so glad to see that you emphasize healthy eating, proper sleep, and exercise in your family, as these are values I hope to pass on to my children. I often see parents working like mad to provide their children with good education, social enrichment activities, and other benefits, yet let their kids survive on junk good and go without sleep. This is like waxing and buffing your car every day, yet putting syrup in the gas tank!

    You are a wonderful example – thank your for a fabulous post!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you so much. We have restricted extra curriculars for exactly this reason. My daughter’s ballet is our only thing since she is naturally gifted. We like a non-frenzied life!

      • Emily

        May I ask about this? How did you know that she was naturally gifted and then decide to let her pursue that? I’m assuming she didn’t just start doing ballet on her own, without any sort of instruction. A child has to have an opportunity to try something before you know if they’re gifted, right? Like, they might have the potential to be an amazing pianist, but if they never touch a piano, you would never know. Also, would you allow one of your children to pursue something that they weren’t particularly gifted in but really loved? I’m curious because I do think that over scheduling of extra curriculars can be detrimental, but I also think kids should be encouraged to try things and find something they enjoy/are good at.

  • PLM

    Enjoyed this post, especially as someone who works out of my house and can be tempted to drift away from schedule and accomplish not very much. I did want to note that some readers may have spouses who are the primary breadwinners and take their duties as providers as seriously as you husband does. However, they work in positions or in industries where the pay is simply not high enough to provide this kind of flexibility for the stay at home parent (teachers, ministers, social workers are good examples.) You have to be both a hard worker and be making a good salary for this kind of arrangement to be possible.

    • Anonymous

      Great point, thank you. Totally not my intention to diminish work that pays less at all. So sorry if that came across!

  • Jessica Snell

    Oh, I love this post so much. Maybe just because I’m doing the same thing: trying to grow a writing career and children at the same time. (Twins here, too.) My favorite part is this: “I have to schedule time each day to “catch” the inspiration.” So, so true. I often *feel* like I can’t write, but if I sit down at the keyboard at the scheduled time and force myself to write, well, turns out how I *feel* about writing has little to do with my actually *ability* to write.

    (And I was almost sad when I figured this out. I miss the excuse. But I surely do love the productivity I got in exchange.)

    • Anonymous

      YAY! Maybe think of it like a piano analogy. You can’t perform the piece (aka, publish the book) until you’ve practiced, practiced, practiced. Nobody says a pianist is an “overnight success” b/c everyone understands how many hours it takes to master the instrument. It’s OK for us writers to take the time we need to grow our craft, too. Just little by little each day. I know you can do this, Jessica!

  • amy

    You are such an inspiration! I’m planning my day and starting an outline…

    I think your blog will be on this list!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you! Wow! That’s the best compliment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christy-Chomer-Karnatz/611216017 Christy Chomer Karnatz

    Isn’t it amazing how figuring out what works for you is so freeing? I’ve been substitute teaching since we moved and was looking for a full time teaching job again. Then the writing muse finally visited me after many years of absence and I remembered my great passion for it. I’ve decided that instead of looking for a full time elementary teaching job, I will look for an administrative job at a university, college, or in an office. Teaching is draining and I know that I won’t have the time or energy to write if I do it full time. So I’m going to make a change. Office during the day and 1.5-2 hours of writing each night; more on the weekends.

    I love seeing your routine. It makes me smile knowing your life has that comfort of routine. You are inspiring me to put a routine back into place in my life.

  • colleen

    This is inspirational to me, Elizabeth…as someone whose brain works a lot like yours and thinks a lot like yours, i think. Structure with room to breathe, lots of sleep, time for creativity… are all essential for me as well. And since getting married, looking ahead to a future family sometimes overwhelms me…! But things like this assure me that it can be done…and there can be craziness and busy-ness that is possible for someone like me to handle.

    On another note, I also want to thank you for how thoughtful you have made me this past year as you’ve chronicled your spiritual walking and discovering. I love seeing how God is leading and molding you. And i love telling my family about you, and reading you some of your posts…especially my dad…as he knows your family and knows some of the things you’ve had to go through. He hasn’t known everything, of course, and is always touched by what you say. He every so often asks about how you are, and i always love dialoging with him about what you are doing and writing. Anyway, i just wanted you to know that <3

    • Anonymous

      Colleen!! ((hugs)) I look at the portrait you did of my children every single day and am so grateful. I know God brought you into my life at just the right time and I have been so happy to watch your journey toward marriage–and especially LOVED all the beautiful honeymoon pics! :) I just want to thank you for being a friend and I always keep you near my heart. I would love to have you over again soon–with the Mister! :) Much love to you! xo.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for sharing your routine, I’m a morning person and require lots of sleep too (my wake/bed is just 1/2 hour diff!) it’s nice to know how you do it as well.

  • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

    Wow. I really, really, really wish I was this disciplined.

    • Anonymous

      You CAN be! Pick ONE thing. Just ONE. And do it at the same time and same place each day. You will be surprised how quickly just ordering ONE tiny part of your day overflows to other parts. I promise. It works. xo.

  • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

    This was so fun for me to read…and I think there is such generosity and wisdom in sharing all this with readers, who can sometimes forget that behind the words-on-a-page there is a real life & a real person (who has laundry piles and toilets that need cleaning). You’re always pretty open ;) so I don’t think that happens as much with you maybe…but still…I appreciate it!

    It was also fun because with as different as we are…in the daily life stuff…we’re really similar :) This is the sort of routine I would (and do) best function within. Right now I’m in phase where, for the sake of marriage-time-together and my husband’s work hours, I’m needing to stay up later than I’d like to…which means not as early in the morning…and exercising later than I’d like…and more often than not…yoga pants.

    I LOVE your appreciation of the teamwork that has to be there with your husband…in order for life and family to thrive. And for the thankfulness that clearly shines through.

    I also appreciate that you mention how intentional you and your husband have been in setting up your family’s scenario…location, outside activities, meals, schools etc. I keep learning over and over…that meaningful life-experiences-relationships-friendships-rhythms…it all takes a lot of work…and purposeful-intentional-ness.

    I really enjoyed this ee :)

    • Anonymous

      thank you so much, Kara. I loved behind-the-scenes look at others’ lives. it’s so helpful. I’m glad you enjoyed it, much love to you as you are in a busy season of life!

  • Amy

    I almost skipped this post, but I’m so glad I didn’t! My goal this year is to practice more self-control: over my money, my time, my mouth, my health. Reading about your day was so helpful. And I’m that same way about family dinnertime. I won’t commit to anything that messes with that time together. I’m sure we miss out on activities and lessons and playdates, etc. but I don’t care. I’m convinced that having that time everyday will help keep my kids connected and talking to me when they hit those teenage years.

    • Anonymous

      YES!

  • Jake Meador

    Elizabeth – As a Protestant entering Lent and craving some of the structure that Rome offers people during this time, this post was really helpful. Do you think this same principle “systematize as much as possible” can be helpful more broadly as well? I’ve been thinking about the way Protestants understand spiritual formation versus the way Catholics seem to understand it and I’m struck by how Protestantism seems so unstructured when set next to Rome. You guys fast, only eat certain things, go to confession regularly, receive Mass in a certain way, etc. Protestantism, in contrast, seems freeform to the point of being unhelpful–”well, at some point in the day you should read your Bible… and prayer is a good idea. Oh, and go to that Bible study,” etc.

    Maybe the simplest way to put it is to ask if you think Catholicism offers a more structured understanding of spiritual formation and, if so, has that structure been helpful to you?

    • Anonymous

      Short answer: yes, Catholicism offered great solace to me because I was very weary from trying to free-form it all the time. As a weary mother, the written prayers provided a beautiful way for me to speak with God without having to come up with everything myself–I was never very good at spontaneous prayer. Catholicism provided a tangible framework and within that framework there is FRESHNESS and NEWNESS b/c it’s a matter of love making each day new. For me, Catholicism is a very easy yoke to bear b/c I find great graces poured out on me. Thank you for the question!

  • Ty Alexander Huynh

    Elizabeth, I really enjoyed all the comments you had and everyone else’s as well. You all have great ideas that everyone should include in their family life, like forcing family meal times and chit-chat. That’s very important to keep relationships solid and close. I wouldn’t say that a strictly scheduled or “systematized” routing is for everyone, though. It works better for your personality type, biological clock type, and family/career situation. I’m not a morning person, at all, so the early routine isn’t for me. But I’ve also found that God has led me into a more “flow with Him” routine rather than trying to strictly schedule things, like I’d done before when I put myself on a tight schedule to finish my first book a few years ago. Today, I let my changing body rhythms, God’s priorities, and other family/friends priorities rule my day. I’m graced to not need to wake at the same time everyday for work or school, so my schedule can be flexible. I may take naps when I feel I need it, which I actually should do more often (sometimes God’s Spirit in you makes you feel very tired as a nudge to get you to rest and sleep more), but sometimes I just keep going because I like to get things done instead of come back to it later (I’m kinda naughty that way). I also don’t feel that trying to “catch” inspiration is the best way to get it. Jack London wrote, “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” This doesn’t mean to feverishly brainstorm or try to force great thoughts. Inspiration isn’t generated by one’s own pondering. It is sparked by external things. People should take that quote to mean: Get up and experience life, then the good stuff will come to you. Just be ready to receive and record it at any time. I’ve found that the best creative content comes throughout the day because God can use anything and everything to inspire you. Your comments about getting enough rest are good too. We all need enough down time to run right. God also urges us to rest often (remember the Sabbath). It is often MUCH more productive to rest enough rest than to push and push and push your work. People who get enough rest are more productive, make much less mistakes, think better, and just overall flow better. Jesus said, “…[work] as long as it is day, the night is coming when no one can do work.” (John 9:4). Jesus wasn’t saying no one could work at night, but rather that no one SHOULD work at night, just like no one SHOULD work on the Sabbath (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown). God very much wants us to rest and never push ourselves too hard. We should schedule our lives around that and only push if we have a strict deadline for something. Every “Evening Sabbath” should be when we put aside all our work and have that family and cuddle time.

