So we’re into the start of the New Year, some of us dragging out the bikini-wearing, G&T-sipping holidays as far into January as we can stretch them, others back at work to half-empty offices. I decided it would be fun to share some of the ways the Fun-Gavin’s kick off the New Year to build a life of peace and purpose that can withstand the chaotically crazy, late-January winds.
Routines Start Now
Good routines start early in the year, and early in the day. Richard and I have decided that making our bed together as we get up allows us to accomplish a small, achievable goal first thing in the morning, which sets our minds up for success for the day.
“What was that, babe?”
We make sure to get ourselves and our kids into routine a few days before schools go back so that our bodies can adjust. Tomorrow morning we’ll be waking them up in time for family devotions and breakfast around the table before Daddy heads to work. Think of us!
A Family Command Centre
This wall in our kitchen gets loads of attention when guests come over! Everyone loves the idea. For us it’s not just a fun idea, it’s our control centre. We like our kids (and ourselves) to get a good overview of the year ahead - it helps them to understand that busy seasons are just seasonal, and to prepare for times when Mom or Dad will be away. It helps us all to pace ourselves, and to “number our days aright”.
Weekly Meal Schedules
I sidled up to Rich this holiday, looked deep into his eyes and asked him what he loved about me. He replied, “How bad you are in the kitchen. You really are terrible. But I love how hard you try!” So… cooking is not my love-language, but I don’t think I’m the only one who is exhausted at the thought that our kids need supper every day of their lives. So I’ve simplified things and we have a standard menu for the term. You may think it gets monotonous, but it works: its a balanced menu of fish, chicken, beef and veggies; I never get asked the question, “What’s for dinner?”; my shopping is the same exact list every week so it takes me twenty minutes. (And let me tell you, that is pretty impressive when I’m feeding 10 or more people a night!) At the end of each school term we have a family meeting and decide which meals we want to swop out for ones of similar cost and nutritional value e.g. swopping Spaghetti Bolognaise for Cottage Pie.
Load-shedding is not the highlight of this summer holiday, but load-sharing can be awesome (for the parents!). Oh yes, these Fun-Gavin’s know how to do chores, and I feel like a very educational and empowering mom giving these to them. This year we’ve glued a few pegs on the Command Centre Board with each child’s name on them and printed out the chores so they can be rotated to a different peg each day. I’ve paired a little person with a bigger one, and taught them all the details, such as how to use the washing machine and so on. We also have one peg with the name ‘Messy Monster’ on it. Through the day, if I see shirts discarded, games not packed away, or dishes outside by the pool, I allocate a point to the culprit, and whoever is in the lead with the most points, is the leading Messy Monster! Their grand prize is an extra few chores.
It’s by no means an exhaustive list of preparation possibilities, but it’s just a bit of fun, and I thought one or two of you might find it helpful.
Lots of love to you and praying for a magnificent 2020. I hope I get to see many of you face-to-face sometime this year!