As moms it's easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of life. Become a slave to the routine and completely and totally forget to incorporate ourselves into the life we often live for our children. Having a day that runs smoothly brings us joy, but it can also mean sacrificing parts of our days that are crucial to stay connected to US as PEOPLE. Outside of "Mommy" and "Wife" but as individuals too. A daily family routine is crucial for survival but it can be more than that too...if we consider OUR needs and desires then it can allow us to not just survive the day but also thrive within it.
Create a Start Time that Suits YOU
When you create a start time for your family make sure you have it late enough to allow yourself your own, earlier, start time. For example, our school bus picks up at 6:45. I knew if we did the bus for the mornings that it would mean my kids would have to be up by 6:15-6:30 which would put me getting up a solid 25-30 min earlier than that. No thanks. Instead we drive our son in the mornings which allows us all to sleep later. Rather than hopping on the bus at 6:45, our kids are waking up to start the day at 6:45 and I'm able to get up at 6:20 with plenty of time to get myself ready before they wake up.
I have found that I MUST get up earlier than my children. It's not optional for me. It's a MUST. My entire day runs smoother when I allow myself a solid 20 min or so to get ready. I am a get ready everyday type person. I like to be put together. I like to have my hair fixed and I like to wear makeup. Giving myself that time to get ready for the day allows me to feel like my best self throughout the day! Things tend to all run smoother when I feel good about ME!
Know Your Limits
I know I am a high-stress person. I know if there is too much on my plate then I struggle. I can get snappy and stressed and I know I have to be careful how much I take on. I know my limits. And I'm mindful of this when creating a routine for my family. I know I have to be careful not to fill each day with too many things. I'm careful of the commitments I make. Of what I volunteer to do. Of what I'm personally involved in. And I'm mindful to prioritize what is most important in each day. For example, our Wednesdays are crazy. We have church and my middle child had gymnastics. I know that if my husband isn't off from work early enough to help with the day, that dinner is just not possible. We use Wednesday as our eat out night to allow the day to flow more smoothly for ME which then also benefits everyone!
Just Say NO
It's okay to say no. When faced with a decision, think through your priorities and a top priority is "how will this affect the family routine?" If it will cause more stress on my plate or cause that routine to be thrown all out of whack, then I simply say no. I am not a room mom. I do not volunteer in my kids classrooms. I know that having multiple children at different schools means they have functions that may overlap. One of my BIG priorities as a mom is to attend as many of my children's functions as possible. It's not just important to them, but it's something I value and cherish. And I'm careful not to make any commitments that could cause me to have to miss out on such functions. I look at our routine as a whole and am mindful to say no when things are what's best for us all. My husbands job is one where he doesn't have a set schedule so that can mean I'm holding down the fort solo and I don't want to overcommit myself to other things when my family may need me first.
It's also okay to say no to children commitments. Just as I am careful about what I commit myself to, I'm mindful at how things my children are involved in will also affect our day to day family routine. When my daughter wanted to sign up for gymnastics we looked at the available class times and factored in OUR family routine. Which class time best worked for OUR family unit? My son came home with info about a camp for this summer. He was interested in it and we discussed looking into it. But we realized the camp was the same week as our VBS at church. We knew it'd already be a crazy week. Late nights. Busy-ness. And having him in a camp that would mess up nap times for the younger kids when they'd already be up late for VBS? Not in the best interest of our overall family. It's okay to say no. Other opportunities will come along and as a family we feel VBS is more important than the camp he was considering.
Have Time for YOU
It's important in the day to day routine to have time for yourself. NOT just the 20 or so minutes it takes you to get ready each morning. But additional time. Time for things YOU enjoy doing. When I look at my entire day I am mindful to have time for JUST myself. That doesn't include one on one time with my husband, it's just time for ME. Nap time is time I cherish to do the things I enjoy. In the summers it may meaning reading a book by the pool. Other times it means blogging or even just napping myself! Even when all the kids are home during school breaks I am mindful to give the older ones activities to do that allow me that precious time. It is a great way to recharge for the rest of the day and to allow myself to stay connected to ME.
It is also important in the overall routine of life to make larger chunks of time for yourself. I read somewhere that the goal should be 4 hours together time a week as husband and wife and then 4 hours each of completely solo time. I think that's a wonderful goal! My husband goes golfing typically once a week that that is his 4 hours. I have to make sure I put aside time for MY 4 hours too. It's easy to see the weeks pass by and realize I have yet to have a girl's night or a movie night or a pedicure. It's easy to get caught up in everything my family needs from me that I drop the ball on taking that time for MYSELF! And y'all that time is important and valuable and you are deserving of it! Figure out what you enjoy most and make time for it!!!
Don't Shoulder it ALL
Often times us mamas think we have to do everything. We either like to be in control and don't trust others to help out or we feel it's our duty as moms to handle everything and that asking for help is wrong in some way. Neither of these are good ways to be! First of all, we need to relinquish some of that control. Let your kids put away the dishes. Let your husband handle bath time. Sure, they may not do things the exact way you would do them. But by allowing others to step up and help out more, it allows YOU to take some things off your overflowing plate.
It's also not our duty to "do it all." You know the saying "it takes a village?" Well that village is not a one woman show. It's a community. And maybe that community is just your husband and you as a team. Maybe it's extended family. Maybe it's neighbors or friends. It's OKAY to ask for help. You don't know how much it may mean to others to be able to help. Or how you could also in turn help them by allowing them into your inner circle.
Talk with your husband. Talk with your kids. Talk with your friends and family. Incorporate their help into your daily routine. Having the kids step up and do more frees up your time so you can be doing other things (and if the "other things" means RELAXING with a book then go for it!) and it also benefits them to allow them to learn responsibility and independence. Having your husband be more hands on will allow him to appreciate what you do more on a daily basis, deepen his relationships with his children AND earn him some brownie points with you too :) Allowing Grandma to attend soccer one night a week allows her to feel needed and allows your child to have special quality time with her as well. We don't have to do it all!
It's important to self evaluate. Not only should you take notice if your family routine is causing issues with your children (Too much time in the car messing up little one's nap? Too much eating out causing an unhealthy balance? Too much free time causing behavioral issues? Too many late nights causing sleep problems?) it's important to see if your routine is causing you any issues as well. Maybe you're putting off housework until after the kids are in the bed and it's causing you not to be able to spend quality time with your husband. Maybe you are spending too much time in the kitchen meal prepping and should start using the crock pot more often. Maybe you're going to bed too late and causing yourself to be exhausted by noon each day. Maybe you need to wake up earlier to avoid the morning rush.
Self evaluation is so crucial. We have to remember that our routines are in place to benefit our lives, not take away from them. It's easy to get stuck in a routine and not even realize that it could be tweaked to better suit our needs and the needs of our family. Make changes when needed, sometimes a simple fix can be all it takes for a smoother day!
As moms we are often accused of putting everyone else's needs before our own. While it's important to consider the needs of our husband and children when creating a family routine, it's also important to remember ourselves too. Our needs matter. They are important. And our happiness creates a happier tone for the entire family!
How do you make sure your needs are met within your family routine?
Today is our Babywise Friendly Blog Network Pinterest Day and we're all talking about ROUTINES:
- Twinning Babywise: How Routines Allow Us to Start of the Day on the RIGHT Side of the Bed
- Team Cartwright: Bedtime Routines: The 4Core Parts You Need for Success
- Mama's Organized Chaos: How You Can Use Routines Without Schedules
- Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: The Key Ingredient to Starting a Routine