  • Trish West

    Hi Elizabeth. I have been reading for awhile and just wanted to thank you for your openness and honesty in all your posts! I enjoyed this look into your routines and daily life. My children go to bed early and most people think I’m crazy, so it’s always nice to hear some encouragement about the importance of rest. I have been enjoying that you are blogging every day this year. Thanks for your hard work and your sense of humor!

  • suzanne

    i’m still a single lady but when i think about my future as a writer and a mama and having a buncha kids (Lord willing!!) i picture insanity and craziness. i LOVE reading mama’s blogs because i can learn from awesome mom’s like you how to keep a big family from being craziness so that when i become a mama (again, Lord willing) i will be more prepared! also, as a teacher, THANK YOU FOR VALUING YOUR KIDS’ SLEEP AND NUTRITION! it directly affects their behavior and success at school. also, your blog is my new favorite thing.

  • Lucy

    I liked this post more than I thought I would. I was very scheduled when my kids were little. I got up early, I made my bed, got dressed to the shoes, etc. I got my one, then two, the three kids out the door to school. For a while, I got up early enough to exercise and pray and still get them all out the door by 7:40. I managed this even after having a major health crisis. By last school year it was tough – I wasn’t always getting up early enough to get dressed before my kids left with my husband. And this year my kids are in a different school with a later start time and I’m homeschooling the oldest and my schedule fell apart. I’ve been trying to put it back together, but it’s felt like slogging through mud.

    Actually, the thing I’m curious about (and maybe you’ve written about this elsewhere) is the ADD. In my experience of fundamentalism, all issues like depression and ADD were because of unconfessed sin and moral turpitude. When were you diagnosed? How did you know? My husband was diagnosed in college and I’ve been blowing it off for 13 years. That’s not going so well. :) Honestly, I’m thinking it’s contagious because all the symptoms fit me, too! Following a schedule has become increasingly difficult as my children have aged beyond babyhood (complicated by my being a highly introverted night owl). Do you have any suggestions for the spouse of someone with ADD/ADHD?

  • SD

    Do you have any advice for people who would love to have your life but don’t have the financial resources to do so? I have 3 kids (the youngest is 18 months), I work part-time, and I do most of the housework and errands. I can’t afford to quit working or hire someone to clean. I am burning with envy reading your schedule. I can’t believe you have time to write so much AND read AND exercise AND spend time with family, AND you have someone to clean. That’s my dream life, right there. I’m also a writer (a poet) but it seems like when I do have time to write, I’m so burnt out I end up surfing the internet.

  • SD

    Also, our oldest is in girl scouts, and that’s it. No more activities. My husband and I are also frugal. So the problem certainly isn’t self-imposed.

  • Aprille

    Wow! Amazing!!! Inspiring! I need to be more disciplined!

  • Niki

    #1 you are awesome

    #2 I love that you are a big believer in getting enough sleep. I live my life very similarly (sleep-wise) and try to tell my friends how wonderful it is, but no one listens. Meanwhile, I always have the energy I need and a child who is an angel 99% of the time. Again, you’re awesome!

  • Mazi

    You have no idea how freeing it is to read that you only cook dinner three nights a week. Thank you for being honest. I grew up in a house where my mother cooked every night and it is hard for me to step out from under that expectation. Thanks for your post!

  • http://www.adayinmollywood.com molly

    Wow. I want to be an author. Maybe it’s time I started getting up earlier instead of writing at midnight when I am totally drained and nearly asleep :)

  • Anonymous

    This is beyond impressive. Beyond. And the love journal idea?? LOVE it. Wish I’d read this 30 years ago. Thanks, EE.