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Do you live in CHAOS?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I just finished reading the article keeping the peace in this month's Mothering, about the 3 R's (rules, rituals and routines, none of which we really have) and I confirmed what I feared: we live in chaos. DH and I run our own business, and before DS we were used to skipping meals, sleeping late, living life as it presented itself. With DS we have tried to have some sort of routine, but it just doesn't work! I don't know if this is affecting him (he is almost 4) or not, he has some tantrum issues once in a while, but I don't think anything worse than other kids. I wanted to convince myself that he could become more easier to adapt later on in life (he often naps wherever he is when he is tired, doesn't have a fixed bed time and we all eat whenever, but snack if we're hungry, etc.) but after reading this article I felt like I'm doing him some irreversible damage... what do you think? If you have a routine-less family, has this affected you?
post #2 of 17
Well... we're in pretty much the same boat, except that my kid is 10 and seems to be doing pretty darn well. We wake when we wake, or when we have to be somewhere, sleep when we're ired, eat when we're hungry. We don't have rules, although we have... maxims, maybe? We work together as a family, we try to be kind... that about covers it.

I suppose routines and rituals just develop by default sometimes, and then theyseem to fall away when they're no longer practical. Right now we watch Cheers and All in The Family between midnight and 1 am every night together... during tech week for shows we go to Tapioca Express for dinner at least once....we walk the dogs together at least once a week, and talk... stuff like that. I don't think it's possible to live as a family without developing this sort of thing eventually, especially if your definition is broad enough.

post #3 of 17
I think you have to make sure that you at least have the basics covered.
Do you feed your son healthy food, and enough of it? (Even if it isn't at the same time every day.)
Does your son get enough sleep (even if nap times vary), or does he seem chronically tired? Is he sick a lot? (Which could be related to not getting enough sleep.)

I'm sure you have more rules than you realize. You probably have the rule of "you have to ride in your booster seat/seat belt every time we're in the car," right?

We're pretty easy-going, but one routine I really believe in is reading to kids daily. It helps them in so many ways.
post #4 of 17
I am a very routine oriented person. it was a difficult adjustment, at first, to have a newborn in the house. I don't think we developped a real daily routine until a couple of months ago, except her bedtime routine which I knew was important.
As a teacher I believe that most children thrive in an environment that provides structure. Little ones especially like knowing through environmental cues that lunchtime is coming or it's almost time for a bath, it helps them feel safe and secure.
Having said that, some children don't need a routine to feel that kind of safety and security and if it's working for your family not to have rules/routines, more power to ya!
post #5 of 17
I think some people really need rules and routines to feel safe and comfortable, some really don't. The only problem that I see is when people who need no rules or routines have a kid who really craves these things, or when teh opposite happens.

I think when a kids who craves rules and routines does not get it they constantly feel out of sorts and cranky. I have noticed that when these people grow up they tend to be very strict.

In the opposite situation, kids who hate rules and routine, tend to really try to have a laid back household when they grow up. And then they are shocked when they get a kid who loves rules and routine.
post #6 of 17
As a teacher as well, ITA with all that DaisyD had to say. I am a routine freak, too, and my son thrives on it, to the point that each night, in bed, he asks for a complete schedule of the next day's events...but I can certainly imagine a different sort of child who would do better without it.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thankyou for your opinions! About food, we cook a lot and I make sure that we have healthy food and snacks most of the time. Right now this is working for us, because it's the only way we can spend more time together. We could possibly try a routine during the day, but that would mean ds seeing his dad on weekends only
BUT I really know we have to put some order in our lives, because the inconsistency is stressful for me sometimes.
It's good to hear from your experiences, I don't want to be strict, but now I realized that a little bit of organizing will do us all good! It was good for me to express my feelings in this post too, thanks for listening....
post #8 of 17
Great topic, Len!

I haven't read the article yet, but ITA with alexa.

DH and I are definitely NOT schedule/routine type people. We like to be as spontaneous as possible, take each day as it comes. Is it a "laze around the house" day? Or a "let's get out and get some fresh air!" kind of day. We eat at different times, depending on when we get up, what we're doing, etc. But I understand that other people thrive on routine and organzing their lives, and I think for them it's a Good Thing.

DD is very similar, has never been put on a schedule or a routine, and she is thriving. As a family, so far, it just works for us. BUT, she's still a baby and she doesn't have any "rules" to follow, so I'm sure things will evolve as she gets older.
post #9 of 17
Ah - we do have "Plan for the Day", which just sort of evolved. Rain likes to know what to expect each day, so either in the morning or the night before she'll usually ask what's scheduled... for freeform people we have a lot of stuff scheduled, it just varies by day. So, I might say something like, "We hang around here until 4 or so, then drive to town and go to Bailey's house and you guys can go swim or whatever, then your soccer game is at 6 and rehearsal is at 8:15." It's all stuff she chose to do, she just likes to be reminded.

