The Day After the Day After

A predictable schedule works for our home.  We have a predictable rhythm to our days.  But summer seems to throw a kink in this wheel, making it wobble and veer to one side.  There are more things to do in the summer, and as it seems, so many reasons to cast aside the schedule we’ve worked so hard to establish.  Our family rhythm really gives us a container to live within, but when it is gone, we’re more free to explore and flow through our days together.

The last few weeks have been a series of events that have taken us out of our normal rhythms.  We have had a wonderful time sharing in the company of each other and living without the stress of watching the clock.  I feel so much more rested as a mama, since I’ve had a break from my routine and an opportunity to cultivate diversity in my days.  My children are able to rise to the challenge posed by abandoning our schedule, but it is when we try to return to ‘normal’ that things start to unravel.

I find the day after my children get a solid night’s sleep they are pleasantly sleepy and contented to be at home (because usually the ‘busyness’ has taken us afar) but it is the day after the day after that we start to run into trouble.  Yesterday was that day for me.  I struggled through my post yesterday, as I was interrupted by a crying baby, a crying toddler and a crying child all trying to resist naps or rest time.  So much crying.  I became frustrated and rushed through my post, and will only get around to reading it again when I’m finished today’s!  I realized just how important my schedule is to my functioning.  My children also thrive with the predictability, and seem to understand what it feels like to be fueled with good food and enough sleep.

When they are tired, hungry, or have been eating poorly, they start to unravel.  Of course this doesn’t happen when we’re busy, engaged in new exciting activities, and ultimately overstimulated.  It happens when we start to regain the stability of our daily rhythm that these things seem to appear.  When my children actually begin to tune back in to how they are actually feeling, retreating from beyond their edge.

This time around the transition back to normal has been noticeably more smooth.  Perhaps we’re learning how to come back to ourselves.  My children have been letting their emotions out…a lot…but in acceptable ways.  Knowing our schedule, routine, rhythm will still be there for us when we’re ready to return to it.  But more importantly we’re working on really knowing that we’ll be there to support each other on the journey home.  In consciously pursuing radical empathy and compassion we are growing trust in our love for each other in spite of our imperfections.

Trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.

~Alan Watts

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