I am a firm believer and advocate of routine for my kids. 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, or buying that last-minute short break away kind of girl. Unfortunately, the reality is that I’m a thirty-something-year-old mom of two little girls, and a teen, and wife of a husband who works long hours. As chief in charge of the family, I need routine in my life so make our family life run on schedule. Their routine is good for me and for my mental health as well as theirs.
Why Do I Need Routine?
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. This can be due to not being prepared with extra clothing, or forgetting to sort the cat out before we go somewhere, or forgetting to fill up the car and seeing that red light come on with no fuel station in sight!
It’s not good.
A lot of the time what also happens if we do something extremely spur of the moment for the kids is that the balk first! They are not fans of surprises (I wonder where they get that from) and so planning and preparation works much better for us.
What Does Our Routine Look Like?
My girls have a pretty firm school routine, and it works for us. Here’s what a rough outline of my weekdays looks like:
Note: This post was written to reflect our routine when we lived in South Africa.
Our Morning Routine
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 trying to wake up, I make their school lunch boxes, juice, get their breakfast sorted and feed the animals.
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?”; “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.
My Routine At Home
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? This is a snapshot of what I do:
- 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.
- Do some blogging, either write a post, or republish and repurpose old posts.
After School Routine
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, or hockey. 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 bedtime (Cue more judgement from the ‘perfect parents’!).
19.05 Youngest is asleep.
Why They Need Routine
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 a disruption to that, there is usually a problem at bedtime 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
- Routine 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)
- Routine helps mommy feel in control and like she’s winning at parenting
- It helps mommy not lose her sh*t
I’d love to know your thoughts – routine: Yay, or Nay.