Updated: Nov 8, 2019
Just like the stories you read your children , which are adaptations from the original so is the story of you and your child and family life. It's an adaptation from the original and from the fantasy that you thought it would be. We all had thoughts on how we wanted it go or thought in my case it would go based on prior experiences. We all had to shift and move and adapt to how it is and will be and how we want it to be. What I am so vaguely talking about is that hush hush word ROUTINE ....
It's screamed at you from books on babies, mentioned in passing by older generations of mothers who did it one way or another and spoken of in hushed tones at breast feeding and playgroups. It's a scary word for mums, it signifies pressure and expectations , failure and fault. It sucks. But Im here to tell you that you are looking at it all wrong. Routine is a good thing. But just like the stories above we recite over and over and insert your Childs name instead of the hero or the
main character , it needs to be adapted for your family.
Routine is something that you do, you fall back on and can be helpful instead of regimented. Ill give you an example that was asked of me the other day by a still practising nanny not a 'other lifer" like myself. She asked when does my wee one sleep. I said when she can, as my days are different every week and classes at all times all over the shot. So we pop her sleeps in here and there depending on the day and the place and the mode of transport we have. I lamented that when I was the nanny, sleeps were the same every day for the stage they were in
( when small every couple of hours to twice a day, am and pm ,to one big sleep after lunch ) and that as a mum now that went out the window. I realised two things , one in London classes were available every day and every time so you couple pick and choose to suit you , we don't have that here. Two , classes playdates were local so you could walk to them ( sense the stroller nap ) Ive found I have to drive to places here ( hence the car seat nap ) so I could essentially schedule her class around her nap times. Here I have to work with what I have got, so she sleeps some days in car, in stroller, in house, and some days a mixture of all three. She sleeps two hours after waking and sometimes four. She'll have a long sleep and a cat nap in any of the above 'beds' or two good sleeps or a few 45 mins here and there. But as I looked over our week , I saw my schedule had a pattern and that her routine was a weekly one , not a daily one. I had adapted to my life, to her new life, I had changed the script !
We had fallen in to a schedule , an expectation of the days by accident. And it worked for us. You need to sit back , in that rare moment of peace and mentally run through your week , and see that there is a pattern to the madness and that's your routine and that's ok and works for you. And most importantly works for your child. They need that same even if it weekly verses daily / hourly. They need to know whats coming next. So if you keep somethings the same, like their sleeping accompaniments, ( for her it s a dummy, and a muslin and music sheep if in cot ) and some routine to their week , like classes or a regular playdate they know the rhythm of family life and are happy. It's what you fall back on when you need to , like coming home from holiday or a mad day , you know its something o'clock , ok they need to have a sleep around this time (ish ) Your mum brain knows what to do even if you are mainlining coffee to get through the day. Your routine can be a comfort for all involved.
And most importantly , if your routine isn't working for you change it , there is no judgements amongst mums trust me, no set rules ! Flip the script ( into the bin if needed and start again ) We are all in this together, so if they need to sleep here or there or at this time not that one , let them. If you’re doing something that was easier but not working for you now, like taking them in to your bed, don't. Stop. Reassess and change tact. It will take a few weeks to learn the new rhythm but children adapt ( and quicker than we think ) Routine is about adaptation to your surroundings . Finding what works and doesn't work for you , it is trail and error sometimes. This is especially prevalent in the introduction of siblings as routines suddenly get changed again. But again work it for you and to you. It's funny, I wasn't sure how childminding with other children younger and older would be on my wee one. She loves it, her sleeping and the others is great and all involved are unfazed Its me who is over thinking this. So make the chapter your own , take out bits re write bits and don't justify it to anyone especially yourself. It's your routine, Own it xx !
Like I touched on above this is your story , their story. It's not the same each family , each child. Its based off one you heard somewhere and pulled in this bit and that bit from others stories and made your own version. It's always changing, new threads, characters and plot twists occur! Sometimes it's great and others is scary but just as a storybook it moves on and that chapters finish. New adventures begin. The pages ahead are blank with maybe a few pencil notes that can be put in marker or rubbed out completely. So don't panic at the word and connotations of routine and schedule. See them as a guide to finding what is best for you and you child.