Are the Daily Routines of Parenting Stifling You?
By far, the most difficult thing for me about motherhood has been the routines. Pick up a parenting book and it's all the about the structures you need to put in place for your kids to thrive. Schedules, routines, consistency...that's what they need to grow and to be happy. That's great, I say... but what about me?!? The whole motherhood rut is killing me.
Day in and day out, I'm living a Groundhog's Day nightmare. I already know what tomorrow will be like...take a shower, pack a lunch, drive to school and so on. The structure is strangling every bit of who I am. While routines may be doing wonders for my kids, sometimes it feels like there's no space for me to grow or thrive or be happy.
The daily routine is honestly so mind-numbing that I go through each day on autopilot. And while the hours seem to drag incredibly slowly, I also find that the years fly by. I would watch my kids grow and yet, I felt the burden of how little I myself have changed. The point is that I don’t want to ever reach a point in my life where I stop learning, questioning, and growing. I don't want the routines my kids need to thrive to become a 'comfort zone' where I start to dwindle.
I basically had to sit down and find ways to make room for change in my schedule.
Why Do We Need Change?
As humans, we're highly resistant to change and growth. We like our comfort zones. Most of us are happier in the security of what is, rather than what might be, because on a biological level, we naturally seek out homeostasis. Basically, nature wired us to seek out and maintain a condition of balance or equilibrium in our internal environment, even when we are faced with external challenges. We strive for stability because of ancient survival skills we've preserved to ensure we have enough food and a safe place to shelter.
We find change risky and no matter how much we dislike our current situation, it's easy to find comfort in what's known rather than to take the gamble. There's not only risk involved but also a sense of danger. Things beyond our control frighten us and bring a sense of insecurity.
At the same time, there are huge benefits in change. Change can energize us. We learn from change and we grow. We find improvements in change and discover new opportunities. In general, good change keeps us young. Our minds and bodies become more active. We learn to adapt and to problem-solve. And most of all, we keep up with the world around us.
It’s Good to Push Boundaries
Life isn’t as simple as changing a channel. Real change takes courage, discipline, and desire. If we want real growth, then we have to be willing to put in real work. But that doesn't mean we can't start small.
To make sure I wouldn't feel stunted or resentful in the future, I started to take those steps towards change. If you feel like routines also have you feeling stymied, here are some ideas to break out of the drudgery of your daily routines:
- Make time to wander. This is not going to be your 30 minute power walk. Take a walk in a different part of town. Open yourself up to new experiences and let the path take you where it goes. Putting yourself in unfamiliar places will definitely get your out of autopilot mode.
- Break your meal habits.Get yourself out of the house and treat yourself to weekly lunch dates. Whether you choose to do this on your own or with your pals, try out some new spots. Take a seat at the bar and strike up a conversation.
- Pick up a new hobby. Whether you join a film club or decide to start painting, a new hobby can inject some energy into your day.
- Sign up for a class. Learning new skills keep us young and active. From sport classes to art, cooking, language, or business courses, there is so much to choose from. As an added bonus, not only will you be learning something new, but you'll be thrown together with a fresh group of people that can lead to some new friendships.
- Get on that bucket list. Travel is a great way to open yourself up to new experiences. It doesn't have to be to some far-flung place either. Write up a list of destinations you've always wanted to visit (local or abroad) and start making those trips.
- Keep an inspiration board. You may have a new business idea or thoughts on redecorating the house. Working on a gallery of ideas that inspire you, and placing it front and center, will help to keep you motivated to follow through on new projects.
When we're curious and open up to change, we inspire our children to do the same, and that, my dear friends, leads to a life worth living.
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