Friday, January 11, 2013

Dirt: Again with the routine?

As I have progressed through the stages of motherhood, I have realized two things. 
#1 A routine will save your life.
#2 Routines do not mean you are boring (at least that is what I tell myself.)

routine does not = these

My first daughter was an easy baby, except she never slept through the night. She nursed through the night. I was exhausted, but happy because she really didn't need a routine. I could go all day long and she would nap here and there and we were cool. We traveled across the country when she was 5 months old, first by plane, then by car. I never wanted to commit to a routine because I felt that as a new person in town and a new mom, I really needed flexibility to just live my life. And, if I am honest, I equated a routine as such a "mom thing" and while I had a child, I did not want to be labeled a mom. By 13 months I was pregnant again and we moved into "Mommy needs a routine...because Mommy  needs a nap" mode.

My second one came out with a routine stamped on her bald little head. She had to have two naps until she went to kindergarten and she needed to be fed at regular intervals. We had settled into a bit of a routine before she arrived, but that routine became the real deal once she made her appearance. 

As all mothers/parents who are thrown into the strange land called two under two know, it is really fly by the seat of your pants for a few months.  Ellie was a sleeper from the get go, so that helped keep our days free to actually do things other than me trying to  catch up on missed sleep. A routine helped us all be happier Ellie got her two naps, Delaney got her social interaction and I got to workout and interact with other adults if I had a plan of action for the week. We were not the Babywise people by any stretch, but we became a little more predictable.  Looking back, I realized that Delaney might have been a better sleeper had she had more of a routine. But, hey, it's only sleep and I was much younger then (27).

As my kids have gotten older and I have actually gotten to know them, I have realized a few things. A routine makes my life easier and makes my kids feel more secure in their daily lives. Delaney is good at being out of her comfort zone, but she craves a schedule.  Ellie is more reserved and likes things to be predictable, but is usually up for trying new things if presented in the right way. Either way, a routine is grounding for both of them.

For me, I now realize that my "free and breezy lifestyle" was great, but it also made me somewhat disorganized on the home front. We ate out a lot, which was a form of a social life for me as a new stay at home mom with few friends. Housekeeping was really daunting and I felt behind quite often, which made me a stressed out freak when I tried to entertain.

biggest advocate of a routine

I had a light bulb moment over Christmas break this year that I have actually gotten to be moderately efficient in running my house and have *gulp* become a routine person. I started planning meals on Sunday or Monday for the whole week a few years ago. I clean my house on Friday so that I can relax and have guests on the weekend. My laundry is usually done on Monday and Thursday. I have gotten out of the habit, but I am working my way back to working out after I drop the kids off at school. We eat dinner at least 5 nights a week together as a family. We watch television as a family on Wednesday nights and just us girls on Thursday nights. I never dust.
Routine, routine, routine.

my favorite

 As I told my daughter yesterday on the way to church, growing up is a process that you never finish until you die. There's a daunting thought. Raising kids, running a household, having a career, all are parts of the never ending journey to being an adult. Being able to be flexible AND plan are signs, I believe, of being on the right path. Having a plan and sticking to it is like packing a suitcase. You put the big thing in first and then you can cram a lot of little things in around it.  My week has certain big things in it that never change, but having a routine helps me add the little things in, such as television, friends, dating, hiking, camping, etc.  And it has the effect of allowing my girls to know what they can count on in a world full of uncertainty such as budding friendships, boys  and Geography Bees.

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