Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Great Debate: Schedules vs. Routines

I am notorious for being a creature of habit. I love routines and thrive off of knowing what is coming next. I delight in plotting how to best execute upcoming tasks. I often refer to my brain as the 'New York Stock Exchange' in that it is constantly changing, reshuffling and reorganizing to be as effective as possible.

Over the ten years I have been a classroom teacher I have found that my students also seem to thrive under routines and knowing what is expected of them.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that I would also run my home and apply these skills to my own litter of babies.

While some of you may be thinking, "booorrrinnnngg", I am curious do you have a morning routine? Do you wake up, stumble to the coffee maker and then start getting ready for work? What were to happen if said coffee maker was missing? Would you start throwing coffee cups against the wall? Perhaps not, but I have an inclining your entire day would be slightly...off.  So, while you may not be one to embrace a routine that consumes your entire day, I hope you can at least see where I am coming from.

One debatable topic I have come across in the mommy-hood world is the whole schedule vs routine. Let me clear that up.....

Now any of you Thriving Mommies out there know that it is absolutely unrealistic to "schedule" a baby. It would be rather sick to deny a newborn a feeding simply because they just ate an hour ago and that wasn't in the "schedule". So, while those first months are a blur of boob and bottles, there are still ways to introduce routines. 

My intense desire for routine was very necessary when I had the twins. From the moment they were born I got them in the habit of always eating together...even if it meant waking one up to offer more milk. I never wandered from my commitment and sure enough they were the most perfect eating/sleeping little angels a mommy could have ever asked for.  We had daily routines of eating/sleeping/playing..eating/sleeping/going on a walk...eating/sleeping/going on an outing.  Seeing a pattern?

Once they got a older, I was able to start using times to mark parts of our routines (everything revolved around their napping times) and apply intervals to our menu of activities. This becomes even easier as your kids get older and have a predictable wake up/go to bed time to play off of. 

I personally believe, they, like my students, appreciate the predictability of their day. They know what to do and when to do it. They understand they don't leave a room until it is cleaned up and run to their seats at the table when it is time for them to eat (which seems like it is 100x/day). I truly feel this is why they are such great sleepers (going 10-12 hours/night), eaters and are the happiest little guys I know.

They love their morning "movie" time where mommy cleans up and gets ready to start the day!
While I do understand the need to be flexible, it wasn't easy for me at first. But I will say,  I have gotten a lot better as they have gotten older. When they were teeny-tiny I felt so much guilt messing up their day over something. I was riddled with anxiety that we were headed for a slippery slope of fussiness. These days while I still try to plan events around when their daily nap, I have learned to embrace the excitement of "going with the flow". Whether a road trip to see family or the fun of a quick trip to LegoLand, I these random days are not the end of the world and they will be juuuuuuust fine.

So what do you think? Are you a routine lovin' mommy or you prefer to just see where the day takes you?

Either way, stay tuned next week when I share our daily routine and our go-to menu of activities. 

Strive to thrive, 

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