Knowing When to Ditch the Plan

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We took a few days off recently. Hubby was home from work. My parents came. We invested in Big Bear. A butterfly landed on my shoulder.

Tuesday was our first day “back” to real life.

Yeah. uh-huh. ahem.

The Plan

I started my monthly freezer cooking session on Monday night and decided that I would finish in the morning. So, I told the kids we’d do a half day of school. (When you homeschool, you get to create the academic calendar.) My plan was to cook in the morning and then after lunch, we’d have a “minimum day.”

At about a quarter to nine, my youngest daughter came to me with an ailment that I knew needed a doctor’s attention. Today. Right away. I called and they scheduled us to come in three hours later.

I could see the writing on the wall. Doctors visits always take longer than you think they will. I told the boys school was canceled.


You should have seen the looks on their faces. It was almost like they were disappointed or something. Wish I’d had the camera.

The UnPlan

We headed off to the doctor for our 11:40 appointment. We were seen at 12:50. Yeah. uh-huh. ahem. Three stops later for the prescription, the groceries to finish off that freezer cooking, and lunch that we ate at 2:30 and it was clear that the day did not go the way I thought it would when I woke up that morning. Clearly not.

But, having eyes to see that it was going to veer off-track was wonderful. Being able to tell my boys that they had an extra day of spring break was classic — and enabled them to enjoy the day rather than have schoolwork hang over their heads. Knowing when to ditch the plan was life-giving in many ways. I did not stress about what was going on or should be going on. I just took it as it came.

I think I need to do that more often. So often I can be driven to “get something done.” Yet, life happens. And it’s subject to change. Sometimes you don’t get to decide. Rolling with the punches can be freeing and much less stressful than trying to manipulate the circumstances.

How ’bout you?

Do you feel freedom when you ditch a plan?

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  1. We’re going to be ditching the plan today. Yes, I’m writing this comment at the very early time of 3:53 am. Dd5 woke up at midnight & threw up, then again. Then again at 3 am. Since she got some on the rug, I know I have to clean the rug in her room.

    The plan was to go to 2 museums today. Instead, we’ll stay home. I’ll clean and cook and maybe do a grocery run while the kids play. Maybe we’ll get the paints out.

    Boy those doctor’s appointments can expand to a larger amount of time, can’t they? I hope your daughter is better today!

  2. Ditching the plan is so wonderful. Of course, you’ve got to have a plan to ditch.

    As for waiting at doctor’s offices, I always used to say: How long is the wait? I’m coming with FIVE KIDS!

    They would always tell me if it would be a long wait, and we’d go somewhere more interesting and less germ-laden to wait.

  3. Praying your little one is alright by now. My boy isn’t well, and we have to nebulize ever six hours. So, yes, my plan has been totally overhauled. The last 48 hours have been running on the “un-plan.”

    I’ve learned to take days like these in stride. If my kid getting sick means ditching my plan, then I just make it work — no drama. 🙂 It’s been hard the past couple of days, because I ended up catching the bug from my son! So, here I was, ill and attending to a sick baby boy. Sigh! I just gave it all up to God and said, “Lord, you know how much I can take, right? So, please, just take care of my clients, so I can take care of myself and my son. Thanks!”

    At least now, after ditching the “plan,” I’m on the road to recovery.

  4. I like to stick to the plan, but have definitely learned to be more flexible with my husband’s crazy schedule.
    We are also moving this month, so I have been assessing our school plan weekly. I have to make sure I have enough time to pack, knowing that school can wait another day, if need be. I LOVE the flexibility of homeschooling (though I may have been able to get more packing done if my kids were away at school).

  5. Your kids are also learning that life happens, we adapt and move on! Learning to be flexible is a skill!

    Many times is the last few years that 6am phone call puts us on spring break. I don’t usually “plan” one…that happens all on it’s own and if it doesn’t we finish school early in May!

  6. We’re definitely ditching the plan, or rather my best intentions, this week. I already gave the kids spring break last week, but our 5th child will be born by week’s end and this mama is just plain tired. Today the kids are enjoying painting, listening to our memory work cds while they do that, and watching a video on Yellowstone while mama has a nap this afternoon…turning out to be a “sorta school day”.

  7. “Ditching the plan” is so freeing sometimes! It helps teach my kids that life happens and we have to just go with it. I have learned that my attitude to the situation is most important because that is what my kids see first. Thanks for reminding us to appreciate those “un-planned” days!

  8. “Ditching the plan” has been our way of life for the past 2 months–we have an almost-5 and an almost-2 year old, and I’m working my way through the first trimester of a pregnancy with hyperemesis (again, for the third time–it seems that hyperemesis is just how I am when pregnant–at least through the first and into the second trimester).

    And, yes, ditching the plan is extremely freeing, for both me and my poor husband who ends up pulling double duty at home. We end up buying more convenience foods, and I force my type A personality to get beyond the kitchen floor not being mopped every week on Wednesday. At least it’s happening every 2 weeks! My frugal couponing/shopping has to take a backseat, and I just reconcile myself to getting the best deal I can without going to several stores.

    I become more spontaneous during this time of a pregnancy, learning to seize the rare moments when “Mommy feels better!” for fun rather than trying to play catch-up with my usual household tasks.

    Yes, yes. Ditching the plan definitely works for us.

  9. We are in the process of moving… a move that wasn’t in the plan when I wrote out my homeschool schedule in the fall. I’m learning to ditch the plan a little & know we’ll make it up in a few weeks.

  10. Yes. Had to ditch my plan today. My two-year old was not napping, and when I went to check on her, I realized she had opened her diaper and had been playing with poop for some time. It was everywhere. I think every mom has had a moment like this.

    I usually cook dinner during naptime. Not today! We had tomato soup from the freezer and grilled cheese sandwiches.

  11. Also ditched the plan today! It seems our family has not had much down time lately. My husband’s work is getting really busy, Easter prep at home and church (I’m a part time worship leader) is going full steam, and homeschooling projects and deadlines have zapped all of us. And even though the to do list isn’t going anywhere, I just decided this morning that we were all way too spent to plow through another day of long division, writing assignments, etc. An early start to our spring break was in order. Today’s activities will include some housekeeping, and Easter cookie baking.

  12. This is a helpful and encouraging post. Thank you.

    I had to ditch my own plan for this week after I woke up yesterday (with a crazy post-Easter hosting house) with the flu. Didn’t see that one coming! I had to spend the day resting while DH took care of our son – there really wasn’t much option. Today, I’ve been moving more, still slowly. But there’s been food to eat and clothes to wear and lots of movies to watch. We’ll be fine! I’m very glad being a WAHM allows me the flexibility to do that.

  13. We have had to ditch our plans so many times in the years we have homeschooled. At times, I get frustrated but invariably I am always so very thankful that I can be flexible. Being totally accessible to the kids and not working on anyone’s time clock is very freeing when 1 of the kids are sick, the house is a mess, your pregnant and didn’t sleep last night and it’s just crazy at the house!