My name is Erin McCrea. I’m a Momma, a pet Momma, and a writer. I had my first baby at age 35 in May of 2016. Becoming a mom was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and I have loved every moment of it. I blog at http://erinisawriter.blogspot.ca/, but haven’t done a lot since Anthony arrived. It’s my goal to be a consistent Writing Mom by the time his birthday arrives. I’m shy, caring, weird, bossy, and I try to be happy every day. My baby helps with that.
The other day my toddler slept in. He slept until 11. It’s a big change from his usual wake up hours between 5am and 8am. Instead of being happy that I could also sleep in (or have some time alone), I automatically panicked because his whole schedule would be off during the day. WHEN WOULD HE NAP? HOW WOULD HIS BEDTIME WORK?? IS HE OKAY??
It turns out we survived. We skipped his nap. He went to bed around the same time as always.
I’m going to be honest. Before I became a parent, I did not think about a schedule at all. Other than my work schedule, I didn’t really worry about times and plans. I guess I liked knowing what I was doing, but it wasn’t as important when it happened.
When my son was a baby, we didn’t really follow much of a schedule for naps or bedtime. I didn’t think about it. We just did what worked. He fell asleep when he was tired, and napped when he was tired.
At around 18 months, everything changed. I learned that a schedule was ridiculously helpful. My partner works away. While he was here, we would take turns with bedtime, and not worry about the time he went to bed. Every second day I got a break to have my own time.
After he left for a job that could take months, I realised that I needed time to myself at night to stay sane as a solo mom, and needed to start the bedtime routine. I had no idea how important it was.
Getting into the routine was rough. Getting him to go to bed was frustrating because he wouldn’t go to sleep on his own. Getting him to nap at a regular time so he’d go to sleep when I wanted to was tough as well. In fact, I still sometimes cheat and get him to fall asleep while we drive for naps.
Somewhere along the line, we figured bedtime out. I was aiming for 7 or 7:30, but he’s always asleep by 8. It’s wonderful, and makes me feel like I’ve actually got part of parenting right.
Bedtime works now. Because I finally figured out that a routine is pretty important for parents.
Unfortunately, it stops me from activities that are 7 or later out of the house. I’m so set on keeping this schedule that I’m scared to do anything that will change it. I dread going back to the days that left me with absolutely no time for myself.
My son, dog, and I are driving to Ontario (with the help of my wonderful mother) in a week. We are going to spend the summer in a campground so we can be with my partner. We’ll all be living in a camper together (except my mom: she’s going home after we get there.) I think it’ll give me many lessons in relaxing the routine I’ve worked so hard to get.
It’ll probably also give me lots of ideas for blog posts.
My point of this post is that I had no idea how important routine was, not only for my son, but also for me. I’m glad I have one, and am scared to lose it. However, I think the other important thing about parenting is willingness to adapt as things change. This summer will definitely change our routines, and I’ll just have to accept it, and figure out what works best for us there. I’m still planning to get him to bed so I can have my own time, but it probably will be a lot of work at the start.
These are the kinds of things I never would have worried about before becoming a mom. I would have gone on this trip without a care, but now my first priority is keeping some sort of structure for my son (and me.)
Even with the routine and structure, there’s nothing like the adventure of parenting. It’s never boring – even with the schedule.