Rules and Routines
By Cori Kesler
Getting a baby to nap or sleep all night takes a lot of strength. It also requires routine. Every parent knows that when things stay the same it provides a comforting familiarity. When my kids were young, I made my plans around nap-time. Missing the afternoon siesta resulted in meltdowns at dinner that could take hours to tame. I learned quickly not to change the things that worked.
I don't have babies anymore. My kids are 10 and almost 6 but routine still matters... but more for me, than them.
This was a huge revelation because, although the weekly "routine" seemed to be under control, daily activities were not. The worst of it occurred in the morning rush to school - what to wear, eat for breakfast, pack lunch, etc. DVD's were watched while eating and fights broke out when it was time to leave ("just five more minutes!!!") School starts at eight a.m. We were always late.
So I started to institute new rules and routines. Not just for the kids - but for me. Lunches had to be made and packed the night before - likewise for choosing my daughter's outfits. I had to get up earlier and shower before waking them. No electronics in the morning. Ever. No matter what. NO.
The first week was hard. Like you, I'm tired at the end of the day. I've worked, carted kids around, made dinner, gone grocery shopping and any number of other things. But I made myself do the lunches every single night. Upon waking, the relief of having this chore done was significant.
I've listed what I do below. How do you manage? What are your life-saving routines?
Evening Routine (while the kids entertain themselves after dinner and/or after they go to bed)
- choose my daughter's clothes with her
- clear table and clean dinner dishes
- make lunches
- prepare coffee maker
Morning Routine (while the kids sleep *note I sleep downstairs and the rest of the house is upstairs)
- wake at six and go upstairs
- push the button on the coffee maker
- fill my mug with coffee, smile at the filled lunch boxes when I open the fridge to grab the cream, and go back downstairs
- sit down on my bed with my coffee and iPad or laptop and play (ie. Words with Friends, twitter, facebook, etc) and respond to email.
- 7 a.m. I wake the kids and get them dressed
- they're eating breakfast by 7:30 (and I'm finding I have time to make them pancakes if they want)
- and we're out the door by 10 to 8
- (requests to use an "electronics" (tv, computer, iPad, iPhone, Droid, DS) are met with a firm no and a nod to the craft box.)
Cori Kesler is a self-employed single mom of two working in graphic design and social media. Her blog, Embracing the Absurd, recounts the trials and tribulations of separation, divorce, co-parenting, and mid-life dating with a recipe or two thrown in for flavor. She tweets incessantly and transparently @berzerkeley.