Our (new) Routines

Routines are everything once you have children, right? At least that is what you get told. Over and over again. I know I have been, at least – and then I have felt guilty that we suck at sticking to routines in our family. Then again, maybe we are doing alright – maybe we aren’t that hopeless after all.

So, recently I asked a question in my Instagram story. I asked what you guys would like me to write about on this little blog of mine. Surprisingly I got quite a lot of answers. Thank you! One of the frequent answers revolved around our daily/weekly routines with the kids.

To be honest, the word “routine” in itself triggers something in me. You see, I do know it is beneficial for children to have routines. Especially the young ones. However, I also acknowledge that our life is chaotic, that I can be rather absent-minded and routines just doesn’t seem to fit in – at least those vert strict, long-term ones.

First of all, let me just debunk the notion that “routines are everything” a bit – set routines are nice, sometimes, but you can also live a pretty decent life without having every hour of your day revolving around them. Even after having kids. Just in case you, like us, are the not-so-organised kinda people and worried it all is going rumbling down due to your awesome ability to wing it at life. No worries, we usually wing it and make it work.

I do believe balance is key to everything, even parenthood routines.

All that being said, after adding a third child to the fam bam we have realised that having some kind of routine is – not only an advantage – but a necessity to keep our family’s wheels turning.

By now we have build up two daily routines that we strive to stick to all week.

Our Morning Routine

Our most important daily routine is definitely our morning routine. If we don’t stick to a routine in the mornings the situation easily gets out of control and no-one has clothes on by the time we need to get out of the door. Literally. Especially now that Abby has started school and we have to actually be somewhere (at school) at 9 am. every day, our morning routine is crucial. Crucial in order for us to get places on time and crucial to keep relatively sane in general. Our morning routine does create less discussions, stress and tantrums and more cooperation and happy faces all around.

The routine is pretty basic, I guess:

When the girls wake up – usually between 7-7.30 – they have to eat breakfast straight away. If not, it becomes a battle to get them to the table and they also get too hungry to function like actual human beings. Afterwards they clean up their bowls and put clothes on before having their teeth and hair brushed. Only then are they allowed to play. It sounds like a well-greased machine, in reality it is more like a rusty but trusty old road bike. Usually they don’t actually do all these steps immediately or on their own – BUT they know that they are supposed to, so they don’t argue (too much) when we remind them of doing them. They actually do it. Most days.

Since Abby started school we don’t have to leave home earlier than 8.30 am. so most mornings there is time for the girls to either sleep in or play before we need to go. They are not allowed to watch TV in the mornings during the week, so when they are more-or-less ready to leave the house they often sit and draw or play some kind of game until everyone is ready to go. Sounds harmonic, doesn’t it? It’s not always the case, but occasionally it can actually be really nice and calm in the mornings.

Usually our mornings don’t get stressful until I have to get myself and Lulu ready. There is basically no morning where I haven’t gotten in the car only to realise I have forgotten something and have to go back in. At least once. Yesterday I made a new record, I think. I went back in six times. Six times! To get a dummy, to get my coffee I had JUST poured, to get Abby’s school bag, to get Lulu’s bottle, to get my bag with my wallet in…and to close the door. Yep, I got in the car, started reversing – then saw that I had left the door completely open.

“Mummy, can you please stop forgetting things. How hard can it be to close the door. You do it every day.”

Abby Rose, 5 years old.

When I mention all those steps above I have left out Lulu, because she has her own kinda morning routine. Another factor that makes routines bloody difficult in a home with kids of different ages – one of them being a baby. Yet, also a reason why it is important that the big kids are relatively self sufficient. Lulu has to be fed her morning porridge, she needs to get changed at least once before we leave and she usually gets a bit tired at some point and then she will be nowhere but in the arms of Josh or me. The art is to have everything ready before she reaches this state – that rarely happens.

Night Time Routine

Our evening and night time routine is also relatively set. We try to eat together around our dining table every night. The TV is off and we usually have a really nice and hyggelig time doing our Three Happy Questions and talking about our day. Dinner often takes 45 minutes to an hour. Especially Abby LOVES this time of day and she can easily sit a the table for hours if we are up for it.

After dinner it is usually so late that we go more or less straight into our bedtime routine.

