Rhythms and Routines – Summer 2017

A couple of times a year, I like to record our current rhythms and routines. Life with children changes so much as they grow from one stage to the next and then again, as new children are added to the mix. I haven’t shared it here yet, but we are expecting a second baby! And so, with that comes the anticipation of a whole new rhythm awaiting us in six months or so.

As I sit down to write this, I am conflicted, because our routine is not what I want it to be. Perhaps that is because of the fatigue that hit me in the first trimester and maybe a little to do with summer time – wanting to stay inside all. the. time. and going on vacation. Anyway, though we have a routine, I still find myself struggling to settle into it. Nonetheless, here is our current crazy normal:

6:30 AM – Benji decided to start waking up before 7 after we got home from our family trip in June. So, now we get up sometime in the 6 o’clock hour, usually around 6:30. I walk straight to the coffee maker to get our daily pot brewing. Then, I usually sit in the living room while Benji walks around and plays for a bit.

7:30 AM – About an hour after waking up – if not before – Benji is ready for breakfast! I scramble a few eggs for him. Lately, he eats three eggs with some blueberries or other fruit on the side. When we have avocados, he also eats half an avocado. With a full belly, he plays happily (for the most part).

This is where I struggle with the routine. Before being a mom, there was opportunity for me to be reflective in the morning. Read, sit, write a few pages to clear my mind, and then get on with the day. However, at this point in time, those quiet, reflective activities are really hard to do with a toddler running around; his location and behavior needing to be monitored pretty much constantly. If I get caught up in a book, he is likely to dig old diapers out of the trashcan and play with them in the pots and pans. When I try to write, he wants to join me and use the very same pen to scratch a few things out on the paper as well.

All that to say, I am coming to a place where I realize I need to wake up, drink my coffee, then busy myself. Nap time is the opportunity for me to do the quiet, reflective activities.

9:00 AM – Benji still takes two naps, and I am not in a hurry to change this. Probably because of my desire to have the quiet time to myself. The morning nap gives me a minute to catch my breath and be still. And, by 9 o’clock, he is most days fussy and in need of some rest time himself. For the last couple of months, I would somedays lay down and rest in the morning while he slept too. First trimester fatigue hits me hard!

10:30/11 AM – We are back to the races in late morning. I usually do housework during this time – dishes, laundry, whatever work needs to be done that day – before making lunch.

11:30 AM – Shortly after nap time, Benji is ready to eat again! I put some kind of meal together. Sometimes, from leftovers; other times, an assortment of foods. I don’t always eat when Benji eats. Now that I’m writing it down, I realize I don’t eat meals with him a good bit of the time. Somedays, we take our lunch to Starbucks and eat with Jesse on his break. Benji thinks he owns the place and is always eager to rearrange the retail space!

Ideally, we would spend time outside after lunch, but it is so hot these days. I take Benji to the pool or splashpad sometimes, but mostly I stay inside. I continue to work around the house. If I have dinner prep I can finish earlier in the day, I try to get that done so that the late afternoon is less stressful.

1:00 PM – Benji goes down for his second nap around 1, sometimes after. Sometimes I rest during this time, especially lately. In the last two months, I have read a handful of novels. So, nap time is a good time to read. If I’m lucky, reading leads into a nap of my very own.

2:30/3 PM – Snack time! Benji wakes up from his nap, and we enjoy a snack. I finish up household tasks still undone – fold laundry, wash dishes, make the bed, etc. If I turn on the tv, this is usually the time of day it happens – or before the afternoon nap. The witching hour is real so I try to get my ducks in a row before meltdowns and fussiness happens. So, even though it feels premature, I usually try to get dinner started or even done early.

5 PM – Jesse comes home! And everyone rejoices! Though I work to be welcoming when Jesse comes home, it is also when the sprint toward bedtime begins so we greet one another and catch up on the day a bit. But, mostly, we finish dinner and try to keep Benji happy until it’s time to eat.

6 PM – In the last six months or so, we implemented a more structured bedtime routine, because what we were doing was not working very well. We decided to have dinner at 6 – though somedays, if Benji is fussy, we eat earlier, whenever the food is ready! After dinner, we bathe Benji and get him ready for bed: pjs, snuggle, read a couple of books, nurse, then go to sleep. Benji sleeps in the pack and play in our room. In the past month, we’ve worked him out of our bed. He was coming into our bed in the early morning, but we three no longer fit together. Once he realized he’s happier having more space, he settled into the pack and play nicely, and sleeps in it all night – for the most part!

Jesse and I clean up the kitchen and living room while Benji falls asleep. The rest of the evening is open. Sometimes, we sit and talk the whole time. Other times, we do our own things (especially if I have a book I really want to read!). And a lot of times, we catch up on the day and then watch a show. Currently, we are finishing up Downton Abbey for the second time. We love the show! But, we are looking forward to finishing it and moving on to something different. Even if we don’t do anything special, it is so nice to have the kid-free time to talk without interruption and enjoy time together.

10:30 PM – At 10:20, my FitBit tells me to get ready for bed. Sometimes, I am in bed before that. Some nights, I ignore it altogether. But usually I get in bed between 10 and 11, especially motivated by the knowledge that a certain baby will wake me up with the sun.

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    1. Congratulations Rachel, Jesse and Benji!! That is so exciting! Rachel, I’ve recently come across your blog and have enjoyed going back to the beginning and “catching up.” Praying for peace and health during this chapter for you and your family!

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