Creating a Family Rule of Life to Find Peace in your Daily Schedule

Creating a Rule of Life for your family will allow you to live a life of peace and connection, even during the busiest seasons.

Health & Wellness
 Min read
August 16, 2022

When the slow summer months turn to Back-to-School Night and Teacher Conferences, kids’ assignments and extracurriculars, new work deadlines and house projects, it’s easy to feel scattered, overwhelmed, and even burnt out.

Many parents struggle with establishing a rhythm and routine to help their families actually thrive throughout the school year.

Creating a Rule of Life for your family will allow you to live a life of peace and connection, even during the busiest seasons.

The concept of a Rule of Life originated with the Father of Western Monasticism –St. Benedict. St. Benedict wanted his followers to live a balanced life of prayer and work (“Ora et Labora”) because he believed that was the key to holiness.

For more than 1,000 years, the Rule of St. Benedict has provided structure to those living in monasteries by creating a rhythm of work, prayer, and recreation. It has also served as a model for other religious communities in how they order their day to fully live out their calling.

However, a Rule of Life is more than a schedule. It describes a community’s spirituality and purpose, helps establish priorities, and sets the standards for daily tasks.

Having a Rule of Life isn’t just beneficial for those called to life in a monastery. Lay individuals and families can also benefit from this traditional Christian tool.

Creating a Rule of Life as a Catholic family helps you order your days toward God, and through this order brings freedom and peace to a home.

Creating Your Family’s Rule of Life 

Pray to the Holy Spirit

Before you create your Rule of Life, invite the Holy Spirit to guide you in this process. Remember, you are creating more than just an efficient schedule for your family, you are responding to God’s call for your life. Ask for the grace to do this wholeheartedly.  

Establish your Fundamental Principles

Before you dig into the details that make up your day-to-day life, you will first need to understand your family’s core values. Some families may refer to this as their mission or vision statement, and it will help guide you in the next stages of creating your Rule.

Although every Catholic family shares the universal call to holiness, no Catholic family will look exactly the same in their pursuit of this end. Creating a family mission statement will help you clarify your family’s unique call.

What matters most to you and your family? What kind of family do you want to be? What goals do you have as a unit? What makes your family special?

Reflect on your Vocation

In A Mother’s Rule of Life, author Holly Pierlot reflected on the duties of her vocation as a wife and mother and created a routine based on what she calls the “Five P’s.”

The Five P’s focus on five major priorities of married life (in order of importance): Prayer, Person, Partner, Parent, Provider.

The Five P’s will guide you through the responsibilities and obligations of your vocation. Below you will find questions to consider when creating your rule. Jot down the answers for later reference.

  1. Prayer (Relationship with God): We were made for relationship with our Heavenly Father. However, our relationship to God often suffers when life gets hectic; instead of putting God above everything else, we tend to put everything else before God. Making time for prayer is essential for the Christian life.  What types of prayer should you include in your day/week? (Of course, as a Catholic, you should include weekly mass and regular confession, as well as some form of daily prayer). When is the best time for you to pray as an individual and as a family? Are there any natural lulls in your day that would allow for uninterrupted personal prayer?
  2. Person (Relationship with yourself): Have you heard the saying: “You can’t pour from an empty cup?” After our relationship with God, we need to prioritize taking care of our own physical, mental, and emotional needs so we can best love and serve those around us. How much sleep do you need to get each night? When do you plan to exercise? What basic hygiene tasks are needed each day? When can you engage in your hobbies or spend time with friends?
  3. Partner (Relationship with your spouse): Next, you need to prioritize your marriage. If you are called to this vocation, you are tasked with a sacred duty–to help your spouse get to heaven. Your marriage also acts as a building block for your family. The stronger your marriage, the stronger your foundation. You need to intentionally work to build it up. When and how can you connect with your spouse each day? Is there a regular time each week for date night? What little things can you do to help your spouse with his/her tasks? What does your marriage need to thrive?
  4. Parent (Relationship with your children): If you have children, consider their physical and spiritual needs and how you are called to care for them. If your kids are old enough, invite them to participate in this brainstorming activity alongside you. How much sleep do they need each day? What basic hygiene tasks do they need to accomplish? What do your children need to do for school or extracurriculars, hobbies and exercise? What do they need to grow in their relationship with God through prayer and the sacraments? When and how can you spend intentional time with your kids?
  5. Provider (Relationship with your work, both in and out of the home): Whether you work inside or outside the home, you act as a provider for your family. What are your duties to your home? To your employer and job? What can you do better to keep your home organized? What financial goals are you working toward? How can you be good stewards of what God has given you? While this area is probably the most time consuming, it’s important to note that it lands at the bottom of the list of priorities. When scheduling your tasks for each day, keep your priorities in mind and keep first things first.

Write it Down

Now that you have a full list of your priorities and necessary tasks, you need to set aside time each day to complete them.

Some families thrive on using a block schedule to organize their days, while other families might use their Rule to create a less formal daily to-do list. Do what works best for you.

Be realistic in creating your Rule and setting your schedule. If you plan your prayer time for 6:00am and you have a difficult time getting up until 7:00, you might find yourself failing to maintain this habit.

Don’t create a Rule for your ideal persona, rather create a realistic one that helps you be the best version of yourself.

Be Flexible

Remember that your Rule is there to serve you. It exists to help guide your days, not dictate them. Leave room for spontaneity and growth.

Your Rule of Life will not be a fixed document, but one that changes with you as your season of life changes. Revisit your Rule often and revise as necessary.

Pietra Fitness