We don’t have a set bath routine. We have never had one. Our kids have baths when they are dirty or when they feel like having one. And then they also shower at the pool twice a week. It works for us. They don’t rely on a bath to calm them down for bed or anything like that.

Our bedtime routine consists of pyjamas, vitamins, teeth brushing, two books (one each for Abby and Billie) and then a song or five. Ususally we also massage/ground Abby while singing. And as a new addition we have started to put evening meditation stories on for them after we leave the room – it really works.

If both Josh and I are home for the bedtime routine one of us take care of the two big kids while the other one is “on” Lulu. She has gotten so big now that she actually has started to join the girls in the bedroom for their bedtime stories. It makes the entire process a bit easier. So far she is just playing in the room while they hear their stories, but if it evolves as it did with Billie she will eventually want to sit and listen as well.

Afterwards we put Lulu to bed in our bed. She has a bottle and we stay with her until she sleeps. Usually between 5-15 minutes.

Our Flexible Routines

As stated above we do actually stick to routines in the morning and in the evening. However, even they need to be relatively flexible to actually suit us. You see, it is a bit difficult for us to uphold set routines. We seem to just stick to something – until we don’t. Because our life simply has very little routine to it. Let me give you some examples:

Little things like, who leaves the house when, changes quite often. Then one of us needs to stay at uni longer than usual. Then we change the girls’ swimming lessons. Then Lulu gets older and needs to sleep at different times. Then we feel like going to the beach on a Friday. Then Josh works on a Tuesday night. Then he works all Saturday. Then he works Friday day. Then there’s exams. Then we sign the girls up for gymnastics. Then cricket starts. Then cricket ends. Then it’s uni-holidays. Then Josh has a – very exciting – job interview. And if that interview turns out as we hope – then all our routines will probably change once again.

I am actually quite okay with the way our lives unfold in terms of routines and flexibility. We do need some degree of routine, but we definitely also need to change things up sometimes. I would go insane if I had to go for the same walk everyday because that was Lulu’s routine.

Actually, when it comes to babies I know many people swear to very set routines. We are a bit opposite on that matter, I guess. We have never really stuck to any set routines with our babies and they have generally been, what you would call, “easy” babies. When they seem tired we put them to sleep in a bed, a car, a pram, wherever. When they are hungry we feed them. And they kinda just fit into all our other routines and daily chores. Babies are easy. Very easy compared to toddlers and … school kids(!)

New Times and Routines Ahead

Actually, Josh started working a couple of weeks ago – as a concierge next to his full-time uni studies. Up until now he has “only” been studying after we moved to Brisbane last January, so for him to start working as well is quite a different scenario for us. He will, obviously, be very busy as he gets less time to do his studying, so when he is home he is in his office a lot.

It has taken a bit of getting used to, but I am okay with it. I know it is not forever. Once we get to “the other side” things will be different. In fact, he has an interview with an engineering company next week. If he let me I will tell you more about it soon. It is very, very exciting for him – and us.

And obviously, if that interview turns out to Josh’s advantage it will mean that we need to change our routines once again. No biggie.

Our Week in Text – an overview

Abby has school Monday – Friday 9 am. – 3 pm.

Billie has preschool Monday-Wednesday.

Abby has swimming lesson on Tuesdays after school and cricket on Thursdays.

Billie has swimming lesson on Thursday at 10.30 am.

Josh has uni Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and usually Friday.

I have uni on Thursday.

As it looks now Josh works one evening shift during the week plus one or two day shifts Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

I will hopefully start working part-time relatively soon. For now my job is “only” to take care of everything home/kids related – it’s more than full-time.

For everyone interested I have written up our weekly program for this week underneath this cute photo of Abby wearing her rebel socks for school.

❤️

MONDAY

7 am.

Everybody wakes up, have breakfast, puts clothes on and play.

7.30 am.

Josh leaves for uni.

8.30 am.

I take all three girls in the car and drives to Abby’s school where we drop her off at 8.50 am. – in the class room, so have to get everybody out of the car to do so.

9 am.

Back in the car and off to preschool to drop Billie off. The preschool is around 15-20 minutes drive from our house in rush hour. I try to keep Lulu awake – usually I fail.

9.30 am.

Billie is in preschool and I am at the shops with Lulu doing grocery shopping for (some of) the week.

10.30 pm.

