Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Establishing a Routine

I think most people prefer to have some type of routine to their lives. I certainly do. While I like some variety, I need a certain stability to my life, a pattern around which to organize my time and activities. Without this I feel lost and without focus and my time and energy seems to dissipate with limited effect. This in turn frustrates me.

The last month or two our family has lacked any rhythm to our lives. Summer itself is hard enough, when the children are out of school and lose that familiar (if not particularly favored) routine. On top of that we disrupted our lives for several weeks as we packed up to move, all the while undergoing the uncertainty of not knowing for sure if and when we would leave. Finding out that we were indeed going didn't really remove the basic issue of lack of routine. If anything it only worsened it.

After arriving in our new old home we spent the first week scrubbing, cleaning and shopping, trying to get our house in order. That was followed by a week of scrubbing, cleaning and trying to get the kid's school in order. Still no routine. Some days went more smoothly than others, but the lack of a rhythm to our life definitely made itself felt.

Finally this week the kids began school again. I won't pretend that they are excited about this, but I sure am. With the beginning of school we begin to reestablish some pattern to our lives. We have more pieces to pull together, but this first piece helps significantly. Even though the children won't admit it, I firmly believe that they will also benefit from having a routine to their days. No longer will they pass their time aimlessly, playing video games, reading books and telling us how bored they are. They will still have plenty of free time, but not so much that they cannot fill it. Being at school also gives them more opportunity to interact with other children--an outlet they definitely need.

Routine can be a good thing. Without it we lack boundaries. We lack a framework around which to structure our lives. Admittedly routine can become deadening and restrictive as well and I don't want to go that far with it. But somewhere in the middle there is a healthy balance. We've been way out on one end of the scale. It's good to be moving back toward the center.

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