Children

The Routines of Raising Children

Suffice it to say that for any person who has been a parent for more than a year, the routines of raising children get boring. This is one of the facts of parenthood that other parents try to hide from you before you have kids, just to ensure you don’t change your mind. They may act all excited about attending birthday parties for toddlers who could care less on the weekends or pretend that doing endless heaps of laundry, constantly preparing and providing food to eager little mouths and changing diapers, cleaning up messes and putting up with endless whining is incredibly wonderful; but the truth is it all becomes routine which translates quite easily into the hum drum and mundane! Ahhh, the joys of parenthood!

If you chronicled the life of a stay at home mom it would be something like this. The alarm goes off at 6:30am and pretty much as soon as her feet hit the floor, the routine begins. Pack lunches, wake up kids, fix breakfast, and turn coffee on, help kids get dressed, fix hair and make sure all last minute homework and sheets are signed and ready to go. Then, its not even 7am and she has to strap the whole crew into the car in the hopes of getting them to school on time. If you are lucky enough to have school buses than this step is replaced with getting them the bus stop on time. Come home, feed the baby, clean the house just enough to be able to utilize the kitchen and bathroom than mess both of them up again by giving the baby a bath. The routines of raising children involve a lot of clock watching as well. The baby naps at a certain time, eats at precisely the same time every day and then of course their favorite shows like Blue Clues or Dora come on in the nick of time to allow mom to get a shower in.

Beyond that, it is hopefully nap time for the cranky baby that has to be woken from a comfortable slumber every day just because she has older siblings. Do some more laundry, begin thinking about what to get out for dinner, fold and put away clothes quietly as to not wake the baby and then its time for the other kids to come back home from school. This is when the routine takes a maddening turn. They are always starving, thirsty, tired, and cranky and have much more homework to do than they should. The painless listening to the recounts of all the imminent events of their day is tiring and mixed between all of this chatting is incessant arguing between siblings. don’t forget that phone calls, visitors to your home or any other inconvenient disruption puts the stay at home mom behind. There are bills to pay, emails to write, dogs to feed, yards to tidy up and errands to run. Squeezing it all in is about as easy as squeezing every little last bit of toothpaste from the roll. But somehow it gets done.

The day isn’t even half over and there is still a long to do list in the routine of raising children. If your children play anything extra curricular after school, it is shuffling them around, enduring hours watching them do their thing and worrying about getting home in time to get the baby down. Dinner needs to be served which makes a whole new mess in the kitchen and grimy kids need a bath which completely messes up the bathroom again. Bedtime is demands for tooth brushing, stories, snuggling and hoping that they fall asleep quickly and don’t make an endless evening of popping into the living room saying ‘I can’t sleep!’ This totally throws off the routine.

One of the problems with raising children is that any dent in the normal routine of the day comes with a hefty consequence. If the children aren’t fed on time they want to eat junk and get cranky. This also throws off the entire shower and bedtime thing. If the baby doesn’t get a nap, she is miserable to be around. If the bills don’t get paid, the TV goes off which is also miserable. If the kids don’t go to school because they are sick, the routine of the day has additions that are seemingly impossible to fit in. Visiting the doctor, grocery store trips and picking up any of the millions of things schools think children need each day wrecks the routine of raising children. Even so, it always happens. Realizing you are out of toilet paper at 7pm with your spouse still at work means loading the kids into the car to go get some which also throws off the routine workings of the day. All of these mishaps cause frustration and anxiety for mom because she knows that there will be a consequence and 9 out of 10 times, that consequence is her lack of shower, lack of time with her husband, lack of sleep or lack of peace and quiet because the kids are grumpy.

If only, someone shared this with you. What makes the routines of raising children so difficult is that usually they become much more important to the parents than they do the kids. So when the routine has to be shuffled around to accommodate something it causes parental stress. And even worse, all of this is fairly boring and non-stimulating to the adult in charge of it all. At the same time it is exhausting and adding some ‘me’ time or being autonomous or even deciding that one day you are going to fly by the seat of your pants and do whatever you want has irrevocable consequences that can last for days at a time. So, most decide that lunch dates with friends, walks by the lake, shopping adventures or taking in an early movie are best forgotten treasures of life that will just have to wait. After all, the routine of raising children beckons day in and day out, 7 days a week, 365 days out of every year. This routine undoubtedly demands that as soon as mom’s feet hit the floor at 6am, they are moving! And no matter how much she gets done in the day all of it will have to be done over and over and over again day in and day out, regardless.

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