I have a love/hate relationship with routines.
On one hand, I love them. I love how having simple routines in place guides my day allowing for predictability. I use routines to outline how my mornings, afternoons and evenings look, and what tasks and daily chores need to be completed.
On the other hand, I hate how with each changing season also brings about a change in my routines. The predictability is gone and I’m left scrambling around wondering what happened with my “perfect” plan.
Let me explain a little, about two months ago we welcomed our 3rd child into the family and while that event brought great joy and a new amount of love that I didn’t even know existed, it also completely changed our lives… in a good way though!
What once worked in terms of how I planned and structured my days, now no longer works. My days no longer fit nicely into a structured morning or evening routine and while I know this is only for a season, the planner in me likes to have a little bit of structure to my day.
Since my days are still dictated by the baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule, it’s hard for me to set specific daily routines in place. However I still have chores and tasks to tend to, not to mention the needs of my other children and husband. So how do I still structure my day in a way that leaves flexibility?
A grace-filled approach.
Anyone who has ever had a newborn or has gone through a season where your life has been turned upside down by a dramatic change, however good or traumatic, knows that there has to be a little grace when it comes to creating a routine.
Grace to let go of perfection.
Grace to let go of self-imposed ideas of what you feel needs to be done.
Grace to realize that what may work today, may not work tomorrow.
Grace to embrace the change, and sometimes even the mess.
To embrace this grace-filled approach to creating a routine that works during this season, I’m having to let go of the past and focus on today, meaning that what worked for my family a few months ago doesn’t work for us anymore. In fact what worked yesterday, may not even be practical tomorrow due to a newborn’s ever changing schedule.
So with a grace-filled approach and the knowledge that I do need to create some sort of structure or routine, I have been focusing on a few things to make my days easier.
Focus on Chores that NEED to Be Done
There are some basic chores that just need to get done no matter what like laundry, washing the dishes and making meals. I also have a little boy who is “loosely” potty trained so that means that the toilets (and the floor around them) need to be cleaned too. (Fellow boy moms unite!)
This isn’t the season to be tackling any deep cleaning tasks nor will my home be white gloved approved, but there are basic cleaning chores that do need to be done on a daily or weekly basis to keep our home clean and orderly.
So I’m focusing on completing those chores and leaving the deep cleaning tasks for a few months down the line when I have more energy and it’s a little easier to create a more structured cleaning routine.
Create a Small To-Do List
Rather than feel like a complete failure or overwhelmed by following a long to-do list, I’m limiting myself to listing no more than 4 items that need to be done each day.
Why only 4 items?
Because 4 is realistic and not quite so overwhelming. By choosing to narrow my focus to only 4 to-do items, I’m focusing on the most important tasks that NEED to get done, not worrying myself with other things that aren’t as important or urgent.
There are some days where even those 4 items won’t get done (remember, there is grace!) and there will also be a few days where I can tackle more but by creating a small, manageable list of things that need to get done I’m allowing myself to be productive with the limited time that I have during this season.
Let Go of Perfection
My personality tends to lean towards an all or nothing approach. I like things done right my way.
With a grace-filled approach to creating a simpler routine, I’m learning to let go of perfection, realizing that some things won’t get done or they won’t get done the way I would normally do it. I’m ashamed to say that I have stood in front of my linen closet re-folding towels that were folded for me. Can anyone else relate?
Here in a few months when life calms down a bit and the baby’s sleep schedule has regulated, I will be able to create a more structured routine again. I will have more energy to tackle bigger cleaning projects and our home will run a tad smoother.
For now though I’m enjoying these precious newborn days, resting when I can and spending time with my family. I’m getting done what truly needs to get done and I’m learning to accept the grace in that.
How do you approach your routine with grace?
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