Working in our pajamas

There are some days when, if it weren’t for the necessity to go out and feed the chickens, I’d probably remain in my fuzzy pajamas all day long. As the critters do need to be fed, and as someone might pass by and wonder at seeing me in pink pajamas and fluffy socks at midday, I get dressed, put on my muck boots, and trudge out with a box of feed in hand. Moral: if you want to have more motivation for self-discipline, keep animals. If nothing else, it will make you get dressed properly in the morning.

For most families, structure is something integral to every day. They get up, fly through the routine of dressing and breakfast, and everyone goes off their own separate ways for the days. For those who both work and learn from home, the situation is very different. We are pretty much in each other’s hair every day and all day long, and that is by necessity a mess-generator (both physically and mentally). Structure is important; it doesn’t have to stick to conventional routines or hours, but it must be there.

One of my favorite homeschooling resources, The Homeschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith, has a chapter on schedules called Structure, or Can We Wear Our Pajamas to School? Here’s a quote:

“Often families who start out with a fairly rigid structure find themselves becoming more relaxed and flexible as they grow more comfortable with homeschooling, whereas those who began with an informal and casual style may discover the need for more structure.”

We’ve been in both these places. Some years ago, a homeschooling friend told me that in her family, and in all homeschooling families she knows, later hours and more flexible meal times for kids are the norm. I bristled. Not with us! Dinner at 6, bath at 6:30, story time at 7:00, bedtime and blissful silence by 7:30. And you know what, for a long while I adhered to these principles religiously. But I paid dearly for it. Stress, tension, and constant chafing with my kids became the norm. On the other hand, I wouldn’t adopt my husband’s suggestion of just letting them run about until they drop off from sheer exhaustion. These days I’m more flexible, but I do know, and so do my kids, that once we’re on the track of dinner-baths-reading time, it leads to bedtime and that’s that.

Another great quote from The Homeschooling Handbook:

“Figuring out which part of which ideas will work for you is not easy. Often the ideas you find most attractive and expect will best fit your family don’t work for you at all. Or they work for a year or two and then suddenly seem ridiculous. Just remember that your kids are growing and changing and the relationships among you all are changing as well. It’s unrealistic to expect homeschooling to remain the same in the midst of those changes.”

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6 thoughts on “Working in our pajamas

  1. As much as I love wearing comfortable sweatpants and shirts at home, I noticed that I am more productive when I get dressed up properly in the morning. However, having pets definitely helps with discipline – getting up or getting things done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I had my first child my much older sister said to me: Always get dressed in the morning because from now on your clothes are helping you – if you are not sure is it day or is it night (because you’ve been up with your baby in the night and sleeping during the day when the baby is sleeping) just check your clothing. If you are in your pajamas, good, sleep on. If not, you probably should do something else, like laundry or dinner.

    As to structure or routine, I really think it is a good thing. Even though I never homeschooled (it’s not legal in Finland for ordinary children) I blessed the routine always. Yes it’s boring sometimes and you need to be disciplined, when all you want is sleeping in, but that’s the thing when you have reached the parent level. But you benefit from it because children know what happens next (someone said it gives children security), and on a good day they do like autopilot. It is really cute when a 14 month old climbs down from his high chair after lunch, takes his pacifier and waves goodbye on his way to take the afternoon nap 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! I never had quite this kind of discipline, though we do have routine – and though we do in fact, despite the temptation, get dressed every morning. I do feel a lot better about myself when dressed, even in muck boots!

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  3. I have no problem feeding my ducks in my pajamas, or checking the mail either. 😉
    My kids don’t have routines or bedtimes. It can get crazy when I’m exhausted and ready for bed but the toddler isn’t. My 11 year old stays up until midnight most nights whether I’m up or not. I have to say that I miss quiet time with my husband. Having routines and set bedtimes would be great for that.😀
    My son is pretty much in charge of his own school schedule this year, and he’s doing a great job getting his lessons done without me forcing him to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If we didn’t have any close neighbors, I’d probably go out to feed the chickens in my pajamas too. But wow! A child staying up until midnight sounds like more than I’d be ready to handle!

      Liked by 1 person

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