We’ve been living with the in-laws for about six weeks now and it has been a surprisingly easy transition. I had images of me skulking off to scream into a pillow or hide a quivering lip (crying is my go-to in times of stress!) Alas, there has been no screaming or crying (apart from when Hook died in Once Upon A Time – I bawled like a toddler with a broken breadstick).
I thought I would feel claustrophobic, living in someone else’s home; but again I have surprised myself. We all seem to co-exist rather splendidly; each of us interacting as easily as if we had always been here (I’m sure the in-laws will have a humongous party the moment we leave, however they are doing a great job of hiding their disdain for the intrusion!)
One thing that has caught my attention is how clean and organised Nanna’s house is. I am in awe of what she achieves on a daily basis without looking busy, whilst still having time to knock out a couple of Sudokus.
This got me to thinking about what makes Nanna so efficient and it all came down to one thing – routine.
Routine (/ruːˈtiːn/) A series of actions regularly followed
Routine, by definition, is a series of actions regularly followed; but in reality, routine is so much more. It provides stability to your day, a checklist of life and a little something to fall back onto when you feel a bit lost. Just like with happy toddlers, a well-established routine is comforting and reliable. The Lord and the General cruise through their days, content in the knowledge that when Daddy comes home from work they will wrestle until the bath is ready. Then, it’s teeth, book and bedtime.
Apply that in the grown-up world and the principles are the same. The awesome blog, The Self-Styled Life, wrote about this a few months back. Specifically, she looked at morning routines and highlighted that a daily focus on oneself as the foundation of several successful women.
Now, not for one minute do I believe I can suddenly adopt a life-changing routine, become a 5am yogi master and have all my laundry done by lunchtime. What I can achieve though, is little steps towards being more efficient. I cannot change the fact that my days are still dictated by the weather, the mood of the teacup humans and how much sleep I managed to get the night before. What I can do is look at what I want to achieve and begin to adjust my mindset to get it done.
I’m not about to turn into a self-righteous cowbag and tell you what should be important to you and point out why your life is shit (we’ve all read those articles that make you doubt your own name!) This is about me and my life; if it fits with yours too, then let’s have a glass or three of vino together sometime. For me, there are four important areas in my life and all of them deserve a routine:
Since the arrival of the miniatures, my world has revolved around ‘early years enrichment activities’ (please translate as singing shitty songs, reading annoying books and visiting way too many playgrounds) finding the cheapest shop for half-decent nappies and worrying about whether I have permanently effed-up my kids.
As they become more human-like (and therefore less likely to break as a result of my crap parenting) I can begin to focus on more substantial things. They already have a good bedtime routine but with school just around the corner I need to put aside time to focus on more scholarly pursuits.
Routine No. 1 – Daily reading with the man cubs (in addition to bedtime stories)
Mr. British Maple:
As any parent knows, the moment that first bubba ‘pops’ out the only thing you can kiss is goodbye to your romantic dates, lazy Sundays and overall sex appeal/drive. For all you ‘will-I-ever-get-my-life-back-and-want-to-wear-makeup-again’ newbies, there is hope! As your saplings grow, so does your desire to be something (anything) other than a regurgitated food-magnet. And this is where Mr. British Maple comes into it (not the regurgitated food bit – eeeuw!). It is so important to spend time being a couple again. If you can get a regular date night – amazing, but even a night in can be good if you set aside time for it. Switch off the TV, talk, play cards, get (responsibly) tipsy, whatever you fancy – just do it together.
Routine No. 2 – Be Mrs. British Maple at least once a week
As you know, I don’t really have my own home just yet but it’s never too early to establish a routine! I’ve learnt a lot whilst living by Nanna’s house rules (purely custom and practice, you understand, no code of behaviour on the kitchen door!) Nanna never leaves dishwasher-able items on the counter, and always cleans the bathrooms on a Friday. She never walks past a spill without cleaning it and puts out fresh tea towels once a week.
Nanna is the Harley Davidson of housekeeping and I am wobbling along on a balance bike. For now, I need to watch, learn and repeat!
Routine No. 3 – Put everything back where it came from and quickly!
Routine No. 4 – Tidy up before going to bed
Sadly, this is an easy one to forget; especially if (like me) you weren’t a big self-investor in the first place. I’ll be the first person to admit that I have let myself go in epic proportions. My skin resembles an old potato, my tummy is more of a barrel than a washboard and my idea of making an effort is shaving my ankles when I wear cropped trousers.
Flight attendants have been subliminally chastising us for decades with their mantra of ‘fit your mask before helping others’ and finally I understand what they mean. A happy mama equals happy kidlets equals happy hubby. Schimples.
Of all my routines I think this will be the hardest for me to stick to but for my own health (and wardrobe) I must make changes.
Routine No. 5 – Do my core breathing exercises every day (I have quite bad Diastasis Recti – another story for another post!)
Routine No. 6 – Eat three meals a day (so simple, yet so often forgotten)
Let’s start with six and work up to more when I am getting ample sleep!