Routines make me feel good. I like having a routine for my prayer life, children, household, homeschooling and family activities. My people do better when they know what’s expected of them and know what they can expect of me and our day.
Occasionally, things pop up to temporarily throw us off our game.
However, there are things that can cause us to completely loose our familiar, comfortable, and productive routines. Big life changes like new jobs, seasons, babies, loss of loved ones, divorce, illness and so many other BIG changes can wreck our routines and leave our lives in chaos.
I felt this chaos keenly after having baby #4.
I was no longer able to enforce our routine. I often felt like a failure if I couldn’t perform my regular duties — if laundry piled up, if dirty dishes were left out, if dinner was a bowl of cereal, if the milk ran out and when I realized I hadn’t showered for two days.
I sat down in prayer one day and sobbed.
I told Jesus about my messy house, my unfinished duties, my filthy self and how I felt like a failure. I clearly remember hearing Him respond, “Your messy house and dirty dishes don’t bother me. I like being with you.” As I dried my tears, I saw my day: every moment was spent caring for a new baby. When that baby was sleeping, I was caring, feeding, cleaning and loving my other kids, His children. I realized my beloved routine, having a clean home, and being organized was for me.
It was time to let those things go and find a new routine, a new normal.
So, I simplified my list of household duties to a bare minimum — a minimum that still kept clean clothes coming, food on the table and made a little space for peace and order for me to enjoy. For the next few months, each day I made sure to start and finish one load of laundry, have a plan for dinner, and make my bed. If I accomplished those three tasks in addition to the nonstop work that was raising babies, I considered that day a win.
After about six months, we were at a functioning, healthy and productive new normal. I’ve had to relearn this ‘new normal’ lesson a few times since having babies. For me, it has always involved letting go, accepting change and going to Jesus for help when I find that I can’t keep doing it all.