Moms certainly have to be master jugglers. It's one thing to be responsible for a marriage and a home; it's quite another to raise a family, tend to a marriage and carry out the responsibilities of our work. Every age and stage of family life challenges, changes and effects the way we live our days. A baby certainly throws schedules out of order until sleeping and eating routines take on patterns. Work outside the home and school schedules greatly impact how the day evolves. No matter what your scenario, you need to have a schedule that allows you to fulfill your responsibilities and have balance.
Everyone accomplishes this differently. Each schedule is dynamic and adjusts with ages and stages. Realize however that this task-oriented schedule must permit, encourage and flex with moments to engage, form, and nurture each family member. It's not just a matter of accomplishing prescribed tasks; it's very much a matter of being present to each other. Wise families share many moments where love is shown, shared and secured in each other. These moments need to happen frequently, often spontaneously, and even be scheduled, because life is busy and love is demanding.
Here are a variety of schedules submitted by several moms. The possibilities are endless. Each mom needs to find her own balance for what she wishes to achieve. Certainly raising children has a stress element. Wise moms harness their schedules to afford family time, work time, marriage time and me time. It's not easy, but it's necessary if we want to stay happily married and raise kids with character. For sure there are sacrifices and the oodles of time for self are not there. However, it's the love we put into the moment and the intentions for which we do it that count most. Much personal growth occurs and we need to constantly reflect, “What can I change to make things better? Run more smoothly? How can I get others to collaborate in this? ” Our time is so precious. Our children grow so quickly. Be willing to make the sacrifices to give our loved ones our best selves, and not the leftovers. Enjoy the following submissions and feel free to add yours to the growing list.
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Mom A's Schedule with 6 boys, 3 girls ,aged 18 months to 15 years
5 am - 6 am -------- baby wakes up, I have a large coffee, make lunches for the school day ahead, empty dishwasher and reload from previous nights snacks.
Keep baby quiet so everyone else can sleep longer!
6 am - 7 am -------- other kids start waking up, wake up husband help him get out the door!
7 am - 8 am --------- get all kids dressed, cleaned up, make sure all backpacks are packed with lunches, homework, agendas and other important papers.
8 am - 8:30 am -------out to the bus stop
8:30 am - 9:30 am ------- clean up after breakfast, get the other children who don't go to school dressed and cleaned up for the day.
----- put laundry in, make beds, take out meat for dinner, turn on crockpot (mostly used in winter) tidy up bedrooms, kitchen etc.
9:30 - 11:30 am ----------- depending on the weather go for long walk, visit good friend/neighbour, pick up the mail, go to park or our favourite play in the backyard.....bad weather play games, toys, puzzles etc. or run errands in town.
11:30 - noon --------- lunch for the little ones who are home
noon - 1:00 pm -------- tidy up, prepare lunch for high school kids who come home for lunch every day, spend half hour talking with them about their morning.
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm -------- naps and quiet time....baby to bed, toddler and preschooler watch quiet show or play quietly while I fold laundry
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm --------- tidy house, finishing touches on dinner, empty dishwasher, put laundry away, kids play outside or in play room.
4:00 pm- 5:30 pm ------- kids off the bus, go through backpacks, sign all papers and agendas, do homework, empty lunchboxes, supper on the table 5:30
5:30 pm------ kids all downstairs to watch a show while husband and I talk about our days and clean up the kitchen.
evening ---- reading homework, play cards, board games, in spring and summer play outside till dusk, baths, teeth etc.
7:45 pm ----- prayers, husband reads kids bible, questions and answers on faith
8:15 pm --- kids under 5 to bed
8:30 pm - 8:45 pm --- kids under 10 to bed, quiet reading till 9
9:30 pm - 9:45 pm --------- teenagers to bed
9:30 pm - 10:30 pm----- husband and wife time yay !
10:30 pm - 5 am ------------up with the baby to nurse, up with any other children who need to go to the bathroom, or have a bad dream or need a drink or whatever (but hopefully I sleep through the night and not one of the nine are up haha!)
This of course does not include any or all of the constant taxi services I provide to all sporting events, appointments, meetings, friend's houses etc. etc. !
AND this schedule changes often due to sick or grumpy children, tired mother, or summer vacation where we spend either at golf tournaments of our boys, or the beach (usually its the laundry that suffers) !
