When Leia was born I was told to create a routine as soon as possible. Sleep. Eat. Play. Repeat. Is that the right order? Oh, and all good parents have a bedtime routine that goes something like bath, jammies, story, bed. But Leia hated taking a bath for the first six months. Even now she only likes a bath in the sink. Reading books did not make her sleepy. Bedtime was only successful (for both of us) with long periods of nursing. So that
was is our routine. Jammies and boobs.
Tonight I nursed Leia in bed like usual. After she was asleep I got up and tip toed out of the room. The living room usually has toys and books scattered around, so I put those away. I move the dishes from the sink to the dishwasher. I set up the coffee pot with put fresh water and grounds. I refill the brita pitcher. I wipe down Leia’s highchair and set it up where we eat breakfast. I empty the cat box. I pour the cats fresh food and water. I do a handful of exercises, stretches and deep breathing.
I do these things every single night.
I love waking up to a home that is clean and organized. I need to create order in the chaos of every day life. I recognize this helps balance the many parts of my life that are up in the air. Being conscious of my own routine made me aware of all the little routines Leia and I have created along the way, naturally. Every morning we snuggle in bed with the cats for a bit before she gets changed. She sits in the highchair and watches sesame street while I make breakfast. We eat then we play – this usually means chasing cats, emptying out my purse (and putting random toys in it), reading a handful of books, and taking tupperware out of the kitchen. Then I take a shower while she plays in the bathroom. Leia let’s me know when she needs a nap, and she nurses to sleep (unless we’re out for a walk or in the car and she falls asleep in the stroller/car seat). On days I go to the gym my Mom and Leia have their own routine of walking through the complex to come find me. They discover plants and bugs, play with the water fountain, greet the people walking dogs. Then it’s jammies after dinner, followed by playing until she’s tired. When she’s ready we nurse to sleep for the night in my bed.
In the beginning I was anxious about not creating a more structured routine in her life. As time went by I relaxed and my confidence grew. I have a happy, healthy, loving child to prove that you can usually throw what “they” say out the window and follow your instincts. Routines will create themselves.