Does the thought of finely tuned routine and rhythm make your heart sing, or do you balk in rebellion?
I can relate to both reactions, it depends on what’s going on, I’m a bit of a chameleon like that.
During Radical Self Care Project, an instagram prompt challenge I co-hosted last year, we dedicated a day to Routine and Rhythm where we asked participants how their routine and rhythm, or lack of, was linked to self care? We had a whole spectrum of responses—some folks love their routine, others loathe it. Ultimately there’s no right or wrong whether you have a routine or not, as long as it's existence, or lack of, is serving your mind, body and soul’s desires.
Sometimes I find the anchor of routine and rhythm deeply grounding and will follow my schedule to a tee. Other times, trying to stick to the plan I’ve made is like trying to drink my morning coffee without a vessel; messy and unsatisfying.
The natural chaos of mothering children is a force to honour and respect. A dear friend reminded me chaos is the natural state of the universe, which was an immensely soothing realisation. As I watched my house day in and day out turn to chaos, I spoke silently to myself; "this is the way of the universe." So comforting. And still, I try each night to methodically pack it all away, sometimes with the mess-creator, sometimes not.
The end of last year was a "go with the flow" kind of phase in my life. I was still adjusting to parenting two children full time, largely on my own, and all I could manage was to follow their lead, listen to my instincts and try to balance their needs with my own self care. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered “babies and children love routine” maybe it was a line from a book, maybe my mum friends had reinforced it. However, I watched the days unfold without any real rhythm, except that mornings started with breakfast and yoga, at wildly varied times, and at some point during the day there was quiet time for us all, perhaps a nap and a snuggle or a story time; and the day finished with dinner and bed. Meals and rests were the simplest of daily anchors, but everything in between during our sometimes 14 hour days, was unplanned. An activity would emerge, a catch up with a friend say, but the plan was often re-routed, sometimes cancelled and almost never went to plan, reinforcing my mantra to not have a plan, surrender to the chaos and go with the flow.
The major bummer in surrendering to chaos was that I was off my game domestically; laundry would get delayed- stinky- piled up to be washed and rewashed; dinners were sometimes seriously average; and my parenting wasn’t the best. Let’s face it, my goal each day was simply to get by, which looked like, loving my kids, feeding them and for my own sanity to practice yoga- in some form. I’d occasionally turn on the TV for my eldest (my biggest source of mummy-guilt) or throw us all in the bath, a pleasant and fun activity when things really hit the fan. There were spontaneous family dance parties, and equally a few times when all three of us sat in a heap crying! I surrendered to having any sort of schedule during the day and it worked, for the most part. We absolutely survived and we loved each other.
Now, perhaps it’s due to the surge of newness that a new year brings, or that my baby is getting older and I’m feeling more confident as a mum of two, but I’ve created a NEW weekly rhythm for us all. Library trips, park trips, cooking and Grandparent dates.
I realise if I’m going to be serious about this stay-at-home-mum gig, while also more actively focusing on not just maintaining, but growing my business, I’m going to have to up my game on the routine front. Going with the flow ain’t going to cut it. And so far, in testing the waters, I’ve found that by creating a mix of outings and adventures we all participate in, some quality one-on-one time with each of them, AND individual play time, so mummy can work; there is a greater sense of harmony. We all know what to expect, sort of. Chaos is still there, I’m just tuning in to the tides, knowing when to push on and when to surrender.
Abhyasa, Vairagya= Never give up, Always let go.
Feeling the desire to create your own NOURISHING RHYTHM & ROUTINE? I encourage you to explore your current daily routine from the early morning moments to the time right before bed and everything in between. Your routine is your foundation and within that foundation are two powerful players in self-care: sleep and nutrition. I invite you to gently take inventory on your current daily routine. What does your morning look like? Do you make enough time to eat and nourish yourself well throughout the day? What does your bedtime routine look like? Do you get enough sleep and wake up feeling rested? Are there ways you can infuse more love, care, and attention into your daily or weekly rhythm and routine, and what does that look like? A well-rested and fed human is a happy human! Adequate sleep and nourishing foods ground you in a strong self-care foundation. When your foundational needs are met, you are able to flourish, fly, and share your beautiful light with the world. Share with us your insights below, or on instagram with an accompanying picture, tagging it with #radicalselfcareproject. I look forward to hearing what you come up with!