Routine may seem an odd thing to laud but that's my exact intent for today's post. Let me explain.....
When our girls were little, I worked very hard as a stay-at-home-mom. I also kept up with Frank's schedule of church events, led our choir and produced musicals for the Christian school the girls attended. But my number one job was that of Mommie!
When Meagan was first born, we only had one vehicle. Even though Frank's office was a short 10 minute drive away, this still meant I spent many days at home with three little girls. It was not unusual for me to be home with them for two or three days in a row.
Let me just step away from the main theme for a moment and cheer for ALL stay-at-home-parents! Those days will be forever etched in my memory. Some days were wonderful and some days were the pits. Can't lie. But that season passed far more quickly than I could ever have imagined.
A dear friend shared this wonderful line with me, "Sheri, the days drag and the years fly. Enjoy them while you can." True Words!
As I was thinking back on that time this morning, I thought of the daily routine I established for us. With so little that changed from morning to night (little children seem to be in a constant state of need) I soon realized I needed something to signal the start and end of my "working" hours. That signal would help me transition and offer some sanity to my crazy days.
For me the signal was . . . Tennis Shoes.
Yep, when I put on those tennis shoes each morning they became the signal to my internal self that my "work day" had begun. I may or may not have time for a shower. I may or may not get to eat breakfast. I may or may not speak to another adult during those first hours. But the tennis shoes meant I was in "Go Mode" and there would be no slowing down until nap time.
There also came a definitive moment each evening after dinner when I would ceremoniously remove the tennis shoes. I would joyfully replace them with my well-worn bedroom slippers. Those shoes also sent an important signal to my desperately tired internal self, "It's okay to take a deep cleansing breath now. Every single girl made it safely through the day. Good Job, Mommmie! Time to wind down."
Simplistic, perhaps. But it was a routine that served me well for over 20 years of being a full-time Mom. There were a couple of other routine staples for me during those early days. Sesame Street was the only tv time each morning. Then, I would listen to the radio until two teaching shows came on each Monday through Friday. I listened faithfully to Chuck Swindoll and then to Focus on the Family. Both radio shows made me feel less isolated and kept me learning; vitally important.
I also took the girls for a walk everyday that we could manage with the cold mountain weather. This meant I loaded all three little blondes into a stroller built for one child. Kristin would sit in the actual seat and hold baby Meagan, who I strapped in. Then Joy would stand on the frame behind them holding onto the handles going up beside her.
It was no easy task pushing those girls uphill, over two more city blocks, past the local pharmacy, back downhill toward our home. But the routine of those daily walks became important. It meant we were getting fresh air, looking at something besides our tiny house and often praying for people or pets we encountered along the way.
I wish I had a specific story to share from one of those walks, but I can't remember even one. The point was that we made the trek so often, not that we rehearsed any of the single moments. And I guess that's the entire point about routines.
Whatever your routines may look like, don't forget to celebrate them. They have purpose. They serve as anchors, keeping the rest of life stable.
My life has been totally devoid of any semblance of routine for several weeks now. Getting ready for Israel; traveling 7000 miles from home; experiencing a new culture; new climate; new people; new food; coming home and trying to reacclimate. Travel is definitely NOT for the faint of heart. I guess that's what triggered my Ode to Routine today. There are some things we don't miss until they're no longer available in our lives. Those are my rambling thoughts for this routine Monday . . . .
I'd love to hear about the routines in your life. Especially routines you recognize as being beneficial.
Please tell us about them in the comment section below.