Not quite a year ago, I had a bit of an epiphany as I began thinking about our daily life rhythm. It sounds a little new-agey, I know, but really, God created the world, our bodies, the weeks, the tides, and almost everything with a distinct rhythm. And suddenly one day seven months ago, I realized that even the life of a mother of preschoolers has a rhythm.
When I was working as a teacher, each day and each year had a distinct rhythm, too. In any job, I suppose, you can generally predict and track when you’ll feel burnt out, when you’ll be energized to be working, when you’ll get flack from your boss (or the parents, in a teacher’s case!) and when it’s time to just take a day off for the sake of your sanity. It’s the same for me these days. Although mothering toddlers is far more unpredictable than my old day job, I realized that day back in May that my life, too, has its rhythms, and that being mentally ready for the ups and downs of the day brought me such encouragement to keep going.
I’d like to share two blog posts about some rhythms of the past around here. Right now life is totally out of rhythm with Christmas and New Year’s and Greg having a few extra days off, but in a few weeks when we get back into the swing of things, I’d like to rediscover what our current daily rhythm is. I’ll be sure to share it with you then. For now, perhaps one of these daily rhythms sounds familiar to you and your family?
(the following was originally posted May 29, 2008 at http://cozyliving.typepad.com/cozyliving/)
I’m trying hard to remember that every day seems to have its rhythm around here.
Typically we start with a generally happy Tyler, and crying and tantrums from Jake during breakfast time, sometimes ending in him being sent to his room to preserve the peace at the breakfast table. Then we all wave bye-bye to Daddy and blow our hugs and kisses and shoot some I love you’s his way as he drives away.
Once he’s gone, things settle down and the boys play while I clean up from breakfast and start some laundry. Then we’ll play a game or read some books before getting dressed for the day. We go upstairs or outside to play (snail hunt today) then come home for a snack. At snack time the boys usually start whining again, and I have to think of something to occupy them if I want to get any chores done (often I do not.) More of the three of us playing together then it’s lunch time, at which point Jake starts throwing a fit about how hungry he is and how he needs lunch right this instant. They both cry until lunch is on the table, then we eat together.
After lunch they’ll usually play for a bit while I clean up, then if they’re getting tired of playing, they get to watch a 20 minute show on pbs before rest time (if I’m lucky, they don’t need a show to wind down and I can save this for later in the day when I’m desperate!) Next is quiet time in their rooms (on a good day, 45 minutes) then more play time at home before they get cranky again around 5:00. That’s the hour and a half where I have to entertain them, clean up from our day, and get dinner cooked for us all, without losing my mind.
But as soon as Daddy gets home (around 6:30) everyone’s happy again. We eat dinner together then Daddy does the dinner dishes and then usually watches t.v. while the boys play near him and I try to get a moment to relax. Around 7:45 we start getting ready for brushing teeth, book, and bed. Then Greg and I can watch whatever show we have on our DVR or read or craft or whatever we’re doing that night.
The most important thing to me is that I need to remember this rhythm when the boys are driving me crazy with their crying, whining, and generally crankiness. I need to remember that they aren’t like that all day long. I need to remember that there are pockets of frustration every day and that, with two preschoolers, I should expect them and take them in stride as part of the rhythm of our day. I need to learn to expect them at their usual times, and weather them the best I can, knowing there are better moments coming soon.
The rhythm of a day. What’s it like in your family?
(the following was originally posted August 12, 2008 at http://cozyliving.typepad.com/cozyliving/)
Thank goodness that life keeps changing. It seems that once you adjust to a new life rhythm, it starts to change again, doesn’t it?
I’m recalling my last post (above) about our daily life rhythm, and realizing that life just isn’t like that very often anymore. There’s a thankfulness for the diminishing tantrums, along with the boys’ abilities to do more for themselves, which brings me both gratitude (they can clean up their own messes now!) and nostalgia (they’re getting so independent!)
These days, the boys creep into our bed around 6:15 or so, or Daddy goes into their room after his shower to check if they’re up yet. The three ‘boys’ head downstairs for breakfast, while Mommy gets another half hour of precious sleep. At 7:30, we all head to the garage to wave goodbye to Daddy, then we figure out what the three of us are going to do with our day. (Groaning ensues whenever errands are on the list, cheering when it’s the pool.) The boys play for a while while I clean up from breakfast and get some laundry in the washer. Sometimes we get dressed early, other days we’re in our jammies until 10.
We generally lurch through the day together, every day including both fighting with brother and playing with brother, time outs for how you treated brother, and helping to clean up with brother. Every day has its reading time and less tv time than we had in the past (none during the day for the last week and a half…I’m really trying.) I’m still trying to keep up with my June goal of laundry finished and put away every day, and there are always the regular chores to get done.
Jake’s daily tantrums have stopped, but suddenly at 2 1/2, Tyler has decided he should be terribly two. He’s trying daily to figure out if screaming and crying fits will yield him whatever he wants. On to a new life phase, right?
I’m still learning that whatever rhythm my life is taking, I need to take note, be prepared, and enjoy the best of it while I can, because it’s always changing.