As mamas, we manage a lot. From work and home, to activities and everything in between… routine is something we cling to, but often falls by the wayside. When opportunities pop up to reset and start anew we take full advantage, with the hope that this plan or routine will stick. The beginning of a new year is one of those times that presents the perfect opportunity for a return to structure and routine in each day, week and month. As kids head back to school after a long winter break, their days again become busy with learning and a never-ending list of activities for them to participate in. Consistency in terms of meals and sleep become much more important. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t find value in a bit more predictability in the day-to-day?
I am absolutely one of those mamas who was ready for the return of school after we rang in the new year last month. While our school break over the holidays was carefree, we still tried hard not to stray too far from our usual bedtime. However, I know that my children benefit from the structure of a more formal learning environment. My girls are still at the age where they wake up excited to go to school each day.
Now that the new year is well under way (and we all survived January), I’m thinking about all the ways I’m adding more consistency and predictability into our lives. From a regular wake up time each day to tasks around the house, I want to set my daughters up for success both at home and at school. For me, this means key touch points each week including:
- Family dinner around a table to hear about each other’s day (when the activity schedule allows)
- Limiting activities as much as possible, so as not to over-schedule or overwhelm
- Time to read each night before bed
- Getting to the gym (yes, I take my daughters along because they love it too and we are all happier when mom gets to the gym!)
I love when we take the time to gather around the table and eat as a family. It forces us to slow down a bit, look back on the day and be together. In this fast-paced world, that often requires intention. My girls may not sit still for long, but the practice brings us together as a family, allows me to hear about their day (even if they only share the best part) and forces me to prioritize meal planning (which I’m not great at).
Activities and involvement
There is so much pressure to get active and participate. I try to be conscious of how much my children are signed up for because they are still so young. That being said, despite my best efforts, all of their activities seem to be happening at the same time. I’m reminding myself that we aren’t committed to anything for more than six weeks and can assess and reassess as we go. I want them to do the things they love, while also incorporating some practical life skills and having time to play and imagine.
This is something I value so much, especially these days, for both myself and my girls. Currently, we are reading The Magic Treehouse series. The limited pictures encourage them to imagine the story in their own way and truly listen to the words without the distraction of colorful pictures. And it doesn’t hurt that the chapters always leave you hanging a bit. We read two chapters a night and it is something we all look forward to.
I also love to read as a way to wind down at the end of the day. It’s relaxing and forces me to give my mind a break from the chaos of motherhood and work and home. Not to mention, it’s one of those things I can do each day for me. As a mom, that’s important.
As much as possible, I also try to get to the gym each day. Because everyone is happier when mama works out regularly. This is no easy feat given competing schedules, but it is something I prioritize. Plus, my gym has childcare and the kids love it as much as I do. If nothing else, I know I am setting a great example for them and it keeps me grounded in a season of busy.
While we all rely on those annual milestones that provide a natural opportunity to reset, it is also important to identify the daily and weekly practices that keep you and the rest of the family grounded. I recently read a parenting book that emphasized the importance of predictability. From the daily schedule to the weekly meal, children (and let’s be honest, parents too) value consistency. Creating a routine or plan that works for your family will ensure everything goes a bit smoother, even when it’s busy.