One of the cornerstones of my story, and something I am passionate about teaching others, is establishing routines. Routines made it so I felt like my life was ordered. They calmed the chaos in my house. Routines are important to me and let me run my house in a more efficient fashion. Today, I’d like to talk about why routines are important to moms and what some of my routines look like.
Why Routines are Important for Moms
It’s hard for me to believe that less than a year ago, I was struggling with my life. I had a newborn, I was still getting used to being a stay-at-home-mom, and I was in the depths of postpartum anxiety and feeling incredibly overwhelmed. I distinctly remember one night where I hid in our laundry room, lights turned off, sitting on the floor next to the washer. I sobbed and thought about how completely overwhelmed I felt. My house was a mess, our bank account was on a steady decline, and I was a tired, overwhelmed wreck.
I’m never going to go back to that place again, and it’s thanks in part to having consistent routines in my house. It’s amazing how even the slightest things can help set up a domino effect that positively impact everything else in my house.
Let me tell you a few of the ways routines are so important to mothers in particular:
Routines reduce decision fatigue
As moms, we make a million decisions a day. What’s for breakfast? What am I going to wear? What will I dress my child in? Do I need to change that diaper immediately or can it wait a few minutes? But by instituting a few routines, we can help take that down.
What’s for dinner? If my routine includes (a) meal planning so I know what my dinners for the week are, and (b) making sure I take the meat I’ll need out of the freezer so it can defrost, it’s not something I have to worry about.
If you’re not in that place where you’ve got the routines in place, it may seem a little silly, but honestly, having even that slight burden allows me to free up mental space and put my focus on important things, like my kids.
Routines help us stay on top of things
I don’t have to worry about if a particular item of clothing is clean. I know if it’s a Monday or Thursday, it’s a laundry day. I know if it’s the day before payday, I’ll be double-checking what bills are coming up and making arrangements to pay them. I know that if it’s Sunday, I’ll be looking at my planner and Trello calendars to make sure I know what’s coming up this week. If I keep on top of my routines, I’m prepared.
Maybe the routine is, I clean the trash out of my car when I get gas. Maybe the routine is, I unload the dishwasher after breakfast. It’s the little things that add up to a big difference throughout my day.
Kids thrive on order
As moms, routines are especially important because kids do great with routines. You may have morning or bedtime routines with them already – brush teeth, take your medicine, say a prayer, read a story. Kids go to school and do their writing, then their math, then they have lunch, then there’s recess – it’s the same every day, for a reason. Having household routines is wonderful for your children. Knowing what will happen next will give them a sense of security.
They free up our minds to enjoy life more
When I’m not trying to determine what I have to do, I have more time for what I want to do. When I know that Thursdays are the days I’m going to mop the floors, I don’t worry so much if there’s a mess on Wednesday. When I know that after lunch I’ll pick up the living room, it’s okay to leave the toys on the floor a few more minutes.
There’s a lovely sense of accomplishment I get when I complete my evening routine – when my house is dark, the kitchen is clean, the dishwasher is set to run, and I’m able to go to bed feeling like I’ve done something. Knowing that whatever else may happen, I’ll be taking my home back to its default state is reassuring.
Some of My Routines
First, a disclaimer: just because a particular routine works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you. My life is not your life.
My morning routine consists of getting laundry started, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning the litterbox, and sweeping floors. I try to get something productive going pretty quickly in the day, so it sets the tone for my day.
After lunch, I load any dishes in the dishwasher, give the living room a quick pickup, and usually put my daughter down for her nap. While she naps I work.
The bulk of my routine is concentrated in my evening routine. I always try to get my sink empty, counters cleared, and dishwasher set to run. I do a quick pickup of my living room. I lay out my clothing for the next day. I take my medicine, brush my teeth, hop in the shower if I need to, and go to bed. If my stepson is with us, I might prep his lunch for the next day (although my husband often does this when he cleans up after dinner).
On Mondays and Thursdays, I do laundry. I generally try to clean the bathroom on Tuesdays. I mop the floors on Thursdays. Every other Friday I plan two weeks worth of meals, so I can order the groceries by Saturday and pick them up after church Sunday.
My routines aren’t fancy, but they work well for me. They’re generally based on just keeping things cleaned up as I go along. That goes a long way towards getting everything done.
Honestly, if I could give every mother on the planet two pieces of advice, it would simply be – declutter your house and create routines. Those two things have had the most dramatic impact on my house and my happiness.
Do you have any routines in place in your home?