Confessions of a Routine-Driven Mom

I have to confess: I let my son’s routine run my life. And do you know why? Because it’s just easier, that’s why. It’s easier because he is easier to manage, making being a parent less tiring. I admit that I am that mom, the mom that lives according to a schedule, the same mundane schedule every day, not the mom that lives from one adventure to the next, child in tow.

Routine makes Bean happy, it keeps him centred, his world balanced and as it should be – or should I rather say as he got used to it being. The minute something in that routine changes or a person with an integral role in his life leaves for a couple of days (for example a parental business trip), I immediately notice little changes in his behaviour, showing me that something simply is not right with my sensitive little guy: he sleeps less, needs to be rocked more and a little longer, he is quieter, he cries easier and more, and he is a lot more demanding.

And let’s be honest, managing a distraught little toddler who does not understand why things change or why people need to leave every now and again, is exhausting! It’s exhausting because it’s sad to see him upset (even if it’s just a little) and it’s infuriating because I cannot really do anything about it. No parent wants an unhappy child, it’s simply not in our nature as caregivers. And so, I stick to his routine, religiously, because when he is happy, I am happy.

I clearly remember a conversation I had with my mom and sister shortly after we found out I was pregnant. Being a naïve non-parent, I was adamant that I would not let this new baby rule my life – if I wanted to go for dinner, for example, he would simply have to come along. Now, all I do is laugh when I think of this. I could not have known how tired I would be all the time: so tired that dinner and socialising (and the mere thought of having to hold a decent conversation after putting all my energy into developing a tiny human all day) would simply seem like too much effort. I could not have known that taking care of a family means giving so much of myself on a daily basis that at night all I can do is just be. I could not have known that keeping my child happy, content and asleep (when he is finally sleeping) would become my number one priority.

Of course, we make the time to explore new places, to socialise with friends and family, but we do this within our routine. And if we cannot fit it into our routine, then we do not do it. And it really is as simple as that.

One day, when Bean is older, when he has a better understanding of what is happening around him, we will be spontaneous and sociable again. But for now, we will stick to a schedule, his schedule, because it simply is easier and it simply is less exhausting.

8 thoughts on “Confessions of a Routine-Driven Mom

  1. Moheni says:

    I totally agree, some toddlers just need a structured routine. It makes them easier happy people to understand. Some kids can handle an unstructured day, just not ours. I love that you give hope at the end of your article, sometimes it feels like we will never be spontaneous again lol you are right in time we will, or until baby #2 comes.

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  2. Wendy says:

    The routine does ease up a bit as they get older. I’m seeing it now with Dan. We can push nap out a little and push bedtime out a little and he survives. Although with number 2 almost here I’m about to get right back into it! But the routine and structure works. It’s exactly what these little kids need to make sense of their ever changing and developing little world’s!

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  3. Groggy French says:

    I am so glad to see when a Bean visited his uncle in die Klein Karoo he has a few sips (for the first time) of beer. Routine or not he wanted more and had a good sleep on the way back home. Can’t wait to have a few beers with Been in 12yrs time and by then hopefully he will also enjoy a glass of red wine.

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  4. Loftspeaker1 says:

    I raised my children by sticking to schedules. It made my life so much easier. My first two children were only 1.5 years apart so I made sure that my 2nd one followed the same schedule as my 1st. It helped keep me organized and allowed me to actually get some small things done. I also would put them to bed at 7 every night so that my husband and I could have some time to catch up and spend time with one another.
    I still have a routine with my third child who is now 3 but I’ve become more flexible.

    Liked by 1 person

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