With the news of my first pregnancy, I was the anxious mother-to-be, fretting over the perfect child (as if such a thing exists)! Naturally, I sought the advice of many, but heeded the wisdom of my aunt the most; and her advice was simple – read “Gina Ford” – a British Nanny who seemed to have cracked the code and was a world-renowned baby and toddler whisperer.
I reverently bought ALL her books and read each of them fervently many times over highlighting, tagging, and cross-referencing. By the time I was 6 months pregnant, I could virtually recite the content by heart. Honestly at the time, the content seemed extremely complex and daunting.
Dor’yen was born exactly on his due date... a quick and easy delivery. He was indeed the easiest baby any new mother could hope for. He was an easy-going and wide-eyed baby who easily fit into Gina Ford's schedules, and I was able to meal measure with ease.
Every time he graduated to the next schedule, I was thrilled; and as the book promised, his sleep time, tummy time, wash time… every single moment... was scheduled – including mom’s mealtimes. I was never sleep deprived or stressed and with the exception of the rare colic, Dor’yen was a happy content baby.
Back to reality…
Living in Dubai, UAE, and balancing a career as a banker meant that I needed to get back to my job and functioning optimally... in just 45 days. I had made arrangements for childcare in the form of a nanny - as both my partner and I had full-time jobs.
My only solace was that Dor’yen being on a routine meant that I could call home at intervals, and I could anticipate what to expect. I could monitor his meals and how much he ate during the day and if everything was flowing as it should. This offered me peace of mind to focus on my work and get back into the flow of a challenging banking job.
Two kids later, juggling a job, a side hustle, a yoga journey, and life in general, a routine for me today is so much more prevalent than when I was soothing a newborn to sleep. Today, a routine means getting things done, keeping the family running, fed, watered, educated, and entertained.
I kid you not… my study door is my bulletin board where I have scheduled all individual and family activities. I love that we have our individual and scattered routines; but it all blends together during mealtimes and family time, so we all stay connected and on the same page.
We always know what we are doing as individuals and as units
We don’t spend excess time on trying to fit everyone’s day or missing crucial appointments or activities
Work blocks for the adults and study blocks for the kids means we have conditioned our thoughts and we settle in better for focused and in-depth work
I rarely get interrupted during my work block with an “I am bored” because all activities are scheduled, and the kids know what they should be doing at a given moment in time... making them disciplined and independent at the same time.
Screen time, reading time, and outdoor activities are all scheduled and it's easier to administer, as are timeouts in taking away screen and device time.
Family time is focused and unencumbered – no one is preoccupied with thoughts of work or glancing at their phone – we are all present in the moment
On a more micro level - my workday is also segmented with time blocks, and you can read how it is done in our blog “The Art of Time-Blocking and Making It Work for You.”
- Some may argue that routine is the death of spontaneity
- Disruptions cannot be accommodated
- Requires discipline to implement and can be easy to fall out of
The Hybrid Routine...
I have tried various versions of routines and found often that the rigid ones fail. I have wound up at a perfect hybrid that suits me where... at various points in the day... I have woven in buffers for time and allowance for delays that simply allow me to shed a portion of my routine which was disrupted. I then continue on to the next time block with little-to-no disruption.
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Written by Tatum De Souza