When I was that young mom, my kids got baths every day. Their toys were put away each night. and bedtime never wavered - even on vacation. Life was structured and regimented and safe. In truth, that was my survival skill. Routine made parenting my tribe of tinies simple.
When I was that young mom, I would roll my eyes (internally, of course) at those parents who had their children at the grocery store at 9:00, when they should be home in bed.
And then, 13 years later, THIS happened.
I now only have one tiny. And her daily routine is NOTHING like the routine I had with her older siblings. In fact, her "routine" is to be flexible and to go with the flow.
Life is much more complicated these days. My children are ALL different ages. They require a multitude of different things from me each and every day. Business is bigger, as are my responsibilities there. Our home is bigger. The kids clothes and appetites are bigger. Life has expanded.
Last night, as Mataya and I headed to Walmart at 9 PM, I had to giggle at the younger me. I miss her and her life sometimes.
And yet, the older me is wiser, gentler, more flexible, and much less judgmental.
I have learned that sometimes kids are at Walmart at 9 PM because no matter how hard their mom tried to keep them awake all afternoon, they fell asleep at 6 PM and woke at 7:30 raring to go. And if you're going to be awake until 11:30 with a preschooler, you may as well get your groceries bought, right?!? (Breaking the afternoon nap habit with Mataya has been rough! She is not ready for a nap at a normal time, and then drops late in the day no matter how hard we try to keep her awake.)
More importantly, I have learned that things are far from simple. Different things work for different kids. And safety does not come from routine, it comes from the heart.