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Mom B's schedule with 2 boys, ages 4 and 2.
I homeschool the oldest. My husband works from home 2 days/week.
8-9am: Breakfast and clean-up
9-11am: Homeschool 4yr-old son or go to scheduled activity (library, gymnastics, skating, swimming, etc)
11-12pm: Boys play together while I do things around the house and get lunch ready
12-1pm: Lunch and clean-up
1-3pm: Boys play together, we have a play date or homeschool the oldest if we have had an activity during the morning. I try to make the time to read them books or play with them
3-5pm: 2yr old naps, 4yr old has quiet time, playing with Lego, building train tracks, etc. I have my own down time (nap, read book). If my husband works from home, then I run errands alone
5-6pm: Boys play together or watch a video while I get dinner ready
6-7pm: Dinner together as a family
7-8pm: Husband plays with boys while I clean up kitchen, maybe do some baking
8-9: Husband bathes kids, story time, prayers, then bed for kids. I do laundry or go to the gym, grocery shop, or do volunteer work.
9-11: Down time, or reply to email, work on house projects with husband, or relax with husband
This is a very flexible schedule. During the spring and summer months we try to maximize our time outside.
Staying at home has been one of the best decisions that my husband and I have made for our family. I decided to stay home after the birth of my first, and I won't deny that I was anxious in the beginning, mainly because I was giving up my career and income. However I look back on my short years at home and already see the fruits of this decision. Life is very busy and hectic as it is, and I feel that me staying at home provides my children with the calm and stability that they need in the early years. Even if I'm not interacting with them every second of the day, the boys know that mom is present and available. My husband is also able to focus better on his role as a provider knowing that I'm holding down the fort at home. And I'm slowly getting better at managing a household - this is definitely a learning process! We feel that our family life is strengthened, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
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Mom C's Typical Schedule – a family of six children ages 5 – 14.
Home school schedule is for the current semester that we are covering but varies
6:00 a.m. wake
6:00-6:30 a.m. breakfast for teen, help pack lunch and see him to bus (high school)
6:30-7:00 a.m. exercise
7:00 shower, breakfast, reading (prayer)
7:50 wake kids
8:00 kids breakfast
8:30 chores (send husband off to work – varying schedule)
9:00 home school (core focus on Canadian Geography, mapping,trip planning and French)
10:30-10:45 snack and break (in or out-side)
10:45 home school (Mathematics, History and the Arts)
1:00 chores and break (outdoor preferred)
2:00 home school quiet activity (i.e. reading/writing/independent study) while I do prep. For dinner
and do my own school/house work
3:30 wrap up
3:50 welcome teen home from bus
4:00 (review with kids) OR (piano lessons begin Monday and Wednesday)
5:30 (prepare dinner) OR (children’s choir practice Tuesday)
7:00 (family reading, game, talk) OR (adult choir practice Monday)
8:00 family rosary (with friends Wednesday and excluding weekend)
9:00 (bedtime prayers and bedtime for kids) OR (movie/game night Friday)
9:30 tidy up, couple time (my school work)
11:00 bedtime (varies with workload and point of exhaustion)
Start all over again!!!
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Mom D's schedule with four children, aged 2-10.
Wake up, breakfast, get dressed and ready for the day
Morning prayers are usually said together while walking to bus stops or driving to school
Older children go off to school (pre-schoolers begin school 2-half days/week at age 3 and 4…nice break for Mommy)
I usually register to one or two parent-child activity during the week with little ones (NO MORE! I find little children need some quiet time to stay home too. Also, I find that the lesser packed schedule gives me flexibility to go to the park, visit friends, Grandparent’s, do errands, do an activity at the community centre for mommies (such as quilting), on those days without planned and booked activities). I also like to do my house cleaning during one of the week days while older children are at school. This gives us more free time during the weekend. Our weekend time is “sacred”. There’s always so much to do: Mass, mow the lawn, fix a pipe, paint a room, gardening, visiting Grandparent’s and relatives, or a family picnic… that I try to get my house cleaning and my errands done during the week to allow us as much free time or family time as possible during the weekend. When my older children were younger (3 or 4 years), I use to swap kids with a friend one morning a week. She would take my son to her house to play with her son and I, her daughter to my house to play with mine. Sometimes she took both or I took both. Because of the new dynamic in the house, it gave me an opportune time to do my house cleaning.
