Before I became a mum the following sentences would often come out of my mouth…
“This baby is going to fit around me…”
“Oh no I won’t be a routine mum as you can’t do anything or can’t go anywhere…”
“Baby will have to learn to sleep wherever he is…”
“I’ll still come over for dinner, I’ll just put Jack to bed when I go to bed…”
Now on the flip side, I laugh at my former self. How naive I was.
When asked about going out for dinner the other day, I instantly found myself replying with, “Or you can come to me and I’ll cook.”
It must have been the panic in my eyes that made the person reply, “Oh are you worried about messing up Jack’s routine?”
In that instance it hit me – it’s happened, I’ve become a routine mum! And you know what, that person was bang on. Instant panic. No way could Jack not be bathed and in bed by 6.30pm. Nothing was going to come between me and our routine.
Since then all sorts have been swapped and changed just so we can stick to our routine. Jack’s recent jabs were booked in for 3.30pm. Knowing that after his last lot he had a mammoth three hour sleep, I just knew this would muck up bedtime. So what did I do? I called the doctor and rearranged for an earlier appointment. There have been many more shameful rearrangements but I’m not going to go into all of them as I really will look like I have a screw loose.
The worst part about being a routine mum is when Jack throws a curve ball and decides at 5pm he wants a nap. Again, instant panic.
“Pete, can you come and help?” I shouted up to him in his office one day when he was working from home.
Running down the stairs worried something had happened, Pete replied “What is it?”
“Jack’s fallen asleep and I don’t know what to do.”
Pete looked at me, sighed and laughed. “Wake him up then.”
“But he might cry.” I said in a bother, nervous about waking him as I’d upset him and nervous about not waking him as it was going to muck up the routine.
Now I’m not going to go into all the detail as it is rather boring, but in the end I decided to wake him up, quickly bath him, and get him into bed. Luckily we were ‘A’ ok and he slept through. Phew.
Now, before you think, “Oh dear what’s she got herself into.” I’ve recently had to learn to relax the routine on certain days as Jack’s been teething and his nap times have been all over the place. The other day he fell asleep at 5pm, but my poor little boy had been in so much pain that I felt he needed to be left to sleep as it was the first time he looked peaceful all day. He ended up sleeping until 7.30pm. Eek! Staying calm I completed the bedtime ritual of bath, bottle and bed, just at the later time of 8.30pm. It took him longer to settle and he didn’t get to sleep until 9.30pm, but thank goodness he still managed to sleep through until 6.30am.
It’s funny because when Jack was first born there was no routine. Not one day was the same. We were all over the place. We were happy with how things were. However, as the weeks went on Pete and I decided to get our evenings back, and that’s when the bath, bottle and bed routine began. More and more we started to notice Jack would show us the signs he was ready for this bedtime ritual and we ended up finding he’d sleep through the night (which was more likely down to the fact he’s bigger now, not the routine). But as new parents, once you start getting your sleep back the thought of not getting it again fills you with more fear than it did when you were used to getting up every night.
However, to allow us to have a life I’ve realised I’m going to have to learn to relax the routine. I mean for starters we’re off on holiday soon and the flight lands in Spain at 8pm – way past Jack’s bedtime! Mummy’s going to have to learn to take a chill pill.
I say all this and make noises to you all that I’m learning to relax the routine, when (I shouldn’t really admit it) I’ve just spent a whole morning reading about daytime nap routines as it’s been driving me crazy that they’re all over the place. The next thing I’ll find myself saying no to is coffee dates or classes for Jack at certain times because he’s napping…oh dear I’ll never leave the house until he goes to school! Friends and family, I’ll see you in four years time…
Love me and Jack (who I might add is currently catching some daytime zzz’s at not a routine time) xxx
P.S Reading this back I’ve just laughed at the amount of times I’ve said the word routine…oh I wish my former pre-baby self could have seen this!