I remember friends and family asking, when both of my girls were only a few months old, if we had a schedule yet. Someone would call up and suggest visiting, then ask if that would disturb my mommy routines. Or they’d want to know what time the baby napped so they could come another time. My response was usually that we didn’t have a schedule—other than the girls eating or sleeping as they needed.
Developing Mommy Routines
When we moved to northern Alberta, Sunshine was about six months old. As my husband and I fell into routines around his job and the things we had to do, Sunshine also found a routine. She woke up around 8 am when we did and went to bed around 8 pm. She normally napped for about three hours mid-day, and I wrote during that time. I liked having a mommy routine, a rhythm to our days.
Then we moved again, and I went back to work, and our schedules became unpredictable.
This fall, as we settled into school, I looked forward to getting into a routine again. Lily is a bit older, a bit more ready to have a rhythm to her days. And some days, we have that rhythm. Again, they wake us up around 8 am and go to bed around 8 pm. Sunshine doesn’t usually nap now, and Lily might nap at 11 am… or at 12… for an hour or for three. Sometimes I remember Sunshine’s consistent, steady nap and wonder what I’m doing wrong with Lily. Then I remind myself that she’s a different child, with a different personality and different ways of doing things.
Why I Like Mommy Routines
I like knowing what’s coming up, being able to prepare for things and expect them. I know that Mondays and Thursdays are school days, Tuesday is play group, Friday is swimming.
Yet I am also learning to change plans, to accept that some days the nap happens and other days it doesn’t, to work with my husband’s changing schedules (and to make sure we talk about it).
I need to be flexible to my girls’ needs and to be ready to adjust the routine if it doesn’t help them. Instead of watching the clock, I watch Lily for yawns and eye-rubs. Those signs, instead of the clock, tell me it is nap time.
What Works for my Family
Sometimes, I compare myself to other moms. The mom I babysat for during high school had snacks and meals carefully planned for her children. I tell myself that this week, I will make sure Sunshine gets a snack at 10 am and 3 pm and eats a decent lunch, and that I won’t let Lily wake up early from her nap or go to sleep early. Yet that only stresses me out, especially if Sunshine isn’t hungry or Lily isn’t tired. One day this week, Sunshine napped longer than Lily.
So instead of comparing myself to other moms, I recognize that, like me, they are doing what works for their family.
I love this perspective! It is so good to realize that sometimes your routine might be unique to only you……but if it works, then it’s what you need to be doing!
Jenny – thanks for dropping by. I agree that flexibility is a good thing when parenting. Sometimes we can learn from other parents and sometimes we just need to figure out what works for ourselves. 🙂
I too have tried to do what looks good in other homes only to have it fail in my own. I think an important of of day, much less life is to have at keast a general idea of what needs to be accomplished, then be flexble when necessary.
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Accidental Poet – just when you think you know what to do because you had one kid, the second kid does their own thing. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement.
My second one did not have a routine either. Amy scheduled herself easily – even had a half hour nap right around supper-making time for several months, but B was different. Letting them pay attention to their own rhythms IS good parenting, Bonnie.