Back home for lunch, and afternoon naps for little ones (Mommy gets started on dinner (for example: peel potatoes or makes a crock-pot recipe that will be ready for dinner), does exercises, or naps too)
Afternoon tea-time when students come home from school at 3PM (some of my children could not handle snacks as it would spoil their dinner)
Homework and playing outside for fresh air
Some Fridays, Confession and Mass (Since Mass is at 4:30 we usually have an easy and fun dinner afterwards, like pizza and a movie. It gives the children motivation to “be good” during Mass at a difficult time of the day)
Dinner (any time between 5PM-6PM), baths, bedtime stories, prayers and all little ones in bed by 7PM (When dinner is running late, or we wait for Daddy to come home and have dinner with him, I’ll bathe the little ones before dinner). Older children help make lunches for the next school day, and read by themselves before bed.
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Mom E's schedule with four children aged 2-8
6:00-6:30 kids wake up on their own
6:30-7:00 breakfast and mom joins kids, laundry in if necessary
7:00 make lunches and get ready
7:30 prepare to meet the bus
7:45 bus (a few blocks away)
8:00-8:45 clean up kitchen, take out freezer items for next day(s) if necessary
8:45 walk to 9 a.m. Mass (aim for 3 days a week)
9:45-11:30 toddler time (health unit playgroup 1 day, library, park, home) or errands 1 day
11:30-12:15 prepare and eat lunch, clean up
12:45 kids rest - 1-2 hours as needed
1:30-3:00 email, apt. phone calls, cleaning
3:00-3:30 prepare to meet bus and return
3:30 kids snack
3:45-5:00 homework, kids' jobs, make dinner
6:00-6:30 playtime, clean up dinner
6:30 prepare for bed
7:00 younger 2 in bed
7:30 older 2 in bed
7:30-10:00 finish clean up, start laundry, dishwasher, etc., exercise, and/or relax with husband
10:00 bed at last : )
Machine use - aim for low energy times
mid-tasks - stories or keeping younger 2 engaged throughout day
Cleaning - usually on-the-fly surface cleaning, occasional projects
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Mom F's schedule – 7 children aged 2-17
6:30 wake up, throw a load of laundry in, teenagers make own breakfast and lunches
7:00 school children slowly wake up and get dressed
7:45 breakfast with husband and small children
8:15 husband leaves for work, clean kitchen, get kids ready for school
8:45 kids walk to neighbourhood school
clean kitchen, prepare main course of dinner, phone call to a girlfriend, while pre-schoolers play nearby
10:15 snack and go outside (park, errands, groceries, walk, visit friends) or housecleaning with kids
11:45 prepare lunch and make side dish for supper
12:15 kids come home from school for lunch
12:50 drive kids back to school
1:15 toddler nap time, other child watches a video – mom reads, checks emails, rests
3:00 teens arrive home from highschool – snack and talk with mom (unless at school extra-curriculars, ie. Band, sports, drama etc. from which they walk home - half hour walk) Teens often sleep right after.
3:45 school children arrive home – snack and talk with mom(unless at school extra-curriculars – sports from which they walk home -10 minute walk)
downtime for kids – read books, legos, toys, in backyard, puzzles etc. I try to be with them individually at different moments
4:45 homework of school children nearby, only help if asked
5:15 finish making supper with help from some children (salad, dessert, set table)
6:00 supper – discuss best and worst thing that happened in the day. Have a quiet cup of tea with husband before we call kids back for chores
- kitchen chores while mom or dad read out loud from a novel for 10 minutes
any remaining homework is completed.
Downtime to read, play board games, chat, play pingpong.
(Monday nights – sports night, Mom and dad's date night Wednesday evenings – very short computer games, Fridays family movie night, Saturday evenings longer computer time or watching hockey on TV, Sunday nights - euchre night). We all do housechores on Saturdays as well as any home maintenance. Sunday is considered a day for worship, rest and family fun.
Kids stagger going to bed between 7:30 and 10 p.m. since they share rooms. Have a fan in the hallway
for white noise. Kids in grades 5 and higher have reading lights and can read in bed for a while.
