Building a Framework to Hold You Up

When we were young, my husband and I 'winged' our way through life. We had the time, money, and energy to climb through some awkward and difficult situations. But then a new reality set in... 4 kids, a mortgage, and more than one round with unemployment.  Our life started to change and we changed with it. And I believe we learned a few valuable (preparedness) lessons along the way.

Schedule - I appreciate the spontaneity and freedom of living life without restrictive plans and commitments. But I've learned that too much freedom and too many choices often end in indecisive frustration. Consider; 'What do you want for dinner?' or 'What do you want to do this week-end?' Although I may occasionally have an answer, more often than not, I have no idea. To combat this (amid the chaos of a six person household) I have added certain flexible guidelines to provide a framework for our lives. We don't schedule routine commitments on Friday nights - no lessons or sports. This gives us a night to spend as a family or to visit with friends. I also composed a dinner schedule to diversify our diet and aid in deciding 'what's for dinner.' Monday - chicken, Tuesday - pasta, Wednesday - pork, Thursday - beans, Friday - fish, Saturday - beef, Sunday - pizza. I often rearrange the days to accommodate our activities or preferences.

Structure - A place for everything and everything in its place. When I need something, I like to go to the place it belongs and find it there in working order.  This depends on every item having a proper place that everyone knows.  It also means that maintenance and repairs need to be completed promptly.

Stocking Up - Having an ample stock of food and household supplies has really helped save time, money, and frustration.  We're never completely out of toilet paper.  I always have fish, chicken, or sausages and veggies in the freezer to cook up a quick dinner.  We keep "emergency" paper plates and plastic cups in our stash.  (Occasionally I deem a particularly hectic evening "an emergency" and breathe easier.)  Keeping extra over the counter and prescription medications around helps ensure fewer midnight runs to the pharmacy when unexpected illness or symptoms pop up.  Extra batteries, coffee, or school supplies can save the day over and again.

Saving - I can't tell you how many times our savings has, well, saved us.  Even a small amount when times were lean can allow you to buy a washing machine when the old one calls it quits.  That, in turn, saves me time (I can multi-task housework at home instead of waiting at the laundromat.), money (At $1.75 to wash and $1.00 to dry each load you'll pay for a new washer in no time, except you never get to bring the washer home.), and hassle (I do not enjoy lugging dirty clothes around... ever.)  This economy has played out in our household many times, luckily not always over a washing machine. 

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