Each morning, I sit down with a cup of coffee and my journal and write at least three pages of stuff.  Sometimes more.  Isaac watches an episode of Curious George or plays with Legos, and Harper Lee sleeps.  She’s been sleeping later and later every day this summer.  I guess she’s getting to that age.

We are all incredibly off schedule.  I never would have pegged myself for a routine and schedule oriented person until I quit my full-time job as a high school English teacher to stay at home with Harper Lee when she was born.  I quickly discovered, though, that for over 18 years, I had only gone to pee when a bell rang.  The freedom of not having a rigid schedule sort of threw me for a loop.  So I quickly instated one.

When Harper Lee was really small, Rob referred to me as the sleep Nazi.  We stuck to a very tight sleep schedule and did not deviate for anyone or anything.  It paid off, and I still say it made all the difference for her.  She’s always needed a lot of sleep.  So have I.

But as the kids have gotten older and there are more and more activities and fun things to do in the evenings, we have gotten a little off course from the sleep Nazi plan.  We are staying up entirely too late and sleeping in entirely too long.

Part of me doesn’t care because, hey, it’s summer.  But I can tell a difference in my own quality of sleep.  I like staying up late to read or knit or work on a piece of art or just to watch pre-recorded episodes of Good Eats with Rob.  But I’m missing my really early mornings too.

Now, when I get up, the sun is all the way up in the sky, the heat is on the rise (not that it’s really ever gone down this summer), and I feel like part of the day has already slipped away. 

I was thinking this morning, as I sat with my mug of coffee and scribbled some thoughts in my journal, that it’s probably time to start getting back into our old routine.  School will be upon us in less than three weeks.

I have to admit that I dread the beginning of school—a lot.  Summer has always meant a certain freedom to me.  I like being able to work in the yard and then go to a swimming hole in the afternoon to cool off.  I like night swims at the pool.  I like impromptu cook-outs with friends.  I like not having to be somewhere every day at a certain time.

In other words, I really like schedules, as long as they’re my own.  And isn’t that the truth?

As summer comes to an end (even though it’s still 100 degrees every day), I’m trying to get my mind around the new schedule that’s coming.  I look forward to early mornings with my cup of coffee and watching the sun rise again, but I dread the mad dash out the door with whining and fussing and missing lunch boxes.  If only we could maintain a schedule that coincides with the outside world but with the ease and calm of an unscheduled summer morning.  Whoever figures that one out should patent it and make a million dollars.

A friend who recently went out on her own and has started a new business said that she decided to really focus on creating a work environment that had a work-life balance that worked for her.  She figured that if she is going to own her own business, it ought to fit her personal life, schedule and needs.  This idea got me thinking.

If you could design your perfect day—not a vacation day, but a real, honest to goodness regular work day—what would it look like?  What would you do differently?

This is something I’m going to spend some time thinking about over the next two weeks.  In the meantime, I’m going to savor the last drops of summer with some aimless weed pulling, a handful of grape tomatoes from the vine and a romp through the sprinkler.