School age children to bed by 8:30, teens by 10:00. Every evening after 8:30 I set the breakfast table, take out meat for the following day's supper, do a basic tidy of the main floor and put a load of laundry in. (All kids in highschool have to do their own laundry which will decreases mine). From 9:30-10:30 I have time for my husband, chat with the teens, read a book or catch up on emails.
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Mom G's schedule with 7 children: 15yrs, 13, 11, 9, 7, 4 and 9 month old
Situation: stay at home mom, home school children
6:00am: rise, prayer time and coffee alone 1/2 hour, shower dress
7:00-7:45am: pack hubby lunch, put on slow cooker if necessary, throw in some laundry
7:45-10:00- Home school. Begin day with National anthem, morning prayers for kids and announcements of upcoming day's events
10:15-10:30- Read aloud to children age 9 and younger
11:45- lunch prep. Each day a child is assigned to help prep lunch.
12:00noon- children read story of saint of the day, lunch, mom has second coffee
3:00- quick house tidy where all the kids have house tidy jobs. Mom does laundry
3:30-3:45: mom has 15 minutes quiet prayer time. Kids leave mom alone unless they are bleeding.
3:45-4:45: Administrative hour. Kids leave mom alone to pay bills, make phone calls. Older kids assigned to younger ones to care for them
4:45-5:30pm- prepare supper. One child per month assigned to be my 'kitchen helper'
6:00-6:30- kids have clean up jobs. Mom has some time to go cuddle with baby. Talk with hubby
7:15pm: night prayers
7:30pm- bedtimes begin, younger kids to bed, older kids stay up for devotion (rosary)
8:00-9:00pm-more kids to bed
9:00pm- watch headlines of news with hubby
9:30pm-get ready for bed
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Mom H's Schedule
We have 5 children (Girl 8, Boy 7, Boy 5, Girl 3,and Infant) at home. To be able to properly function at home we are used to follow a daily schedule that looks like this during the 5 school days of the week:
6:00 – Parents wake up for 15 minutes of quiet prayer
6:40 – Dad wakes up the children, (the 4 oldest will make their bed, get dressed, put away dried-cleaned-dishes from last dinner, setup table for breakfast, vacuum the hall, the main floor bathroom and the office room), while mom brushes the hair of the two oldest girls and puts together their lunch boxes (prepared the evening before)
7:10 – Breakfast all the family together
7:35 – Dad brings the three oldest kids to the bus stop for school, while mom cleans up the breakfast table with the help of our fourth one
7:45 – Dad, mom and the two youngest leave for Mass and pray along the way.
8:00 – Mass
8:45 – Laundry and cleaning (preparing dinner if crock put)
10:00 – Grocery or errands if needed
12:15 – Lunch
13:15 – Put the two youngest to bed for afternoon nap time; mom takes 30 minutes for internet/email
14 :00– Mom's reading time
14:30 – Mom’s nap
15:00 – Pick-up three oldest kids from bus stop
15:30 – Start homework
16:00 – End of our youngest childs’ nap
16:15 – Start Piano practice
16:30 – Dad comes to help with packed lunch preparation for the following day, while mom starts making dinner
17:20 – Toys are put away, and the kids set the table for dinner
17:30 – Dinner
18:15 – Kids put away their dirty dishes, vacuum around the dinner table and clean up the table
18:30 – Kids put on their pajamas and clean their teeth under dad's supervision, while mom washes dishes
18:45 – Evening family prayer
19:00 – Take 15 minutes of individual time with kids to read story and reflect on the day (two with dad and two with mom - alternating every day): starting with our fourth and third, and finishing with our second and first child.
20:00 – Children go to bed. Time as a couple begins.
21:30 – Preparing to go to bed (shower)
22:00-22:30 – Bed time
This schedule does vary time to time, but it is the typical one that we aim for. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Dad gives a bath 18:30-19:00 to the 4 oldest, while discussing the day so that we can still have them all in bed by 20:00. The baby schedule is accommodated within the schedule (but it at this stage varies too much to have routines). Things therefore may shift a bit, but we still strive to stick to the above schedule.
