Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rethinking Routines

Last fall I wrote about my efforts to stay home more during the week. When I wrote that post, we were about to start a couple of busy weeks, but then I was going to get back on track. It was three days after I found out I was pregnant. You can guess what happened from there.

It seems that lately we are gone all the time--grocery shopping, library, speech, etc. Combining things was exhausting but doable when I started, but with pregnancy thrown in, it was often just impossible. I hit a panic point. How on earth was I ever going to maintain my routines? Would my house ever look normal again? Did Jack really need to do school? And then it occurred to me: the routine around here is for there to be no strict routine.

Since Jay and I got engaged in 1999, my life has been one constant transition. For the first two years we were married we knew we would be moving; next we spent three years in Omaha; finally, we moved here--again, a temporary home. Though we've been here almost four years, there are still a few things in boxes. Something is always on the horizon: a new home, another child, a job change...or this year, all three at once. And in the last decade, my daily routine has always varied, too. When Jay was in school, I might drive down for the weekend. If he wasn't coming home, I might work all weekend. Residency was worse. It was not uncommon to make a midnight Taco Bell delivery to UNMC, even with a baby. (The stroller actually made it easier to cart the food.) Here we have a more stable work schedule, but there has always been the changing schedule of a child to keep things interesting.

Now we're getting ready for another huge wave of transitions, and I've decided that my best defense is to do whatever we feel like doing. I do have some things I try to do consistently: a load of laundry must be started as soon as I get out of bed and the dishwasher needs to be started after dinner each night. Other than that, though, we are taking it day by day. We have memberships to several places around town that I'm trying to get our money's worth from and we have friends that we will not be able to see as often once we move. Don't even get me started on how much I'm going to miss the library here.

When we are finally settled in the new house I am hoping to come up with some kind of routine for us that we can use consistently. We'll have a new baby by then, though, so it just may not happen. On the bright side, I realized this weekend that after seven years, the cat finally has me on a routine much like the one described in The Baby Whisperer. At least it worked for one of the babies around here.

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