A strong routine keeps this Mom collected and cool headed. Routines sounded like such a nuisance before I had kids. I didn’t value them until I returned to work from maternity leave after I had our little first baby. But then an unexpected thing happened, I realized that if my husband & I followed the exact same routine of our little girl’s daycare, our weekends became a little less stressful.
Three years and one more toddler later, we are still holding tight to that same routine. And gosh, it’s sometimes really hard. We have to plan our day around lunch times, nap, and bedtime. It can be difficult to finish lunch and have the kids napping by noon. But you know what is great? Knowing that my husband & I will have two hours of time to get lots of things accomplished around the house. Seriously, the productivity in that time is fantastic!
After naptime, we are all refreshed. If the morning was stressful or included a few tantrums, the long nap gives us all a chance to cool down. Even if the time after nap, but before dinner is stressful, we always know that bedtime is nearby. There is something about knowing what is coming next that leaves me is feeling calmer.
The kids go to bed at the same time every night regardless if it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday. Therefore they wake up the same time every morning. No sleeping in over here! Sure we’ve missed a few social events that start later in the evenings, but the kids aren’t asking to go yet and we aren’t forcing them to stay up later when we know that they will be over tired. And an overtired child of ours makes all four of us super stressed.
We know that the kids really need to eat before 5:30 pm in order to make it to their bedtime. Does being home every night before 7pm become a little boring? Absolutely. Yet, that doesn’t stop my husband & me from going out on a Saturday and asking the kids’ favorite babysitter to step in for the rest of the night. And it’s not really the rest of the night…sadly its only 2-3 hours for this over worked and sometimes exhausted date night seeking couple.
What does a routine stop? It stops unpredictability in our children’s lives. Every day they know that a nap happens immediately after eating lunch. There isn’t a fight or temper tantrum. It’s just what is simply next for the day’s activities. If we are away from home for the day and we have to skip the nap, we try to slip away and drive somewhere (usually involves a coffee drive-thru) so we can get a solid 30 minutes of rest. Every minute of nap counts with our kids.
Is a routine boring? Absolutely. But for this Mom, she knows that everyone will be content and satisfied by 7 pm. And that always makes me feel calm.