You should note that we enjoy the fact that mom is WORKING at home. Because of that, we are happy parents of 5 children, who can frequently spend about an hour and half of ‘couple quality time’ each evening before going to bed at 22h00.
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Mom I's Schedule with kids 1, 3 and 5 years old
7am wake up, short prayer
8.15 getting ready to leave, brushing teeth, tying shoes, closing zippers...
8.40 bringing the oldest one to Kindergarten
9-11 either grocery shopping, running errands,doctors appointments, playground, laundry, cleaning as long as the little ones are happy
(reading a book or get them started on a different toy/activity if necessary)-if possible calling a friend
11.30 picking up the oldest one from Kindergarten
13.00 nap time for the little ones, quiet time for the oldest one, time for me to pray, read, lie down (wiping floors with no little feet around)
15pm starting supper, having a snack, playing, reading, cleaning, sorting laundry for the next day...
18pm supper for everybody
18.30 guiding kids clean-up of the toys, clean-up the kitchen
19.00 getting ready for bed, twice a week bath-time
19.30 bed time for the kids
once a week I try to get out of the house as soon my husband is home to exercise, another evening I go to evening mass, while they have supper
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Mom J's Schedule: Large family with teenagers, children, and toddlers.
6:00 am - Wake and dress up
6:15 am - Wake up children going to school; Prepare quick breakfast items (cereal, oatmeal, toast, etc.) and bring out packed lunch from refrigerator
7:00 am - See husband and kids off to school; Get baby from crib and sit down for breakfast
7:15 am - Spiritual reading and morning prayer (baby playing in playpen or in high chair)
8:00 am - Wake up other kids (homeschool); Dress baby up
8:15 am - Leave for mass
8:30 am - Holy mass
9:00 am - Go back home
9:15 am - Morning chores with the kids (fix beds, get clothes for folding in dryer, unload dishes from dishwasher, wash breakfast dishes, prepare ingredients for dinner)
9:50 am - Clear up dining table for homeschoolers to use for schoolwork
10:00 am - Homeschooling: older kids on their own, younger kids with me, baby in playpen or playing with a sibling for a while (baby to nap at 10:30 am)
11:00 am - Do any prep work for dinner meal; Check on leftovers for lunch; Help homeschoolers if needed (Get baby when she wakes up)
11:55 am - Put schoolwork away for lunch; Set dining table for lunch
12:00 pm - Angelus; Heat up leftovers or make sandwiches for lunch; Sit down for lunch
12:45 pm - After lunch chores with kids: Put lunch things away; wash lunch dishes; Clean up dining table for afternoon homeschooling; Do any more prep work necessary for dinner
1:10 pm - Afternoon nap for 4 year old; Quiet study or computer work for older homeschoolers; Homeschooling work continued for 7 year old; Baby in playpen; Afternoon prayer
2:00 pm - Leave to pick up other kids from schools in Toronto (35-40-minute drive); Pray rosary in the van on the way
2:45 pm - Pick up boys near their school
3:20 pm - Pick up girls at their school; Head back home
4:15 pm - Arrive home (usually arrive earlier, but if the traffic is heavy could get home at this time)
4:30 pm - Snack time for everyone; younger kids watch cartoons; older kids relax or have some personal time on the computer (email, etc.)
5:15 pm - Homework time at dining table; Computer time for schoolwork; Finalize dinner prep if necessary; Figure out packed lunch for next day
6:30 pm - Clear dining table; Set dining table for dinner; Kids take showers; Tidy up around the living room; Sort clothes for laundry of the day.
7:00 pm - Put a load of laundry in washing machine.
7:15 pm - Husband/Dad arrives home from work! Get dinner on the table. Blessing of the meal. Dinner time with the whole family. (Only time of the day we are all together.)
7:50 pm - After meal thanksgiving prayer. Clear dining table. Load dishwasher and wash anything that can't be loaded. Make packed lunch for next day.
8:10 pm - Continue homework time for older kids if necessary; Younger kids dress for bed and brush their teeth; Some time for younger kids with dad and/or mom.
8:50 pm - Prepare to go to bed for younger kids.
9:00 pm - Bed time for younger kids. Dad/mom following up on older kids with schoolwork still being done; Reminders to prepare things for school the next day
9:15 pm - Quiet time for dad and mom!! (Catching up, etc.)
