In a season when I usually let myself become overwhelmed by my "to-do" list, I am letting go of some of the things I often feel pressured to do.
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We humans have been shaped over the millennia by the rhythmic rotation of the earth, by the diurnal dance of day and night. We have been formed by the rosy shadings of light at dawn, and by nighttime's reply as scarlet and violet descend into velvet black... Day by day our world shifts imperceptibly, moving inexorably from spring's first blossom toward a world glittering in ice diamonds. Both the rapture and the travails of this cycle have formed our human psyche... Our children, who live closer to basics than we do, are profoundly affected by the life rhythms we determine for them. Many problems we experience with our children can be addressed by setting a simple daily rhythm that allows their needs to be met in a timely way.
Finding a Rhythm
Children thrive on repetition. Having a steady rhythm is also an important foundation in our own lives and leads to a more peaceful home. When Yummy was a baby, our days were often formless, since I didn't really know what to do to entertain a baby. Other than having a consistent nap schedule, we drifted spontaneously through the days. This wasn't such a big deal while Yummy was crawling around, but as she got older I could see that we would benefit from more stability.
Two parenting books encouraged me to create a routine for our family: Steady Days by Jamie Martin and Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer (links at the bottom of this post!). I could relate to what Jamie Martin says in Chapter 6, "I noticed that my day with my children quickly turned to chaos if I didn't have a plan...I became frazzled and less patient with them -I didn't like myself that way... My motive behind [my routine] is not to control my children, but to give them my best." Both books are excellent resources not only for how to implement consistent routines, but they both also have lots of ideas of what you might like to schedule into your routine (household chores, structured play, bedtime stories, etc).
I am a happy person. Most of my life, I wake up in the morning eager to start a new day, always ready to see the positive. And yet, a year ago today I started taking anti-depressant medication. I was living with a constant feeling of being overwhelmed, so anxious that my heart would flutter and pound even when I sat still on the couch in the evenings.