Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I heart routines

This post made me realize afresh how much I really, really like routines. Apparently, it's not just me. Granted, as an elementary school teacher, I probably have more routines than most people. Math at 8:30, read a story at 10:00, lunch at 11:00.... The more time I spend with tiny people, the more I realize that kids really do thrive on that routine.

And that makes me think about the complete and total lack of routine that I had growing up. Waking up in the morning, I never had any idea what that day might be like. Will I have any clean socks? Can I even find my socks? Which side of Mom will I see today -- the fun-loving, childlike mom, or the angry, moody one who's obsessed with her stuff? Looking back, a complete lack of schedule, routine, and predictability meant that I drifted through most days feeling completely unmoored.

As an adult, that may help explain why I have such a deep-seated need to be able to predict, with reasonable certainty, what today will hold. Life has definitely underscored the lesson that there are many, many things that are not under my control. The struggle for me now is to create a routine that takes into account what I actually can control, while letting go of the things that are simply uncontrollable. It's  still a work in progress, but the fact that I can articulate the struggle at all makes me realize that I've come a long way from that kid searching for clean socks amid the hoard.


  1. Interesting that your response has been to cling to routines. I've had a terrible time trying to keep to them! I'm so stuck in the pattern of how I grew up. Would you have any suggestions for how to start adding routines into my life?

  2. Good for you for finding peace in routines!

    Just this week my COH boyfriend called me from the hoard asking for a favor.

    "Could you check the coin pocket of my jeans at home?"

    I did. I found his teeth; he has a bridge. Ew!

    Really? You don't have a system for your teeth?!

    Sadly his late, hoarder mother (a nurse) neither took care of his dental health, nor had the skills to teach her only son organizational habits.

    Keep up the good work, HC! You are helping each of your students by being consistent with routines and systems, which they may not get at home.

  3. Anti-Hoarder, it's funny that I just had a conversation with my husband in which he pointed out that I may be a tad TOO attached to my routines. All things in moderation, I suppose! I'm fortunate to be married to someone who can show me the joys of spontaneity. But since you have that down already....

    I'm far from an expert, but I would say just start small. Choose one thing that's really bothering you and work on that until it's a habit. Maybe you lose your keys every day, and could solve that stressor by putting a basket by the front door and dropping them in every time you come home. Or maybe, like me, you need to do the dishes immediately after making dinner, or else they fall off your radar. Whatever it is, start small and be gentle with yourself. It takes some effort to break out of childhood ruts, but it definitely can be done.

  4. I heart this: "...to create a routine that takes into account what I actually can control, while letting go of the things that are simply uncontrollable."