02 March 2006

What routines work for you?

Whenever I meet a parent (most often a mom) who seems particularly organized, I'm always curious about the details -- how does she actually do it? Does she cook dinner every night? Does she sacrifice personal time? What are her routines?

Of course, different routines suit different family situations. Here's Sara's, which works for her two-working-parent family:

My husband and I have what we call the "24-hour baby routine" that basically splits our days at noon and alternates making each of us primary caregiver/organizer/provider for our daughter for a 24-hour period.  Kind of confusing?  Basically, one day my husband is responsible for "morning duty" which means waking up with baby, feeding her, dressing her, packing stuff for school, and taking her to school.  The same day I'm responsible for "evening duty" which means school pick up, making dinner, cleaning up from dinner, and prepping bottles for the next day.  The next day we switch, and I take morning duty (notice that I was responsible for making the bottles I needed to get her to school the next day...) and he takes evening duty.

For two full-time parents with slightly flexible work schedules, this works particularly well -- you can work late or get in early every day, if you need more sleep you can sleep in every other day, errands can be run on your "off" evening, etc. 

What routines work for you?

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A standing date on Saturday night... early. Let the babysitter do the bathtime, dinner and crazy hours. Then come home, watch a DVD when it is all quiet!!!!

Hattie... new blogazine motherpie

We have a similar routine of switching off (husband works, I'm SAHM). I get up with the twins in the morning half the week and he gets up with them the other half. (Or at least we try to do it that way). As for the evening routine, whichever adult happens to be home and and still has some energy left does dinner.

I'm a stay at home mom and I have a nice system of dividing the week into chore days. So, in addition to playing and caring for my nine month old and making sure dinner gets made, I do only one chore for each day of the week. That leaves the weekend to do family things.

My week goes something like this:
Monday - laundry.
Tuesday - bills and grocery shopping.
Wednesday - plan for the class I teach at night.
Thursday - clean the downstairs.
Friday - clean the upstairs.

One thing I have decided is that if the chore doesn't get done for the day, it waits until the next week. Letting things go has made me a better mom and wife.

My husband usually takes care of the baby when he comes home from work and once baby is in bed, we get some free time before we go to sleep.

Good luck with your routine!

I support Crissy here. What does it take to be a better parent and spouse? That is the question to ask. I think that great parenting involves the courage to be yourself, even if it means that others judge you for not following social norms. A parent who is comfortable in their own skin will raise babies that are comfortable in their own skin, and that will lead to something good for the world.

Our main schedule (remaining up until now with a 5-year-old) is alternating Saturday vs Sunday morning duty. Saturday is sleep-in day for one of us, Sunday is the shorter-sleep-in (since we get up for church), and we alternate weekends to give each other our fair share.

Flexibility is also key to successful routines -- it's a nice gesture to offer to give the other person a sleep-in if they've had a rough week, etc.

For us it was simply turning off the tv. I noticed during maternity leave that the days that "passed me by" were the days I had the tv on. I soon gave it up completely except for the evening news and a little big channel guilt pleasures. (the Big channels in my area are the History, TLC, etc.)

We have gotten in the habit of taking care of house and child business first before the tv gets turned on (we are news hounds in the evening)

For me I try breaking the house up into rooms, each day of the week excluding weekends I clean certin rooms like monday I'll clean the bathrooms, tuesday I do the bedrooms ect. ect. then on weekends I do laundry and spend time as a family. If one day I can't do a room, it just doesn't get done. Yes, there are days when my house looks like a crazy place, however anyone coming over who has kids can pretty much understand how that goes!

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