As I've ventured further into motherhood, I have been so thankful for the blog written by the ladies over at GirlTalk . Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters have provided so much insight that I trust, especially since it lines so much up with the recommendations and experience of my mom and other older women that I trust. I have lately been revisiting their older series called "RoutineTalk," where the benefits of routines and scheduling are discussed related to each different family and family member. For example, there's a few posts on helping your baby learn a routine for eating and sleeping, sample routines for toddlers, a post on why children thrive on a routine, the benefits for your marriage/husband (like kids going to bed early and having time as a couple to actually communicate and look at each other!!), and the benefits for your own walk with the Lord.
One of my favorite quotes from a post is this: "Scheduling has helped me to be intentional and proactive, rather than reactive in training my children." This is so great, and exactly what I want from having a schedule!
Since my morning sickness ended mid-October, I have struggled to return to the routine I was seeking, especially since the holidays always through a little wrench in the organization of each day. But the biggest struggle I have faced was getting back to rising a little early and having some quiet time in prayer and the Word before commencing my day. I then struggled with guilt and shoved it in some other time during the day, but never felt as refreshed as I had when opening my day with this peaceful time of meditation. It didn't help that Adelaide started waking earlier and has had a few weeks of night-time crying periodically through the night for reasons unknown (teething? nightmares? diaper rash? hunger?) This change in routine is a normal motherhood thing by now and I am used to switching gears based on her needs, but without that quiet time alone in the morning to start my day right, I have felt like I am one step behind all the day - especially in my attitude.
So this week I have been setting my alarm and rising early again, although I have been feeling rushed to get through my devotional before I heard a peep from Lyddie. Until I read this quote from the GirlTalkers tonight:
...If possible, begin when your child is still in a crib (old enough to sit up on their own). Don’t get them out of bed when they first wake up, but place some books or toys in the crib the night before, after they are asleep. Determine what time you will get them up and stick to it. They might cry at first, but soon they will enjoy this morning playtime. If this habit is established early, it will be easy to maintain, even after they transition to the “big boy” or “big girl” bed... Teaching your child to stay in bed serves you (the mom) so you can get a devotional time (and maybe even a shower!). It ensures your husband gets enough rest, and your attention in the morning. And it serves the children. By teaching them to rise at a certain time and to enjoy playing by themselves, you can help them form disciplined habits to last a lifetime
Why didn't I think of this myself?? I don't know, but it's clear as a bell to me now. I don't make a habit of rushing to Lyddie's every desire the second she makes a peep the rest of the day, so she's already getting used to having to wait for me. This will be more and more important when Amelia arrives, so I have been intentionally embedding this kind of practice through our days. I already know she is able to play quietly in her crib alone since we now have morning "quiet times" in place of a nap, so I think I will try this and see if it works for me. That way I know I will get the time I need without having to wake up at 5:00 am (a tad too early for me) to beat her awake. I can do 6:00, and since she typically sleeps until 6:30-7:30 on a normal day, I think I will pick a time around then to try getting her up, even if she's already awake in there a little while.
So what does our routine look like lately? For the curious...
7:30-8:00 wake up, morning bottle and snuggly time
8:30-9:00 TV show time
9:00-10:30 get dressed, read together, quiet time in crib; I get the kitchen cleaned up and a shower
10:30-12:00 play time - some of it together at the table and some Lyddie plays alone while I work around the house
12:00-1:00 lunch and cleanup
3:00-5:00 play time and sometimes one TV show (our favorites are Cat in the Hat! and Curious George, we don't typically watch both but occasionally in the morning we do); I get dinner going
5:00-6:30 play time with daddy, eat dinner
6:30-8:00ish - bathtime, bedtime routine, bed! Mommy and daddy relax and have grown-up time!
I like this routine and know my schedule will change drastically when Amelia arrives in May, but I hope to keep the same general routine with Lyddie so that her day is relatively predictable even though so much about life will have changed for her. I pray for wisdom about these things frequently and am thankful for the insight given to me by older women and His word!