9:50 pm - Computers are shut down for the night if still on. Older kids just getting to or getting ready for bed.
10:15 pm - Lights out. (ideally!)
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Mom K's Schedule - three boys aged 2, 3 and 4, pregnant with fourth child
I was originally scared of how I would get my 3 and 4 year olds to morning pre-school (one goes 5 days a week, the other goes 2 days a week). Routine has been the answer, as well as discipline. Discipline not only with the boys but with myself. It has taken me four years to get up at 6:30am, so don’t be scared and overwhelmed when you read my schedule. I use to get up at 7am but found that I was a better and more patient mom when I my day started in silence, prayer and coffee.
Wake up, start coffee, go to bathroom
Make breakfast for boys, school snack, coffee and take out frozen meat.
Prayer time (decade of the rosary and spiritual reading for about 20 mins)
Eat breakfast and check email
Set out milk cups for boys (I do this so that if they get downstairs before me, they can pour their own milk and get started without me. They also have no excuse if they are fooling around).
Wake up older boys
Make 2 year old wait in bed (if he wakes up) while I get dressed. Get him out of bed, put him on the toilet and brush my teeth (I find brushing my teeth a fair time frame for him to sit on the toilet).
Dress the 2 year old and remind the other two that if they continue to fool around they won’t have time to eat breakfast (we’ve only had two days so far that they have gone without breakfast. In that case I give them a granola bar in the van).
All boys need to be eating breakfast by this time in order for us to be on time. My oldest boy gets nervous if I tell him we are late. I find the more I nag them the more frustrated I get and more upset they get. They know what is expected...and who cares if they are late for pre-school? I say this knowing I’ve almost been in tears with my hair ripped out.
Time to put away breakfast (this is usual, they will put what they didn’t eat in the fridge and eat it later, usually it is also their second or third bowl).
Get on coats and boots, send them outside to the van (fortunately I have a remote to open the doors and I can see them, the 2 year old waits for me inside).
Drop boys off at school. Run errands or go home and clean.
Pick boys up from school. We are a block away from the church, so we park out front (because I know if I tried to actually go into the church, I would have given up a while ago) and say a few prayers.
Go home and make lunch.
Eat Lunch. I usually put together a cold lunch for the boys (sliced veggies, cheese, crackers, a pickle etc.). Then I am able to make something for myself and clean up after breakfast and lunch.
Put 2 year old down for a nap. Older ones play.
Older ones go for a quiet time in separate rooms.
Have a nap and make phone calls/bills payments/paperwork.
Get boys up (if they are sleeping, I’ll leave them until around 4pm. The 4 year old rarely sleeps).
Have a snack and play.
I start making dinner at this time. Depending on what I’m making and my patience level, they help me make dinner. I also start this early due to the many distractions along the way. If they are running around too much, I make them go outside or upstairs.
I also get some house cleaning done, sit and read my book or talk on the phone if dinner is easy.
Eat dinner. If my husband comes home later then 5:30pm, they eat without him. I will try to wait and eat with him. If he is working overnight, the boys get to watch a movie. PJ’s must be on first and if they fool around the movie ends at 7:30pm.
Husband and I clean up. We have trained the boys to clear their own dishes.
Husband plays “the wrestling game” with the boys.
I catch up on household duties or join in. With the pregnancy this means I sit and take in the view.
Start bedtime routine. Brush teeth, go pee, get PJ’s on, pick out books, read (if listening is bad, books get taken away) and say prayers. Both my husband and I put them to bed. The 2 year old is in a separate room, so the more exhausted one gets to read to him and put him to bed (it’s usually me).
Time to be alone with my husband! We usually play a game, watch a movie, talk or sit together on separate computers. I need this time with him for my sanity, but I also take the opportunity when it arises to go out with other women. And when he goes out I take a long shower and spend lots of time doing nothing by myself. I also get things done, like writing this for you to enjoy. Date nights are a great idea, it takes energy and planning to do it. We are working on that : )
This is a typical weekday. On Saturdays, if we are at home we try to sleep in and spend time around the house cleaning, organizing and playing together. On Sunday’s we go to church, eat lunch, have nap time, play, eat dinner, play and go to bed. These weekends happen rarely but are the most restful.