I recently came across a blog that asked moms who stayed at home what their daily routine was like.
Several moms responded, and some of them were apparently quite eager to share how they had their days organized. Each hour was accounted for by a specific task or activity relating to their home or children. Some moms even had their days organized into thirty minute increments, and most seemed pretty proud of their routine.
I had a routine once. It was when I had our first child. Even then, I didn't have time for everything, but at least I had a time of the day for everything. Laundry? After breakfast. Dishes? After laundry. Daily walk to ensure that she got enough fresh air, exposure to nature, and visual stimulation? After dishes. Playtime with age appropriate toys to stimulate brain development, while playing classical music in the background to ensure her future admittance to Julliard? After walk.
I even had a specific day for cleaning, and a specific day for grocery shopping. I'm not saying those things actually got done on those days. In fact, I'm not saying they always got done at all. But the point is, I had a day.
Then I had a second child. The daily schedule pretty much went out the window. I tried to hold onto the weekly one, though. If I could plan to make it to the grocery store on Thursdays, and at least partially clean most of the house on Fridays, nothing could get too out of control.
I think that lasted until the baby was three.
Then, two years later, I had our third child.
Good-bye any semblance of a schedule.
Hello complete and utter chaos.
I'm sure there are moms of three, four, and probably eight children who manage to stick to a schedule when it comes to things like cooking, and cleaning, and shopping.
I just don't happen to be one of them.
Of course, I don't need a specific day of the week to go to the grocery store, since I'm there almost every day anyway. And I no longer worry that someone isn't getting enough stimulation because, beginning with my two and four year old's high pitched screams at 7 am, we all spend most of our days quite stimulated.
And I definitely don't need a day of the week to clean my house because, well, it wouldn't get cleaned that day anyway.
That's not to say, however, that I don't have any kind of a schedule. Some things, in fact, are quite regimented and predictable at our house.
For example, most days between eight twenty-five and eight forty-five, I repeatedly tell the small people in my house to find their shoes. And put them on. And get in the car. NOW. And then I can usually be heard asking why this has to be so.incredibly.difficult.every.single.day.
Then, almost every morning between nine and ten, I can be found scraping peanut butter off the floors, walls, and the bottom of my shoes, as I reheat my coffee for the third time while simultaneously telling my two year old to get his hands out of the jelly/butter/mayonnaise.
Between ten and twelve, we have language arts. This is what it's called when your four year old teaches your two year old creative language, like "Stinky Butt", and "Poopy Head".
It really is an art.
Usually by around one, we're all ready for them to have some quiet time in their room. I do feed them lunch first. Assuming that I managed to salvage some of the peanut butter from the bottom of my shoe.
I'd like to tell you that the next couple hours are taken up by nap time, giving me a chance to get caught up on laundry and dishes. In fact, we do actually call this period "nap time", but that's probably somewhat misleading, since "nap time" implies that someone is actually napping.
Instead of emptying the clothes out of their dresser drawers, and seeing who can get a pair of pants to land on the ceiling fan first.
Or coloring their mini blinds crayola orange.
To match the walls they colored during yesterday's "nap time".
Or seeing who can shake the crib hard enough to make the screws fall out.
Eventually, all of this activity tires them out, and they do fall asleep.
Usually about twenty minutes before we have to leave to pick up their sister at school.
After we all get home again, I try to get us back on schedule. So at around four, as I start to attempt to make something for dinner that doesn't involve peanut butter, we play the counting game.
The counting game can be played several different ways, but it generally consists of me counting how many times someone screams that their brother or sister hit them, and then counting to three before sending someone to their room.
Then I count to ten, repeatedly, before I send myself to my room.
Later, after dinner, and baths, and bed times stories--all of which are very important to a child's daily routine--I sit down and plan the next day's schedule (after all, good planning is key to staying on any kind of routine):
8:00 AM Call Nanny Agency
9:00 AM Call Travel Agency
10:00 AM Book Hotel Room in Tropical Destination.
Preferably one that serves pina coladas instead of peanut butter.
And where the days aren't scheduled.