Before I move off the subject of routines, there is one website you simply must check out: flylady.net The original “Flylady,” Marla Cilley, and her crew are the best mentors ever for getting your life under control. They give away warm, comforting, free advice on things like housekeeping, menu planning, self-improvement, household organization, kid management, and it’s all done with a sense of humor. It’s hard to explain, you just have to check it out.
One of Flylady’s most important tips is to take “Baby Steps.” You should not beat yourself up trying to do everything right all the time (and not succeeding). Break a giant task into small chunks. Or if you are trying to master a long string of habits, start with just one. It takes about a month of continuous practice to really develop a habit – so unless you have extraordinary willpower, just concentrate on a few improvements at a time.
Disclaimer – even though I love Flylady, my house is rarely clean. We try to stay on top of the bathrooms and the kitchen, but the rest of the house looks like an explosion of laundry, books, mail, recycling to be taken out, dog toys, backpacks, wilted flower arrangements, and bread crumbs. Truth is, my priorities lie elsewhere and I know I can’t do everything. The kids help a lot, but they are busy people too. I do occasionally work myself into a mad frenzy of cleaning, especially when company is coming, so my house does get spiffed up sometimes. That’s probably the only thing saving us from squalor. Three cheers for company!