Diary of a Dad: Week 15 - Routinesby Adam Riches
Getting your baby into a routine isn’t something I like to talk about too much, because let’s face it, you normally hear the word “routine” from other boastful, smug, parents, who quite frankly, I mostly want to punch in the face.
The whole concept of getting your baby into a routine has become some weird Holy Grail of parenting. If I had a pound for how many times I have been asked about routines and our kids, I’d have at least… well, £58.
The concept of routine implies some level of training. Babies do need some direction...they are babies after all. The thing is, quite often, things change. Parenting is about phases. Lots and lots and lots of phases and it’s incredible how freeing it is looking at the whole idea of routines in a different way.
With our first boy, we were really guilty of comparing ourselves to others. It felt like everyone had it nailed and we had a legendary Tasmanian devil who basically changed on a daily basis. One night he’d sleep like a dream, the next he’d be like screaming banshee. I think we wore our hearts on our sleeves and it took us a while to realise that most people are full of shit. Where we would be like, “God parenting is tough!” we’d often get, “Oh, mine sleeps through the night!” We craved that stability. It’s interesting what a bit of hindsight does for you.
Routines can make you feel shitty, but in some ways, your children sort of slip into a pattern of living, and surprisingly, it doesn’t take a Stalinist regime to get them there.
Our baby is 8 months old nearly and that time has quite literally flown by. It’s insane how quickly he has adapted to this weird world. Babies just fall in and out of patterns and I have learnt to not get stressed when we can’t quite define that exact pattern.
I wouldn’t say we have him in a routine as such, but there are certain things he has every day. He sleeps a few times, he gets fed and he always has a bath before bed, but we have really tried to keep the pressure off ourselves when it comes to what comes when.
For me, work is back in full swing and although I never really stopped, I was around and physically at home a tonne more than I am now I’m back. That makes the time I do get with the baby so much more valuable. If I’m late home one night, the boys might stay up a bit so I can see them. It’s not like some klaxon is sounded and the Routine Polizei turn up braying on your door.
We got so used to being with each other during this pandemic and honestly, I feel such a special bond with the boys (not cringe, like a proper bond.) When I come home, the baby kicks his legs and he’s buzzing to see me and our older one is literally made up. It absolutely makes my day seeing them, surely that’s better than them sticking to a rigid routine?
If you’re not careful, you end up over analysing everything so much. You look for a reason for everything...sometimes, your kids show certain behaviours because they feel rough, or tired, or hungry. It isn’t because you were 5 minutes late with a nap….well it might be, but living your life like that isn’t good for the soul.
Yes getting into patterns helps you no end with life, but don’t be a slave to the routines unless YOU want to be.