I was a teacher too, actually I was a special ed teacher, and routines were important. OTOH, one of the biggest things I tried to teach the kids was flexibility, because sometimes something comes up and we have to change things around... that's life. And they got better at it.

I think beause Rain feels generally safe and happy and competent, it's easier for her to roll with the punches, as long as she knows what's happening. The kids I taught generally came to me without feeling any of that.

post #10 of 17
This is something I've been struggling w/ since my ds was born nearly 2 1/2 yrs. ago... I've had daily routines in the past - when need be - like when I was in school and/or working, etc. Now as a SAHM w/ a dh that works swing shifts and lots of overtime... we just live day to day. It's worked for us thus far, my ds is your average 2yr. old w/ good days and not so good days. For about 3mos. I tried and tried to get us on a routine, but I just didn't like it, I'm not that kind of a person.
So, I've finally got it down to what works for us - a morning routine, and a bedtime routine. That leaves the rest of the day to be up in the air, and we like it that way. If we want or need to go somewhere we do, we eat when we're hungry, sleep when we're tired, etc. and for the most part we're all happy and healthy. My ds gets enough sleep and enough good food, because he can eat and sleep when his body tells him it needs too. He's never had any issues in that regard, and is a very happy and outgoing boy. When we have another child I might find that we need a bit more routine, and I guess I'll have to deal with that as it comes but for now it works for us.
post #11 of 17
We used to live in more chaos. I think spontaneity is wonderful, even essential, but worried that my children could not be all they could be if they learned spontaneity and chaos as a habit, a way of life. You know that saying, "The longest journey begins with the first step." How could my children grow to be adults who could do "big" things if they were always spontaneously starting new journeys. Ever see the "Shawshank Redemption?" A daily routine that builds towards something can accomplish a whole lot.
I've also come to feel home life can be like ice dancing or couples figure skating. Much of the beauty of the dance comes from the way the couple's individual paths on the ice blend and fit together. My family used to look like a hockey game; a bunch of people dashing here and there (complete with fights) after some invisible object. Now, with considerable effort, there's a trend I feel such that our routines and the state of the house are manifestations of our desire to move well and fit with each other... at least I think there's a trend
post #12 of 17
I'd answer this post, but I cannot find my answer among the chaos.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well this has been very enriching, thanks a lot everyone. Last night we actually planned how today was going to be like. I was surprised to wake up and ds was already talking of what we had planned to do.... it all went well, until what we had planned as "nap time".... we decided to go to a children's festival (I forgot it was this week and, ahem, didn't plan to go ahead of time as I should've) so we were there and ds was flying his kite, playing with the sand and we ended up not coming back home until around bed time. He was really really tired (and a little upset) but he had time to wash up and put his pj's and went straight to bed. I may try again tomorrow, and hopefully we can balance our "hockey game" with the "figure skating" somehow.
post #14 of 17

Do you live in CHAOS?


The best way to allow chidren to develop is to have a bit of chaos.

In this way, order has meaning.

BTW, chaos for you may apear to be order for the kids.

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Alexander, that was beautiful....
It is true that one person's chaos may be another person's order... never thought of it that way
post #16 of 17
We are also very easy going about our day. Some would say Chaos, but it doesn't feel that way unless I am with a very routine oriented family. I have a friend who is staying home for the next year and she has an hour to hour schedule for her kids. On Monday, we will do art in the morning and park in the afternoon, then a Math lesson, followed by free play with these certain toys. Her kids are 2-4. I feel like such a slacker when she tells me her plans. And I am the one planning on homeschooling ds. But, I know that doesnt' work for us. She has to have a routine. When she had her first baby, she was in a tailspin from the lack of structure to the day. I'm just not that way. When I was a teacher, I would plan my day in routines, but spontaneity always took over. My kids learned so much, I don't think it matters. It's the quality of your day, not the order you do it in.

We eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired. Dh works 1-10pm, so we are on a different schedule than most and ds stays up until he is tired and nurses to sleep. We wake up when we want to and eat when we are hungry. Somedays, I feel like we should have a routine, especially when I look at our plans to homeschool. But, we will do it the way it works. I think it would be very stressful to try to be something you are not, and that is not good for kids either. I do try to do some routines. I am a flybaby and that has helped with organization and cleaning. I can stick with a routine for a few days a week, but not everyday. I try to have an overall plan for the week, then fit it in day to day.

Just my jumbled chaotic thoughts on the matter. STill on coffee cup #1.
post #17 of 17


Pretty much a constant state of chaos here. I would love to have things a little more routine but everytime I'm getting there something happens and we're all out of whack again.
I'm trying but goodness do I need help!
I had wanted a routine down before the baby came but that didn't happen, I'm a mess. A lonely mess at that.
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