One of the things that have eluded me year after year since becoming a mother is structure. ;m a mom and I dont have a I want to structure a home routine with a four-year-old. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I just so often found that things were better for my immediate sanity when I went with the flow. I know what you are thinking. Despite the chaos, for four years I have managed to raise a child, grow a business and write a few books, all the while, the only structure I have managed to secure in my home life is that after three years daily battles with a newborn turned toddler who refuses to sleep and treats it as though she will be missing the world, bedtime is eight o’clock.
Routine? What’s That?
I’m not kidding! That is the grand total of things I have managed to secure as a structure in my house. I used to feel bad about this. I wondered where was my patience gene was. Why wouldn’t my kid sleep? Why couldn’t I handle things as well as other moms seemed to? All these moms online I’m reading about gushing about how their babies were sleep trained and what not. All the while, me? I gave up on the keeping the baby in her bed scenario two months in. I would give up at three am, put the child in the bed with my husband and I and roll over to use our bodies and edge barriers because I knew she would sleep for an hour, my husband would be off to school/work for anywhere between eight and up to thirty-hour and I would need to be alert and awake to take care of my child. The back pain, I was enduring and healing from a c-section didn’t factor into the fact that I didn’t have relatives close by. I couldn’t simply be ‘too tired’.
Free Time? I’ve Heard so much About You!
I have been taking each day on their merit. Simply doing what needs to be done n the way that works best in the moment. This is primarily since my family has no support system outside of ourselves. There’s no-one to call. We make it work on our own. In fact, this week has been the first time in two years that I have been without my daughter for more than a few hours for errands or an odd date. She’s visiting her grandparents hours away and I have been at a complete loss as to what to do with myself for many days, and fill my time with house chores and blogging, and some quality time with the hubs when he is around.
No Routine, Just Chaos
I remember one night, my baby wouldn’t stop crying when I put her down. It was one of Boobles’ on-duty night. I don’t mean faintly crying either. She was about two months old and was in full-blown tantrum mode and bawled bloody murder. Tiny thing that she was, I wonder what my neighbours thought I might have been doing to her. Her crying that way was reaching the depths of my soul and after a while, we were both crying. I had been by myself since eight am when my husband left home. He wasn’t coming home until the next morning. I hadn’t eaten, I hadn’t showered. I was exclusively breastfeeding. She hadn’t slept more than five minutes all day, and I was still feeding fairly regularly throughout the night.
That night was the first and only time, I had to call my husband in the middle of his shift and say ‘Babe, I need you. I need you now’. It wasn’t something I did lightly. I knew it meant he was leaving a situation he couldn’t afford to, but, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe and there was simply no-one else I could call.
He came. He stayed an hour so that I could shower and eat, and calm down, and then he had to leave. After that night, I decided to let it go. And from that point, with a baby that slept so little, I decided if I was sane, and could take care of her, it would have to do.
I Think I’m Finally Getting the Hang of This Mothering and Wifing Thing
I am now in a place where I want to attempt more structure for the new year. This isn’t quite a resolution, as much as it is that I want my daughter to have a bit more of a routine, now that she is a little older and not as demanding of a bottle. She is now asking for specific things to eat for her meals and choosing to forego the bottle in favour of breakfast, whereas before, she would have both or just the bottle.
She had begun a routine when she started school, but after only two months in the swing of it, it was gone. I’m hoping to have a better structure for me too. Clear working days and times, clear housework schedules, and so on.
I don’t harbour any illusions about this being easy. Remember now, my household is chaos! I am still a work-from-home Entrepreneur with a growing business, and author and writer/blogger, with a toddler and busy husband. We weren’t able to do things like make weekly or monthly schedules, or make appointments or commit to engagements for more than a month out. But, now that Boobles’ is officially off the school wagon (for now at least), I am optimistic that it will add the structure I am craving for our home life.
What about you? Got a tip or two to ease my way into a family life routine?
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