Review Your Routine
If there’s any quote I use on a regular basis about motherhood, it’s “Being a mom is like babysitting, only the parents never come home.”
Don’t we all remember that first moment when we were home alone with our newborn and we wondered if we were up to the task?
But after awhile, we develop our maternal rhythm and routine.
And then that very routine gets in our way. The daily wear and tear of raising kids accumulates into a pile of years we can barely remember.
We’re overwhelmed and anxious, guilt-ridden and stressed, all the time. The mom life we wanted, craved, dreamed of, or even just thought we were supposed to want, is a day-after-day existence. We’re certainly not living out our motherhood genius.
Wherever you are in your mom life, taking a look at these patterns can help you tweak your hours and days to create weeks and months that you enjoy more. If you’re struggling with your motherhood experience, taking a look at how you’re spending your time can help you rethink how you want to restructure your life and parenting to create a world where you and your children create more meaning and have more fun together.
And you can enjoy being a mom.
We can’t slow down time, but we can take steps to be more present each day, week, month and year. Only by paying real attention to how we are using our time and consciously deciding how to make the most of it do we ensure life doesn’t go by unlived.
We could delve deeply into each of these blocks of time (and I hope to in the future). But for now, let’s get a grasp of our routines and determine how we are using (of not using) this life with our children, and ourselves.
Do you enjoy every waking moment with your child? I don’t and never did.
If you do, and I mean if you really do, then I’m very happy for you. If you don’t, and I’m betting that’s a lot of you, what part of your day drags you down?
When I stayed at home with my older girls, I could figure out how to get us through the mornings and to lunch time. But that stretch of the afternoon seemed to go on forever. (Make this phrase more expressive).
Maybe you’re not a morning person, but your kids wake up early and ready to go long before you are. And we all know about that “witching hour” which should be called the “witching two hour stretch that threatens the health and well being of us all.”
Whatever part of your day is the toughest, whatever routine you’re in that makes your days dreary, consider arranging your schedule with that in mind. And, like the same ideas my post Brainstorming Before the Storm, prepare yourself ahead of time.
There are posts upon posts on my “to write” list to help us tackle our daily routine. But this time, I just want you to get an overview of the big picture, so jot a few notes about your daily routine on the worksheet and then let’s move on.
Do your Mondays blend into Thursdays and then suddenly it’s the weekend? Do your weeks have a pattern or do you find them slipping past, one into another. And each Sunday evening, you swear you’re going to be more productive on Monday.
And each Monday, you swear you’ll enjoy the next weekend. (For tips on enjoying your weekends, download my guide How to Enjoy Sunday Evenings).
Your weeks are simply seven days. It’s how you structure and use them that makes your week “a good one” or not. Weeks are also a small enough period of time that it’s easy to give up on them by Tuesday and look toward the next one.
But we need to find a way to make those blocks count, so use the worksheet to evaluate how your parenting routine impacts your weekly schedule and how you can make the precious 52 of these weeks you get each year more impactful.
How many times have you said, “Where did this month go?” Or other times it’s “Where did summer go?”
Months have a way of passing us by and we need to look at the seasonal patterns we have for parenting. From the more relaxed summer to the busy holidays, each season brings us something special to enjoy and if we’re not careful, we miss those things each time they come around. (Don’t even ask me how many times I’ve sworn we’re going to the local sunflower farm in the fall).
What are the things you want to do on a monthly or seasonal basis? What are the things you have to do? Are there monthly appointments? Paydays you have to budget around?
Whatever it is that affects your monthly schedule, write it out and see how you can make these twelve blocks of time count for more.
Put twelve of those months together and there went your year. Put 18 of those years in a row and there goes your child.
We see and say it every graduation season - “How did it happen so fast?” Whether it’s a preschool graduation or high school, we wonder how our children grew up so quickly.
A way to understand what’s happening to your years is by paying attention to the smaller chunks of time and make these bigger blocks more meaningful.
It’s these years that form a lifetime of being a mom and when you’re struggling with motherhood, you’re struggling with your life. You owe it to yourself to find a way to enjoy this experience, even if you wonder sometimes how that’s possible.
It’s this self-reflection work that will help you determine how you will look back on your days with your kids when they’re small. Spend the time now thinking so you can move forward toward what you want your motherhood experience to look like.
No matter what we’re doing in life, it’s made up of time.
And by knowing where our time is going, we can evaluate whether we’re spending our lives in the way we want. And we can make sure our days with our children are more satisfying and filled with memories we’ll carry long after our children no longer need babysitters.