It's All in the Routine

Let me talk to you about ROUTINES for a minute. Because my whole world has been totally EFFED because of routines in the last couple of weeks.

First and foremost, I never realized how important routines were until I had kids. And when I say kids, I mean routine-driven beasts who can't get it together if their routine is disrupted in the slightest of ways. And when I say in the slightest of ways, I mean if even a MINUTE of their daily routine is disturbed. Like if we are a MINUTE late putting them to bed == ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE IN THE GROFF HOUSEHOLD.

Allow me to explain. My kids went directly into the NICU at birth. And those NICU nurses are like kind and gentle drill sergeants. Feed - Eat - Diaper - Bath - Sleep - Kangaroo Time - Rinse & Repeat. On the hour. To the minute. Which was great for me when I brought home my 4 pound babies because I had a whole schedule to follow. I just did what the nurses had so sweetly written down on a piece of paper for me at the times that it said to do it. And I didn't deviate for fear that I might break one. 

Today, Jane and Emma are 4 years old, and if you do ANYTHING that doesn't fit into their routine, it's on like Donkey Kong up in this piece. Jane has been crying for 5 weeks now - FIVE WEEKS - at nap time every single day no matter where she is. And now she's also taken up crying at bed time. And if you threaten to take away her bedtime story (part of her routine at bedtime), you'd better run and hide. I'm not kidding. Her head spins around and she full on SPAZZES OUT. But I don't wonder why. Homegirl needs her routine, and when we went back to work after 2 months at home, she lost her shit. I get it. And here's why I understand it.

On Friday of last week, I disrupted my OWN well-scripted routine. When my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m., I turned it off and got back into bed "for 5 minutes". Until I heard Hershey's alarm going off and it was 5:35 a.m. I missed my morning tooth brushing, journaling, meditation, schedule review, lunch packing, working out routine. Instead of water I went straight for coffee. And I proceeded to stand and stare at the TV for about 15 minutes. And then it all fell apart.

I was running late so I skipped packing lunch. Hershey and I decided to buy lunch, instead. Then I walked into the side of my dresser, tripped over the end of the bed, and threw my remote control across the room. I should have phoned it in right then and there, but I decided to give the day the old college try anyway. On the car ride to school, I stuck my tongue out while biting my apple and almost bit the end of my tongue off. I spent the entire morning in a daze, with my students looking at me like I had 19 heads because I could NOT get my act together. I eventually stopped speaking all together in one class and just wrote notes on the board and pointed.

Those initial moments sent my entire routine into a downward spiral, and I made questionable choices about food and plans for the rest of the weekend. I got nothing done (literally, my book bag just came home with me to visit my house this weekend, because I didn't open it once), and felt bad about it all day Sunday, but couldn't move to make it better. 

Routines give our days a certain ebb and flow. They make our days peaceful. Like toddlers, we are comforted when we know what to expect next. And the best way to implement a routine is by just starting. Once your intentions BECOME routine, you won't even have to think twice about it. The only downfall is that when you skip it, you will miss it. You will yearn for it. You will NEED it. But I don't think that's such a bad thing. As long as you make it yours.