I am a firm believer and advocate of routine.
In my mind I’m still a free bird aged somewhere around 22, who is up for a party at short notice; after work drinks that turn into a full on weeknight bender; buying that last minute short break away; jump in the car and head to a neighbouring country for the weekend kind of girl.
Unfortunately, the reality is that I’m a thirty something year old mom of two little girls, with no babysitters in sight.
I can’t remember the last time I made a last minute, spur of the moment decision that did not end up causing me some kind of real physical or emotional pain.
My girls have a pretty firm routine, and it works for us. Here’s what a rough outline of my week days looks like:
05.45 My alarm goes off, I get up, shower and make my bed, put the kettle on, feed the cats.
06.00 Get the girls up, give them a biscuit and turn the TV on for them (judge me all you like – it works for us). Whilst they are busy waking up, I make their school lunch boxes, juice, get their breakfast sorted and feed the birds.
06.30 Make sure the girls have actually eaten and we all yell at each other for about half an hour: “Get dressed, no not that, it’s 30 degrees outside you don’t need a coat!”; “Come here so I can brush your hair please?”; “No mom, I said two ponies in my hair!” – redo the hairstyle; “Did you brush your teeth?”;”Please get your shoes on?”; “No, I don’t know where those ones from last year are just pick any pair, it really doesn’t matter!”; – by which stage my blood pressure is usually quite high! Pretty standard stuff.
07.15 In the car, on the way to school. Cue a fight about what song we are going to listen to, I have no idea why there is a fight because it’s the same song every. single. day! – Justin Timberlake (Can’t Stop The Feeling) – no arguments from me.
After I get back home my morning progresses in a fairly chilled manner until it’s time to fetch them around 12.30.
Oh who am I kidding? I do the laundry, tidy the house, run at least two errands per day on behalf of my husband, make sure the groceries are sorted and his new eating plan requirements are all available. I also try get in at least one blog post a day too, and mornings are the best time for that. I’ve been a bit slack recently but I also try do at least an hour of studying during the mornings for my TESOL course.
12.30 Fetch the girls from school and head home. We usually get at least two hours of chill time before the afternoon activities start and then it’s either swimming lessons, or dance lessons. There is something almost every day.
17.00 I start preparing dinner.
18.00 Daddy is home! Yay! We eat shortly after.
18.30 Bath the girls.
19.00 TV until bed time (Cue more judgement from the ‘perfect parents’!).
19.05 Youngest is asleep.
I find that if there is any alteration to this routine, it usually results in major drama from the girls. Something as small as me having to haul them with me to run an afternoon errand can result in a minor breakdown and lots of yelling. Major alterations in the routine such as an evening parent/teacher meeting at school can result in full scale meltdowns and overtired kids.
Maybe it’s their age, they are still little, but the evening routine is definitely the most important. If there is disruption to that, there is usually a problem at bed time where one, if not both girls, don’t want to sleep, aren’t tired, or they get up 50 billion times, and then mommy has to drink even more wine!
My girls definitely thrive on routine. Without it, I’d be quite lost too.
Here are my top 5 reasons for routine:
- It creates boundaries so they know what is expected of them
- It makes them feel safe and secure so they don’t lose their sh*t
- It makes bedtime manageable so no one has to cry (including mommy)
- It helps mommy feel in control and like she’s winning at parenting
- It helps mommy not lose her sh*t
The cartoon in the featured image is from Everyday People Cartoons, by Cathy Thorne.
I’d love to know your thoughts – routine: Yay, or Nay.