Back home with Lulu. Hopefully she is now asleep in her bed. If not, she’s eating or playing. Then we do our things like play in the garden, dance around, sleep, eat, drink, maybe we go the park, I do some house work if Lulu will let me and sometimes I even get to drink hot coffee and write a bit on my blog.

Lulu naps 2-3 times during the day atm. Usually she has a short nap in the car to or from preschool in the morning, then a longer nap around 11 am. and another late nap in the afternoon – this repeats itself every day.

2.30 pm.

I walk to the school with Lulu in the pram to pick up Abby at 3 pm. Monday is assembly day, so it is expected that parents come earlier than usual to show support for the kids and the school. We try to make it.

3.30 pm.

Home for a bit before we have to get Billie from preschool. I prepare a lasagna for dinner while Abby and Lulu play.

4.30 pm.

Josh is home from uni, so he can stay at home with Abby and Lulu while I go and get Billie from preschool. It takes roughly 20 minutes to drive there at this time of day.

5.30 pm.

Billie and I are back from preschool. The girls are playing and watching TV. Lulu is asleep. Josh is doing whatever. I am preparing dinner.

6.30 pm.

Family dinner. We try to eat together around our dining table every night. The TV is off and we usually have a really nice and hyggelig time doing our Three Happy Questions and talking about our day. Dinner often takes 45 minutes to an hour. Especially Abby LOVES this time of day and she can easily sit a the table for hours if we are up for it.

7.30 pm.

Bedtime routine starts. Pajamas, vitamins, teeth brushing, book reading, song singing. Lulu tags along in the girls’ bedroom.

8-8.30 pm.

Abby and Billie are in their beds listening to night time meditation stories. Hopefully falling asleep within 15-30 minutes. Probably will come out at least once to have a drink or a cuddle or to tell a secret.

Lulu gets a bottle in her (our) bed and usually falls asleep within 15 minutes. We stay with her until she sleeps.

9 pm.

All girls are usually, finally, asleep. The much needed adult time kicks in. Time to clean up, do uni work, read and/or fall asleep to a series on the lounge.

11 pm.

Over and out! I try to be in bed no later than 11 pm. every day. If not, I will be a grumpy face all day next day.

TUESDAY

7 am.

Everybody wakes up, eats breakfast, put clothes on, plays.

8.30 am.

Josh and Abby leaves on their bikes for school and uni. I take Billie and Lulu in the car to drop Billie off at preschool.

9.30 am.

Back home with Lulu. We do our things – see Monday. Hanging out with a baby is iterative, I tell you.

2.30 pm.

I pick Abby up from school in the car with Lulu.

3.30 pm.

After getting Abby from school we pick Billie up from preschool and go to the pool for Abby’s swimming lessons.

4 pm.

Abby has her swimming lesson and I am in the pool playing with Lulu and Billie.

Josh goes straight from uni to work.

Lulu and Billie fall asleep in the car on the way home from the pool.

5.45 pm.

We are back home. Kids are hangry. I prepare left overs for dinner.

6.30 pm.

Family dinner. Even when Josh are at work at dinner time we still do our best to stick to our dinner tradition/routine.

7.30 pm.

Bedtime routine starts. Without Josh at home it can be a bit harder to get it done especially if Lulu is clingy. But they will eventually get their stories.

8 – 8.30 pm.

All girls are usually in their beds by now, stories have been read, songs have been sung. Since Lulu and Billie fell asleep in the car on the way home from the pool they are not tired. At all. Abby falls asleep in 10 minutes listening to meditation stories.

9 pm.

Billie and Lulu are finally falling asleep – little fighters. I am done!

10.30 pm.

Josh comes home from job. I go to bed.

WEDNESDAY

7 am.

Everybody wakes up, eats breakfast, puts clothes on, plays.

8.30 am.

Abby rides her bike and I take Lulu in the pram and walks to the school.

Josh drops Billie off at preschool before going to uni.

9.10 am.

I am at a philosophy work-shop with Abby (and Lulu) in Abby’s school. It is a so-called philosophy school and I am here to learn more about what that actually means – and how they practice it.

11 am.

Home and Lulu is sleeping in our bed. I blog.

2.30 pm.

I walk with Lulu in the pram to the school to pick up Abby

3 pm.

Abby, Lulu and I go to the park to have a play and meet up with Josh who is getting home from university soon.

4 pm.

Josh is home and he takes Lulu and Abby in the car and drives to pick up Billie from preschool.

