Back to the Routine: Is it Working For You?

Back to the Routine: Is it Working For You?

Back to SchoolThe streets were bustling this morning. Mothers and fathers were holding hands with their little ones as they walked to the neighborhood elementary school. The cross guards were busy directing traffic, while parents, children and dogs cross the street.

It is the first day of school.

My daughter set her alarm at 6 am, and was up on time. (Yay!) I take that as a miracle, since this is a shock for my daughters “sleeping in” system. She had already picked out her outfit for the first day of school. She was ready and we were off and running. I drove her to school in the normal way and everything seemed pretty routine, except that today is her first day as a junior in High School.

I came back to the house and it was quiet. I drank a cup of coffee and enjoyed the silence Big Time. It’s been a great summer and I have had a blast with my daughter but I am doing the happy dance that school has started. My daughter was getting bored and I was ready to get back to my routine.

For many mothers the first day of school is a happy day. You get your time and space back. You can relax because you know your daughter is back in her structured routine and you can get back to yours.

But before you jump head first into your ‘school year’ routine, make sure it is a routine you want.

It’s easy to fall into routines that are not working for you. You may be aware of some routines and not be conscious of others. Because the fall semester is busy, it’s easy to go on automatic pilot and just push through all the things you have to do. This does not make for an enjoyable year.

Now is a great time to create a new routine that benefits you and your family!

4 Ways to Create a Routine You Want

1. Decide you are in charge.

Are you in charge of your daily or weekly routines?

Ask yourself these questions. Who created this routine? Is this a routine I want?

Many times a routine gets created by someone else in your family. As one of my clients said, “It feels like everyone else is driving my life.”

Be aware of–

  • Who is driving my life?
  • What are the routines in my life?
  • Are they working for me?

Take charge of creating new routines that work for everyone in the family including you.

You can still consider everyone needs in the family, and not sacrifice yourself.

2. What do you want for this year?

Routines help you create the life you want. For example, let’s look at the morning routine.

Ask yourself what do you really want for the mornings? How do you want them to go?

You might sayI want my mornings to be peaceful. I want to be prepared. I want to be centered. I want to be loving towards my daughter.

No mother would sayI want to get in a huge argument with my daughter. I want to get angry. I want to be stressed and impatient.

Once you know what you want, you can create a routine that makes that possible.

3. What is not working?

Ask yourself what is not working? Let’s revisit the morning routine.

Think about your morning routine. What is not working? Here is another way to look at this.

What morning pattern is not working?

When my daughter was 12, I was in a pattern of briefing my daughter about her day on the way to school. Though I had good intentions, this was a terrible time to try to talk with her. She was nervous about school and would snap at me. My automatic behavior would try to push her to answer my questions about homework or whatever. This made for a very unpleasant drive to school.

4. What would you like to change?

Look at your morning routine objectively. It helps when you don’t take things personally.

Many, many mothers get in power struggles with their daughters in the morning. One huge reason for this is that your daughter is not a morning person. There are developmental reasons why your daughter wants to sleep later. There have been many sleep studies on teens that recommend that school should start at a later time because of their physiology.

Knowing that it is not personal, allows you to detach from the struggle. Now it’s time to create a new strategy by changing your routine.

Going back to my situation with my daughter, I realized that what I wanted more than briefing my daughter before school was to enjoy her and be at peace. For this to happen I needed to change my routine or pattern. The new pattern was that we listened to music on the way to school. This calmed her down and allowed us to have a peaceful goodbye. Later, when I picked her up from school, she would rattle on and on without me having to probe.

This week spend 30 minutes and ask yourself these 4 questions. Create a new routine this school year where everyone wins.

  • rosemary

    Thank you again Colleen. We have just started senior year here WITH our high school daughter and it has been with a wonderful bustle of activities. I am amazed how well she is embracing and enjoying the new routine of senior responsibilities and tasks including those involved in preparing for those college apps. I have been through this with our now 20 year old son but this time has it’s own unique flavor. The stresses are as unique as the joys.She our daughter and full of all the uniqueness of being a girl through and through. That is why your article on routine is so powerful this morning. She is off and running to spend time with her freshman little sister for a fun day on her all girl’s Catholic campus and I actually had time for my morning on line reading and prayer retreat. I feel confident and extra happy with our new routine of activities mainly because she has a bevy of healthy, high school activities to enjoy during her day and if all other work is done then yes, on a weekend too. The routine involves listening more to eachother, discernment and very open communication. OUr days of commuting are over for now unless my husband and I feel she needs a little refresher in the above mentioned routine. So sorry to ramble here but I am finding so much peace and joy in our Sept. routine because of my daughter’s routine.I get to focus on getting back to the classroom(I teach music to grades K-8) and can’t wait for dinner time around the table each night when we get to see and hear her. God bless you Colleen. Enjoy Jr. year with your sweetie. It all goes by too fast. May you enjoy each moment between the ‘blinks’ that we are forced to take as we enjoy them growing.
    Rosemary Circo-mother of 2(college Jr. and HS Senior) and wife of 24 years

    August 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm

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