A blogger I admire, Sara Janssens, asks about the rhythm of her readers’ days. (Disclaimer for all involved–she is very strongly Christian and would almost certainly feel uncomfortable reading some of what I write about. Nevertheless I find her engaging, inspiring, and worthy of respect.)
I feel like I am bad at creating routine. Our days are very unpredictable. The most consistent part of our life is that I do a load of laundry (most often diapers), wash dishes, and Noah makes breakfast just about every day. I think those are the only things I can depend on happening. And sometimes we even skip days with those.
We get up. Noah makes breakfast basically every day. We either go out to breakfast or I cook maybe 5 days out of a month. It makes me very happy to lie in bed nursing in the morning while listening to him and Shanna talk in the kitchen. If Calli finishes nursing quickly I go check internet-happenings while breakfast is completed. Then (depending on how late it is) I listen to Noah read Shanna a story or he runs off to work right away. Often there is fussing around him leaving because Shanna is very very Daddy-needy lately. (Ok, she’s just clingy in general.)
When he leaves I generally start a load of laundry. Most Mondays I catch up on the laundry I was bad about doing over the weekend. I also try to do the kitchen clean up at this point. I try to do project sort of things on Mondays. Although I do make plans with friends. Sometimes we rush out of the house without doing anything extra because packing up the diaper bag and food and whatever else I want to bring with us takes a while. Tuesdays we sometimes have plans with friends but more often lately we stay home because my awesome mother’s helper comes over to play with Shanna and I do big batch cooking or project stuff I can’t do by myself with the kids. Wednesdays are normally our park days. I don’t get a whole lot done other than that because we are usually out of the house for 5-6 hours. But Wednesdays are when I pick up our milk/eggs from the co-op and the Planet Organics box is dropped off. 🙂 I look forward to that. Thursdays look like Tuesdays and Fridays are more of a wild card. We often have plans with various people, though not always. Saturdays and Sundays involve a lot of house cleaning and hanging out as a family with occasional plans with people.
It’s a fairly slow life and yet I still feel overburdened. I don’t have anything big and ongoing right now, like gardening. I’m not doing any big house projects lately. I tend to feel like the biggest part of the first year is just about putting your head down and surviving. At least that is how it worked with Shanna. I don’t get out often and I barely keep on top of household matters. This time I am still cooking extensively which didn’t happen when Shanna was tiny.
I read a lot, both online and books. I read to Shanna a lot. I sing silly songs to my children. I care too much about things on the internet. I float in a bubble of barely-connected-to-the-world. The list of people I spend time with is small and select. If you do not take joy in my children I don’t have time for you. That sounds harsh but it’s just a fact. I don’t have child-free time at the moment and if someone is uninterested in my kids then they aren’t good to spend time with for now.
I try to be calm and accepting of life being whatever it is. I try to regulate my mood and enjoy this precious time with my babies. It will be over soon. I’m not as good as I want to be at having patience, but I think I am doing ok. At the least Shanna shows no signs of being traumatized by me getting frustrated with her. I hope that things will work out.
We have no set wake up, nap, or bed time. Things just kind of flow. We eat at approximate times but even that is highly flexible. I’m slightly apprehensive because Calli is showing signs of being less happy about the irregular hours. She wants to be at home, in bed, in a dark room at 6:30. She’s not real happy about being out. This is going to be challenging. Calli is already getting to the point where she is uninterested in new people. The women in my playgroup are ok–they can hold her. Almost anyone else makes her cry.
Ok, I can think of one thing that I like about the rhythm of our days a great deal. We often cuddle together during rest times and I stroke my daughters’ hair and tell them all the things about them that I love and enjoy. I tell them how wonderful and strong they are. I point out to Shanna places where she has recently developed new skills or accomplishments and talk to her about the gradual process she endured. I tell her I am proud of how strong and brave she is. I encourage her to keep trying things she currently can’t do because I am confident that she will learn how to do them. Even on the really hard days I can always find things to talk about in a positive way. I’m proud of myself for that. I’m proud that my daughter often goes to sleep with a smile on her face because she is so very sure of being loved and adored. This is my contribution to the universe.