Posts tagged scheduling
Making Peace with the Long Days
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So here's the thing. Last month was intense. Like super intense. The days felt long and overwhelming without Matt. My nerves felt raw. Tiny sparks of frustration that I could normally diffuse, turned into wildfires beneath my skin, and tempted me to eat dinner in our bedroom with a fan turned on high to drown out the chaos of two little boys.

Not. Good.

Probably normal.

But still. 

Not. Good.

And so I spent the last few weeks trying to bring a little peace to our home.

I called a sweet friend, who has walked through the chaos raising four tiny people into functioning adults, and we brainstormed peace together. It wasn't rocket science. But I seriously could not have gotten there on my own... because sleep deprivation. 

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And here's what we've got.

All of my senses were flooded constantly. Noise. The noise level in our home with a toddler who loves to sing at the top of his lungs (adorable, very, but people, I'm human and can only take so many renditions of The ABC's and Twinkle Twinkle at max volume). Touch. Love nursing Milo. Just love it. Love snuggling and wrestling and crawling around on the floor with Oliver. But I am touched ALL DAY LONG. Clutter. So. Much. Laundry. Just so very many onesies and blankets and strawberry stained toddler T-shirts.

So here is peace.

I took a look at all the intense sensory input I had during the day and brainstormed how to lower the volume. Visually. Auditory. Physically. Even my sense of smell.

We've got lavender in the Scentsy. Laundry I can't get to is closed behind the guest bedroom door. Toys are put up before Oliver's rest. Whining and screaming and fussing is dealt with swiftly. Calm music is playing non stop in the living room.

And schedule. I've given us a rhythm for our days. The days felt LONG and unstructured. Empty hours I was trying to fill... which was just daunting. I didn't realize how desperate Oliver and I both were for a rhythm. It's not for every home, or every family... but oh how much calmer and more cheerful my toddler has been since we've made a rhythm.

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Here is what it looks like roughly:

Wake: TV time

8:30 Breakfast

9:00 Quiet play in bedroom

9:30 Outside Time (Walk, Park, Back yard)

10:30 Mommy's helper & Free play

11:30 Table time with Mommy (messy crafts and learning activities)

12:00 Lunch

12:45 Books

1:00 Rest 

3:00 Snack and Special Time with Mommy

3:30 Free play

4:00 Back yard

5:00 TV time

6:00 Dinner

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I'm not a stickler on times. And there are mornings when we are grocery shopping or on an adventure or having a playdate. But when we are home, this is our rhythm. And it fits like a glove. And it's as calming to Oliver as being swaddled is to Milo's little nervous system. It helps me move through the day with more purpose... and to be honest, efficiency. 

And we are feeling better. And we are having more peaceful moments back to back. And we are breathing deeper.

And the behavioral health therapist in me may or may not be making a visual schedule for Oliver. Because that is how I roll.

And we are still looking for ways to make peace with the long days. And Matt & I are praying peace over our home and creativity for my momma heart. 

I would LOVE to hear what brings peace to your home. Seriously. We have so much room to grow and so many years to do it. 

What about the plan?
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 I am unapologetically a planner. I was raised in a family of planners, who no doubt, are decedents of planners themselves. I can't help it, I like a good plan. I like to know when and where. I like to know how long. I like to know what next (and then after that? and after that?). I like maps with highlighted routes. I like schedules. I like it written down. I like to go on trips with itineraries. I like to stand at the entrance of the amusement park and decide on the order of which we will see the attractions. I like to wake up on a Saturday and ask Matt, "What do you want the day to look like?" Not that we have to be busy doing something... I'm happy to have a lazy Saturday doing nothing... if 'nothing' is what we plan.

There is something extraordinarily reassuring about a plan.  All my friends who work with kids on the autism spectrum know where I'm coming from (or at least the kids they work with do!) Plans are comforting. They help us know what to expect... which does wonders for the high-strung, anxiety-driven, type A personality inside some of us.

Matt is something of a converted planner. I used to drive him crazy with my anxious questions about 'the plan.' At first he adapted to it for my sake... and at this point I'm pretty sure he has incorporated it into his lifestyle... at least as far as I'm concerned.  

You know what's sure to disrupt clean, organized and planned days?

Babies. 

On our fridge, under a magnet that was included with Oliver's bedding (what?), hangs Oliver's feeding schedule. I read that keeping babies on a specific schedule for feeds is good for their metabolism... and their sleep... and their Type A mommas. And so we have a schedule hanging on the fridge. Not that we need it there. I know it by heart (7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm, 10pm)... but I'm the type of planner who likes it written down.

The schedule is for Oliver.

And

The schedule is for me. 

And most days we are not quite on schedule. I find myself making thirty minute shifts here and there to try to get us back on schedule. 

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 I'm reading Spirit-led Parenting, by Megan Tietz and Laura Oyer, a book recommended on this blog 

It speaks directly to my Type-A soul, challenging me and convicting me.

"The first year should be less about training our babies and more about God developing us as parents and human beings. If we let Him, God can use that first intense year of baby's life to train  us to live a life that is fully surrendered to Him. To cultivate in us a trust that follows His lead, seeks Him first and understands His grace."

Plans are not so bad, inherently. And I suppose there is health somewhere in the middle of chaos and anal-retentive scheduling... And I'm looking for that healthy place.