FREEDOM! I am, for the first time this week, child free. I go for a run/walk (after preparing dinner, but of course) by the river. Shit, I love this beautiful place we live in!

6.30 pm.

Everybody is home. Dinner is on the table and it’s family dinner time.

7.30 pm.

Bedtime routine starts. Josh is on the ball tonight.

8 pm.

Girls are in bed. Even Lulu (see I don’t actually know this yet, but I hope….)

Kid free time for the rest of the night. Both Josh and I have a lot of uni work to do, so that is what we are doing until bedtime. It is actually pretty hyggeligt when we are both studying in the same room at night time. Somehow it feels a bit like we are “just” students again. Students without three kids sleeping next door.

11 pm.

Zzzzzzz

THURSDAY

7 am.

Everybody wakes up, eats breakfast puts clothes on, plays.

8.30 am.

I leave with Abby on our bikes. I drop her off at school at 8.55 am. and goes straight to uni from there. This is “my day” at the university. I love it!

10.30 am.

Josh is at the pool with Billie and Lulu for Billie’s swimming lessons. They all have a swim.

3 pm.

Josh takes Billie and Lulu to Abby’s school. Abby has cricket from 3 to 4 pm. in the school’s oval. Parents have to be there to watch.

6 pm.

My day at uni finishes and I ride my bike home. Am home around 6.30 pm. just in time for…

6.30 pm.

Family dinner

7.30 pm.

Bedtime routine.

8 – 8.30 pm.

Abby and Billie are in their beds listening to night time meditation stories. Hopefully falling asleep within 15-30 minutes. Probably will come out at least once to have a drink or a cuddle or to tell a secret.

Lulu gets a bottle in her (our) bed and usually falls asleep within 15 minutes. We stay with her until she sleeps.

9 pm.

All girls are usually, finally, asleep. The much needed adult time kicks in. Time to clean up, do uni work, read and/or fall asleep to a series on the lounge.

11 pm.

Zzzzzzzz

FRIDAY

7 am.

Everybody wakes up

Josh leaves for work.

8.30 am.

I walk with Lulu in the pram, Billie and Abby on scooters to the school and drop Abby off.

9.30 am.

Home again with Lulu and Billie. Lulu has a nap around 10-11 am. for an hour or two. Meanwhile I play with Billie and/or she watches a bit of TV while I do chores. Sometimes we go out for a while, maybe to a friends house or South Bank. We have also gone surfing sometimes.

2.30 am.

I walk with Lulu in the pram and Billie on her scooter to the school to pick Abby up.

3.30 am.

We are all home – including Josh from work. Let the Friday begin.

6 am.

Dinner – usually something easy and child friendly because today we eat in from of the TV for our…

6.30 pm.

Firday movie and Friday candy time

9 pm.

Movie has ended and the girls are going to bed. They don’t get stories on Fridays.

Time to watch a movie and have a beer, I think!

11 pm.

Zzzzzzzz

SATURDAY

7.30 am.

Everybody wakes up. The breakfast routine is the same on the weekends, but they don’t have to get dressed immediately.

8 am. – 12.30 pm.

Free playtime for everyone. We tidy and clean a bit. Do some garden work. Lulu has a nap.

12.30 pm.

Josh leaves for work.

3 pm.

I drive with the girls to Enoggera Dam to meet up with some friends for a swim.

5.30 pm.

I drive to said friends’ house for dinner and hygge and beer.

9.30 pm.

Josh comes to our friends house after work and we all go home together. All of our children are still awake.

10.30 pm.

Good night

SUNDAY

7.30 am.

Everybody wakes up.

9 am.

We pack the car for a day of playing, swimming and surfing at the beach

10 am.

We leave home just in time for Lulu’s nap. We have a 1.5 hour trip ahead of us. Currumundi Beach bound.

12 – 5 pm.

Living the good life at the beach. How I love this place!

5 – 7.30 pm.

Driving home with a McDonald’s pit stop along the way. Sunday traffic back to Brisbane is a bit of a killer. But still so worth it.

8 pm.

Kids are in bed, having their bedtime stories and songs.

Billie and Lulu slept in the car so they are wide awake.

9.30 pm.

Billie and Lulu will not fall asleep. I go and lay with them in our bed. It works – and I stay in here with them.

Zzzzzzzz

And that’s a wrap for that week!

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