Avoiding Crisis

soon, very soon, a return to normalcy

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In just 5 more days  summer vacation will officially end.  The new school year begins.  Ah, the moment I’ve been waiting for.     

Routine is good.  Routine is wonderful. I don’t care that some people think routine stifles creativity; that routine is boring and that following a routine is like being in a rut.  In my world, routine is a necessity, and not only for my kids. 

Before I go on, I know what some of you are thinking.  You’re just dying to say that I should be spontaneous and take one day at a time and live life to the fullest.  That it’s best not to plan out everything.  I get it.  I really do.  And just to reassure all of you who want to grab my shoulders and shake some sense into me, when I talk about “routine” it’s more like a framework as opposed to a minute by minute schedule.  So no, I don’t have my children’s days mapped out from the time they get up to when they go to sleep.  Now that I got that out of the way.

When I was pregnant with my first child I remember reading about, and of course being offered unsolicited advice about, how it is best to get your newborn on routine.  Having had a friend or two that lived their lives by their children’s routines, my husband and I were not ready to jump on that bandwagon.  So instead, much of our early parenting was on-demand.   But, of course,  after a month or so our newborn had set her own routine and was forcing us to live by it.  We just couldn’t resist – it really did make life a bit easier.  Who would have thunk? Dr. Spock and my mother might actually know a thing or two. 

Needless to say, when our second child was born we were all about getting him into a routine as a quickly as possible and sticking to it.  Now, the fact that he didn’t like our routine and wanted to set his own – which involved continually waking up screaming at 2 in the morning for about 2 hours and doing this for nearly 3 weeks – is a completely different issue.

The short of it is that my children are much happier when they know what to expect during a given day. And they are oh so much more grumpier and difficult (though still managable I should point out) when they are thrown off their daily routine.  Needless to say they (and I) are eagerly awaiting the start of their school year when things get back to normal. 

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been a bit on the anxious side lately.  Vacations make me anxious.  Holidays and school breaks make me anxious.   You know why?  Because they force me to give up not only my children’s routines, but my own as well.   Instead of being proactive about the day I am forced to be reactive. 

I never really thought of myself as a routine based person until after I had kids.  Though looking back on it I always have been one.  

I now understand why I hated the first few weeks of every semester when I was in college.  At Barnard, like most colleges and universities, there was a system in which you pre-register for classes at the end of one semester for the next.  But at Barnard, that schedule was like a place holder of sorts and at the beginning of each semester the students would shop around for classes and then, about 3 weeks into it they would be required to submit a final schedule of classes.  This gives students the opportunity to try out different classes and rearrange their schedule to best meet their needs –thus minimizing, to a degree, the administrative nightmare of massive drops and adds.  For me, this process was painful.  So, most semesters, okay, all semesters, the pre-registered schedule that I painstakingly developed at the end of one semester for the next was my schedule.  You can only imagine the horror of having a class canceled on me or the time changed.  What can I say, I like order and routine.

So yes, I’ll admit it, I’m counting down the days until my kids go back to school.  For me it has nothing to do with getting the kids out of the house – okay, maybe that factors into it just a teeny tiny bit.  But more so, it’s all about getting our lives back to normal.  

How great it will be when I can finally just go with the flow wonderful and oh so needed routine that is my life.

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Written by nicolemarie

February 23, 2007 at 11:37 pm

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