As soon as I found out that I was pregnant with Samuel, I started reading about everything that had to do with pregnancy and motherhood.
I always try to understand the different methods out there and choose one that will work for us. Then I tweak it and make it our own.
I implement it in a way that fits us, and our routine at home.
But you know what?
I think I ended up getting so attached to methods, what’s right and what’s wrong, that I ended up failing to go with the flow, sometimes.
I became too methodical, too systematic.
Having a routine is good
I just want to make something clear.
I do believe in having a routine and I definitely think kids need to have one to feel safe. Following a similar daily schedule, that can be somewhat predictable for them, is good!
Consistency is a good thing for kids because they know what to expect.
But sometimes, we can get so caught up on that, that we fail to see what’s right in front of us in the here and now.
We fail to see their cues trying to tell us they might need something different today.
Each day is different.
Each day is filled with different events and emotions. So it makes sense that every now and then, we’ll need to change things up a bit or accommodate a different need.
So, breaking the routine can also be a good thing
I know this might sound confusing when I just said that routines bring a certain sense of safety to kids, but I will give you two examples of when breaking our routine was a good thing for me and my kids.
Sometimes it can be hard to discern when breaking the routine can be positive. But with time, you’ll start noticing when you and your kids both need a little break.
These two times I decided to break the routine with Sam, were so special that I will never forget them! They gave me joy and a sense of freedom I never thought I would find in such simple things!
#1. Letting him eat a meal (NOT) at the table
I’ve read many times when searching for toddler feeding, that mealtime is a special time. That we should make our kids understand that it’s not the time to play, watch TV or walk around the house.
It’s time to eat.
Therefore, we shouldn’t let anything steal their attention from the meal so that they can have a full experience. I totally agree with that, and that’s what I do and teach them.
But… I ended up following all of this so strictly, that I had never ever given him even a little snack anywhere other than on his booster seat, at the table. Unless, of course, we were out of the house.
I’d always follow the same steps and make sure there was nothing to disrupt.
Then, when he was around 16 months old, I simply picked up a banana, unpeeled it, and didn’t cut it as I would normally do. I just started eating it and sharing it with him, who was standing up and walking around.
It was something so simple and silly, that now reading it, it kind of sounds weird that I had never done it before! We laughed a lot together sharing that banana. It was so good for the both of us, that I don’t know why it took me so long to do it.
It was a special moment of bonding that we had.
Motherhood is all about the joy-filled moments found in the simple thingsClick To Tweet
#2. Letting him take a nap (NOT) at the usual spot
I have also learned from all my readings, and experience that having a sleep routine is fundamental.
It’s nice to have a little going-to-bed ritual so that they understand what’s coming next. It’s ideal that it happens in the same place, the same way, every day. This can make bedtime and naptime a lot less stressful and more enjoyable because again, they know what’s coming.
This has always worked very well for us, and it’s been very true. I shared all about it here!
So true, that I had never freed myself from following it.
Until 2 years ago, when following all of it did not work out well! I tried to put him down for a nap, in his own crib after lunch. I had him in my arms in the rocking chair, just like I did every single day. But it didn’t work.
I got really frustrated. I had been there for so long, but he was fighting it. Finally, I got up and let him be.
Later during that day, when I noticed he was really sleepy, I decided to be bold and try something new that my gut was telling me to do. I finally decided to let go of being so methodical and just did whatever was in my heart.
I quit trying to be perfect and decided to follow my mama instinct! I turned the lights off in the living room, lay down with him on the couch, tucked him in with a blanket, and in less than 5 minutes he was in deep sleep!
I relaxed and enjoyed the warmth of his breath on my chest. I felt so good, so accomplished, and so free!
There’s freedom in breaking the rules of motherhood
At that moment, I realized that breaking the routine and the rules of motherhood (from time to time) was liberating.Click To Tweet
I remember that when Sam was a newborn I used to nap like that with him. Newborn life is just so crazy, that it takes time to really establish a routine.
I guess we have our highs and lows and we bounce from extreme to extreme in our motherhood journey.
But we learn.
During the cycles of motherhood, we learn new things several times trying to find the right balance. And thus, we rediscover and reinvent ourselves daily.
Have you ever gotten so caught up in the methods and schedule that you failed to be present in the here and now? How did you realize that you were being too strict? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!