I was standing at the kitchen sink last Tuesday night washing a teetering stack of dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher) and trying to scrub the scum away from my kitchen counter when I had a revelation: it isn’t just the kids who need a rhythm or routine in their daily lives.
Not much of a revelation is it. Everyone needs some kind of routine but right now I am talking about me and I need and crave a routine to keep me sane these days. If I can manage that it will pay off in the end because the girls will benefit from having a less harried mother – and I won’t be embarrassed by walking around the house in my
muppet-pelt housecoat until it is time to get Moira to school. When I start to rush Moira starts to worry and then all hope is lost.
So last week I focused on a number of things:
- Getting dressed as soon as I get up – which means laying out my clothes the night before.
- Bathing the girls in the morning. (On days when they need a bath – I don’t believe anyone needs to bath every day but we also live in a cold desert where our skin turns to parchment the minute the temperature drops).
- Convincing Moira to play hairdresser in the morning – otherwise her hair is in her face and a real mess for the whole day.
- Getting dinner started earlier. From 4 to 5 p.m. is the witching hour these days and Fionnuala basically just stands and cries at me if I’m not holding her. Getting dinner in the oven while she is napping cuts down some of the craziness of the witching hour.
A number of days I was even successful.
This building of a rhythm in our lives is so necessary these days as Moira loses her mind over the smallest thing. She must feel she has no control right now and therefore is trying to control everything no matter how small and insignificant it may seem to us.
Today I thought I would surprise her and go to her school early and meet her inside. It was also a chance to help her teacher wrangle the kids into their boots, illness mitts, toques and coats before going outside to meet their parent. My child, the one who doesn’t want me to leave, who tells me “I’m a little bit scared and wish you could be the mommy helper everyday” screamed at me to get out when I arrived. She wouldn’t let me near her and wouldn’t talk to me until we were outside.
Control. Isn’t that’s what it is all about – those who have it and those who want it?
Moira must feel like we, her parents, have all the control but to be honest I too feel like I have very little control over things these days – and so I turn to routine. I turn to building a rhythm into our daily lives – because I’m not allowed to spend my day screaming at people.