The first day of school photos have flooded Facebook in the past week or so. How is the new routine going? It doesn’t matter if you have just finished your first week of school or your third, you are already evaluating the new routine. What is working? What isn’t? Even asking yourself “Why does it seem impossible to have a normal routine every day?”
As I have talked with moms this past week I have identified a simple solution. Stop expecting perfection! Seriously, it really is that simple. Let’s focus on getting out the door in the morning on time. Everything seems to be going along great. Then just as it is time (you know the magic time when you MUST walk out the door or you will be late), you go through the check list of items out loud. Shoes on, keys, lunch . . . “Mom, I forgot my lunch.”
“What! Where is it?” you yell. Within a moment your child is back at your side with their lunch, and you fly out the door. You end up on time, but feeling stressed. All day you have that icky feeling of the hurried exit, the last thing your child remembers is you yelling! You ask yourself, “Why does it seem impossible to have a normal routine every day?”
You are expecting perfection. You are not remembering that it was a calm morning until that point. You don’t remember that the lunch was all ready and just sitting on the kitchen counter. You don’t give your child credit for knowing they were missing their lunch when you said it out loud. You just remember you yelled. You are focused on that one moment.
I believe you yelled because you expected perfection. Perfection is not possible. I know I am stating the obvious, but if you are NOT allowing time or energy for mistakes, then you are expecting perfection. Don’t beat yourself up, we all do it! Instead make a plan that allows for mistakes.
In the example above, the magic time needs to allow for the mistake. Moving the magic time to walk out the door up by just 2 minutes earlier, would allow time for the forgotten lunch. Without the feeling of a missed bus or late to school, you would be patiently waiting at the door for your child to return with their lunch. No yelling, perhaps even a word of praise for them remembering it.
Now as you ask yourself, “Why does it seem impossible to have a normal routine every day?," take a moment to reflect on the one task or time that is really the issue. Stop thinking of it as the whole thing is messed up. How can you allow for mistakes?
As you realize your frustration is expecting the impossible and you start to lower your expectations your routine does become easier. Radiate with the knowledge that you are ready for the unexpected.