Julie Lyles Carr: Dashboard Days

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dashboard Days

I call them Dashboard Days.

And they are critical to keeping the Octamom boat afloat.

When the tribe was younger and smaller, most of our days were spent at home. A few afternoons a week we ventured out for dance and soccer practices, but our morning and early afternoon routine was fairly established and replicable from day to day.

And that meant that math could be done in the same time slot each day and that a specific chore could be accomplished by a certain time and there was nap time and reading time and just good ol' time.

Those days are done.

Enter situational scheduling.

With the addition of more little kiddos and the maturing of the older kids, those more predictable days packed up and moved on. Therapy appointments for 4 of 8 and 7 of 8 take weekly priority and occupy important chunks of the calendar. A homeschool study for 2, 3 and 4 of 8 takes up one morning of the week. 2 of 8's work schedule at the dance studio, 3 of 8's internship in graphics design, my beloved commitments to women's ministry and speaking, dual credit classes at the community college, the regular babysitting jobs for some of the older kids, the travel to competition, the church service project, it all swirls in across the little squares that designate the days of the month.

But thankfully, a couple of times a week, we have mornings that are reminiscent of our early homeschool days, mornings that allow for a warm breakfast and doing math in our jammies. We shovel out the house, scrub down the bathrooms, run through spelling drills, get the clean laundry out of haphazard piles and into closets. We check our speed, top off the oil, refuel the gas tank and look for any 'check engine' lights.

Dashboard Days.

They've become protected territory around here, critical for assessing how things are going, a rest stop and a time to stretch our legs.

I used to think of these days as the days we had 'nothing' to do.

I've re-framed that thought.

Because I've found that these days are the ones that allow us to participate in all the zaniness that makes up the bulk of our week. These are the days we catch up, clean up and rest up.

Which are some of the most important activities of all.

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