Keeping Routines: Worth Doing Poorly?

I don’t have a great track record keeping routines. I blame myself.

I’ve tried blaming the children, but it doesn’t seem to stick, perhaps because every time I do, this little nagging voice reminds me that I couldn’t keep a routine before I had kids, either. The kids certainly don’t help, but I don’t think they’re entirely at fault.

I think the biggest hindrance to my routine-keeping is my over-planning. I tend to try to schedule every moment, which is impractical but I try it anyway. And of course I fail because my daily life just doesn’t seem conducive to that level of choreography. I’ve found that the routines I keep best are the ones that I just kind of start doing and then suddenly realize I’ve been doing them routinely. So, I decided to build on that theme and try to sneak in a couple of new routines on the backs of existing routines.

Routine #1 is a morning routine. The one thing I’d been fairly consistent about doing is the bathroom “swish and swipe” as recommended by FlyLady. I re-instituted that routine this week, and have been doing fairly well keeping it, despite the help the baby gives me by playing in the toilet while I’m busy wiping down the sink. I make sure I swish the toilet before I swipe the sink. I’ve also started making myself tea and sitting outside to drink it if I wake up before the kids. I started this during September, but I’m making more of a point of letting the dishes sit and the granola wait to be baked and the tofu wait to be marinated until after I’ve had my tea. I don’t get to do it every morning, but it’s nice when I do get to do it.

Routine #2 is an evening routine. So far, this one isn’t working out ideally. The idea is to get the kids to bed by 8:30, then clean up the kitchen, do some quick straightening, journal, read, shower, brush teeth, blog, and go to bed by 10:30. It’s currently 10:15, and I’ve cleaned up the kitchen. Mostly. I’m either not going to finish my routine, or I’m not going to get to bed by 10:30. Or both. I can’t figure out if the problem is not getting the kids to bed on time or planning too many things to do, or something else I’ve not considered yet. I’ve decided to stick with trying to do the routine as I’ve laid it out and using it as an opportunity to let go of perfection when I’m not able to complete the routine as I’d like to. Which is just a long-winded way of saying, “Screw it.”

Routine #3 is a weekly routine. Sundays we hike, plan meals, and go grocery shopping. Mondays and Fridays I work out while the babysitter is here. Tuesdays we hang out with some homeschooling friends. Wednesdays I take out all of the garbages because Thursday is trash day. It’s also homeschool field trip day, and soccer practice day, during which I work out again. Thursdays we have flute lesson. Fridays I clear the trash and non-car items out of the car, I clean out the diaper bag and my wallet, and I vacuum the carpet and furniture and sweep and mop the floors. And we have gymnastics and have been going to the library that day.

I think Friday might be too full.

OK, now I’m overwhelmed just thinking about my routines. So here’s a picture of the granola I made this week when I discovered while decluttering the kitchen that I had all of the ingredients for it. It’s from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair again. Maple Butter Nut Granola. Totally awesome. I put currants in it, too. My husband says I should go into business making and selling granola. I said I’d work on that in my free time.


Maple Butter Nut Granola

Maple Butter Nut Granola from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair



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