step 01 // narrow your playing field
step 02 // don’t victimize yourself
step 03 // make yourself a priority
step o4 // get away
step 05 // put down your phone
step 07 // go to church
step 08 // share the care
step 09 // wait
step 06 // break routine
Everyone feels stuck in the daily grind. It gets monotonous and we want out. When you become a parent, that grind gets heavier, with seemingly endless things to do, and you can find yourself stuck in a very regimented routine that leaves little room for spontaneity and fun. A lot of people who are childless get frustrated when their friends have children and fall off the face of the earth. While these friends maybe cannot understand what life is like with children, is their frustration not a little merited? Is it really that hard to hang out every once and a while? Well, the answer, I think, is both yes and no. Yes, it is hard to hang out when your childless friends ask you to hang out at 9:00 pm on a week night, or are relatively insensitive to the lifestyle changes that have to be made when a little one comes around. Even on Saturdays, I am in bed at 9:30 pm, snuggling my book and flirting with a REM cycle. BECAUSE CHILDREN WAKE UP BLOODY EARLY. LIKE 5:30 AM!!!! And yet, no it’s not really that hard to hang out. You don’t have any plans and your day is free, but we can get tunnel vision and feel restrained to a routine that is completely child centered and inflexible. Saying “no” is just so much easier.
Here I have two examples of Saturday routines. One follows a strict routine at home, where life is pretty much the same day in – day out. The other, not so much, and sounds like a truly fantastic day.
Life Ruining Saturday Routine
6:00 wake up
7:00 same ol’ breakfast
9:00-11:00 First nap (workout/ shower/ nap/ etc)
11-11:30 play/watch cartoons/read the newspaper
12:15 play/watch the news/read a blog/Twitter
1:30-2:30 Second nap (do something productive)
2:30-5:00 play/fold laundry/watch a youtube video/snack/clean
5:00 start dinner
6:00 eat dinner
6:45 clean dinner
7:15-8:00 Bath, pj’s, book, baby bedtime
8-9:30 veg on the couch and eat ice cream
9:30 read a book & bed
YOLO Saturday Routine
6:00 Wake up
7:00 Make a big breakfast together
9:00-11:00 First nap (throw in a load of laundry/workout/shower/pack for the day/put clothes in dryer)
11:00 Meet at your friend’s house/catch up/laugh
12:00 lunch and margarita’s (because it’s noon)
1:30-2:30 Second nap (you brought a pack and play and the baby monitor. You knew you bought that for a reason) Play game that doesn’t involve too much shouting. Like this new one Jazz bought me for Christmas.
2:30-5:00 Go to the park with friends/PBR/soccer/frisbee/playground/snacks (in the winter go to the art museum or something. Common! You’re creative!)
5:00-7:00 early dinner at local restaurant or back to your friends for a cook out
7:15-8:00 Go home, pj’s, bath, book, baby bedtime
8:00-9:30 Talk to your partner about the books you’re reading right now over a glass of wine and folding laundry
9:30 book & bed
Ok, ok, the first routine isn’t going to ruin your life. Everyone needs weekends like that and a day at home seems like the funnest thing on the planet. That’s just life. I’m not trying to be unrealistic. But if you take the risk and break your routine often, your life will feel less paralyzed by tasks and a schedule and a whole lot more rich and full of people you love. Once again, take responsibility for your life and hang out with people. Life will go on if your house is not spotless, but if you never leave your house life will feel like a never ending task.
Break the routine and live!