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.

The Moments that take my Breath Away

Last week I wrote a post about the bad days I experience as a mom (read it here), and in it I mentioned that no matter how hard a specific bad day is, the good days always outweigh the bad ones. Today I want to focus on the really good moments of being a mom: the moments which take my breath away, the moments of happiness and pride, the moments when my heart is so full I do not know what to do with all this love, the moments of pure gratitude and the moments which highlight the importance of my role as a mom.

It is these moments which lead to days when, after I put Bean down to sleep, all I want to do is wake him back up again so that I can see his smile one more time before I go to bed. Days which are filled with little achievements and simple joys which overshadow the big moments I previously thought so important. Days when I forget about all the things that need to get done and become a child again – our joint laughter filling the house with life and love.

Here is my collection of heart-warming moments:

  • When Bean grabs my hand as he falls asleep, holding it tightly against his chest.
  • When I try put him down and he wraps his little legs around my waist like a monkey, refusing to be let go.
  • When he crawls into my lap for a cuddle.
  • When he calls me simply to smile at me.
  • When I pick him up and he rests his head on my shoulder, his hands enveloping my neck.
  • When he spontaneously decides to give me a kiss.
  • When pride emanates out of his face like a ray of sunshine when he shows off a new skill
  • When he hears the garage door open and excitedly whispers, ‘Daddy?’, his eyes alive with excitement and hope.
  • When he makes up his own words like ‘meam’, a combination of ‘mess’ and ‘clean’.
  • When he runs instead of walking, a cloud of happiness and wonder surrounding his entire being.
  • When he gets down on his haunches before he runs off as if to say, ‘ready or not, I am coming!’
  • When he says, ‘bye’ with an excited little wave to whomever it is we happen to pass, without any judgement or preconceived ideas about who that person might be.
  • When he goes up to children he has never met before and gives them a big kiss.

To me these moments epitomise the beauty of childhood, of a unique character developing and the special bond between parent and child.

If you are having a bad day, dear reader, I encourage you to make a list just like mine. Not only will it make you realise how blessed you are to be a parent, it will immortalise these moments which we tend to forget all too easily.