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How Routines Will Improve Your Life

If you're living life by the seat of your pants, Mighty Mommy shares 5 reasons routines will bring peace and joy to your home (and instill responsibility into your kids from an early age).

By
Cheryl Butler
Episode #524
Child in messy room.

When people learn that I’m the mother of eight kids (all born within one decade), they either think I’m crazy or they wonder how could I possibly enjoy motherhood with that many kids so close in age.

I’ve been telling the same story now for the past 20 years and it still doesn’t get old. After nearly six years of infertility, we were blessed with a beautiful baby daughter through adoption. Exactly one year to the day later, I gave birth to our first son. The floodgates soon opened and I was the amazed mother of a brood of eight.

The most insane period of parenting I have ever experienced was the summer I had four kids under the age of three. Though I’m a sucker for newborns and was thrilled to have finally beat the infertility odds (with flying colors!) caring for an infant, a 12-month-old, a 2-yea-old, and a 3-year-old practically by myself was something I would never attempt again in this or any other lifetime. I’m a pretty patient and easy-going person by nature, but that summer was simply brutal, and I’ve never forgotten it.

As difficult as that stretch of parenting was for me, there was a silver lining—I learned the importance of creating daily routines. I’d always had routines when I was in college and again when I was a full-time career gal because of the many commitments and responsibilities that I had to meet on a regular basis. During my struggle with infertility, however, I promised myself that once I had the luxury of staying at home with my baby, I would ease up on all the structure in my life and try to relax and enjoy the carefree moments of whatever each day brought my way.

When my daughter was just three months old, I became pregnant through a fertility procedure.  Instead of enjoying those go-with-the-flow days with my new baby that I had longed for, I spent the next few months battling severe morning sickness. So much for relaxing and stepping away from routines—I did neither. Survival was the name of the game so I did whatever it took to care for my daughter and get through the days while I was so sick. Eventually, I finally felt better but then it was time to welcome my second baby and before I knew it, I had four kids in the blink of an eye.

I had waited a very long time to become a mom so I was desperate to figure out how I was going to enjoy it and not lose my mind. It was that crazy summer when I rediscovered the beautiful world of routines—and although it took some work to craft a schedule that worked for my family, once I got into a groove, I promised myself I’d never wing it again.

If you’re living life by the seat of your pants, do yourself and your family a big favor and establish some solid routines. Today, Mighty Mommy shares five reasons routines can ease your daily burdens and bring more joy and peace into your life:

Routines Limit Chaos

Looking back on that summer when I had two babies and two toddlers, I now realize that a major reason for the insanity problem (besides surviving without sleep) was how diorganized I was. I’ll cut myself a little slack due to my circumstances, but if I had even a few daily routines in place, I might’ve eliminated some of my stress.

If you take a moment to evaluate a typical day in your house, you’ll probably pinpoint the most problematic times you face on a regular basis.

For example, because it was summer and it wasn’t dark until later, I didn’t have a regular bedtime for my two toddlers—instead I let them play outside after dinner or let them stay up and watch a video because I thought it would make them more tired. Wrong! An after-dinner ritual of a bath and a bedtime story would’ve been far better for all of us. They would’ve known what to expect on a regular basis and it I could have had a little time to breathe each night.

If you take a moment to evaluate a typical day in your house, you’ll probably pinpoint the most problematic times you face on a regular basis. Do you struggle to get your preschooler out of bed each morning and then scurry him out of the house so he’s not late for school? Do you let your middle school kids do their homework whenever they feel like it (such as in their bedrooms without supervision resulting in incomplete assignments)? Maybe you let your mail pile up for weeks at a time causing you to be late paying bills? One or all of these scenarios can snowball into a chaotic and cranky household.

Figure out what triggers the chaos in your family’s life and then create a routine that will help eliminate it once and for all.   

See Also:  6 Ways to Be a Calmer Parent

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About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!

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