The clock is the peacekeeper in our house. It helps me decide what to do and when to do it. Naptime will be the hill I live and die on. If you contact me around the hours of 1-3pm, I probably won’t respond because my brain is taking a much needed break.
I’m a Type A personality, albeit leaning more Type B since having kids (because, hello, they make you that way), and after having my first baby, I was overwhelmed. I felt like my head never quit spinning the first few months and I was holding on by a thread. I knew that if I didn’t figure something out quickly, my mind was going to be forever lost in the new baby abyss.
Enter: a schedule. It saved my sanity. I mean it.
After doing lots of research about age appropriate wake times and finding a routine I was comfortable with, my world did a 180. I was able to plan for the day and not fly by the seat of my pants. The best part was that my baby found a reliable routine and knew what to expect each day.
As an adult, there is something comforting in knowing what’s coming next and I know my kids find comfort in this too. They have little control over their lives at such a young age and I’ve found that sticking to a schedule makes our days easier and happier. When baby number two entered our house and I was up to my ears in balancing another human life on my plate, I really learned the value of having a schedule.
I will plan an entire day around nap time, just ask anyone that knows me.
As babies turn into toddlers and get down to only one nap a day, this does become easier. I don’t want to be locked down to my house all day just because of naps and I’ve found that if I follow the schedule my kids are used to, they still sleep when we are on the go. It may not be a full nap like they get at home, but they are so used to their schedules that their little bodies know when it’s time to sleep.
We travel a lot and it seems counterintuitive, but a schedule makes it so much easier to travel with young kids because they know what to expect. Don’t get me wrong; there are days that the schedule goes out the window for the most part, and if I’m being honest, the schedule is as much for me as it is for them. If we had a long day, I’ll let naps go longer or let them sleep in late the next morning. If we have family over, I’ll let my toddler stay up a little later because he has the stamina to do so. On the flip side, I’ll put the baby to bed early if she’s showing signs of being completely done with the day.
I want to make memories with my kids, so I try not to let the clock rule us too much, and I got better at this after the second baby, but I also know the limits of my kids and what they are accustomed to.
I’ll be the one asking for an early dinner when family wants to go out. I’m also not afraid to leave an event early in order to get my kids to bed because they’re used to an early bedtime. I used to think the clock dictated my life, but I’ve come to view it as my companion instead of my ruler. Getting my kids up at the same time each morning and putting them to bed at the same time each night helps all of our lives run smoother and keeps me sane.