Household Management, Rhythms and Routines

The importance of rhythms and routines


Way back in the day, when I had just one child, I remember people asking “Is he on a schedule yet?” And I giggled to myself, picturing a baby with a briefcase and a pocket planner, busily making his way from one meeting to another. But out loud, I simply said, “No, we just play it by ear.”

Soon enough, playing it by ear wasn’t enough. Juggling a baby, housework, cooking, playdates, my husband’s schedule, social engagements– we needed a plan! And that was just with one child. Now, with four, I find that our rhythms and routines are the foundation that hold up our day.

And please do notice that I said “rhythms and routines” and not “schedules.” In my mind, schedules are cold and unyielding, while rhythms and routines and flexible and work to gently support and uplift our family.

What is a rhythm? To me, rhythms are those repetitive cycles that drift in and out of our lives like the waves. In our home we have daily rhythms, weekly rhythms, seasonal rhythms and yearly rhythms. Woven into our rhythms are the traditions of our family. Our rhythms nourish us and give us strength.

What is a routine? It’s the day-to-day step-by-step processes that help everything to run smoothly. In our house, strong routines give predictability to our days and help to make those rhythms happen. I strongly believe that we all are at our best when we know what to expect.

I can honestly say that many of the rhythms and routines which we started when Michael was a baby, ten years ago, are still part of our daily lives. I would invite you to join me as I revisit our routines and help cement them, and perhaps you can work on a few of your own as well. We’ll be looking at rhythms and routines on Thursdays, and will start this Thursday with meal routines. (Not meal planning– we’ll save that for later!)

So, start to think about your meals– what are your goals? what is working for you and your family? what do you want to change? how do you create a feeling on peace and harmony?

And I’ll see you on Thursday!

3 thoughts on “The importance of rhythms and routines”

  1. I've been thinking about our routines lately, the rhythm has changed a bit and I'm needing to adjust myself and set a new beat. I felt the same when my son was born and people would ask me if he was on a schedual. I resisted it a lot. I breastfed on demand and he slept when he wanted (no wonder he was a horrible napper), I generally didn't plan ahead, but yes, life demands rhythm to flow properly & I didn't realize until I started reading about waldorf education. Something about the word 'rhythm' is so much more appealing and organic then 'schedule' !! Thank goodness I found out, because life has been much easier since!!! I look forward to reading more…
    Thanks-

  2. Thanks, Erin! As I wrote in my "mealtime rhythms and routines" post, I'm getting back into things, too. I often think of my favorite St. Benedict quote: Always, we begin again.

  3. I really need to work on this. I kept wanting more of a routine with Liam, and really never found my rhythm. 🙁 Now with 2, it seems even more important, and even harder to find. *sigh*

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