Parening lectures, I always sign up for them even if the topic doesn't apply to the age of my child because I am totally clueless about how to raise G now that he is a little beyongd the "eat, sleep, poop" stage and I have no patience for parenting books. Usually, I leave the lectures with one of several trains of thought.
- That lady was nuts.
- Seriously who parents like that?
- I want to parent like that.
- Oh my God(s) am I screwing up my child parenting the way I am?
The last thought came to me after I asked a question at a parenting lecture last week. The lecture was about misbehaviour, what causes it and how to deal with it. I was really enjoying the lecture and was affirmed in many of my parenting beliefs. I enjoyed the lecture so much that I intended to write somewhat of a review here on my blog, that is,until the lecturer answered my question about routines.
I consider myself to be a very laid back parent for a "type A" person. I don't want a hyper scheduled child who is so dependant on his routine that he can't cope with a deviation from it. My life is not organized enough to need a crazy schedule, in fact, ever since marrying a military guy eightish years ago my life has been anything but predictable.
I feel at this point I may need to give a disclaimer as I am about to assail you all with our non-schedule or non-routine.
Disclaimer *** I am in no way judging people who have a schedule or routine for their child(ren) no matter how loose or strict. I am a lazy rambling hippie an you should probably pay no attention to me***
Before attending the lecture I had no real serious doubts about my day to day with G. The purpose of going to the lecture was to gain insight into non-punitive and non-corporal discipline. I figure once G forgets that he is a living Buddha, I am going to need it.
During question period A parent asked a discipline question specific to her child and the speaker gave her some strategies. The speaker seemed finished but then stated "you need routines and lots of them".
Uh oh, my brain flies into motion, over thinking over analysing. I started thinking of what routines G and I have and I am realizing we don't really have so many routines as we have daily traditions. I am curious and I want to know do our daily traditions constitute routines?
So... I ask. I don't know if I really got an answer to my question, she just said "You need routines and a lot of them, you need to stick to them because children do well on routines."
Crap! I guess I am messing up. Maybe I should have read more books. Maybe I should try for more routine. Ack! I lived with all of this swimming in my head for a few days and then I enlisted Ian to try and either talk me down or confirm that I am a huge screw up and I am indeed screwing up our kid. Where is Bridget when I need her?
Ian doesn't think there is anything wrong with our routine or lack of it. He thinks that G is doing just fine and he enjoys that G is a flexible little dude. Sort of a why fix it if it isn't broken idea. I guess it seems like that should have talked me down but it really didn't. I am now thinking things like "just because what we do is easy doesn't mean it is good or right" and "maybe I should find a crappy job and put G in daycare because I am obviously not qualified to raise my own child". Then there is the more rational me that just wants to raise him the lazy hippie way and hope for the best.
So if anybody has made it this far into the most recent adventure of the "Reluctant Nomad and her Toddler Sidekick" please go a bit further and tell me what you think of our unroutine/daily traditions. Tell me if I am screwing up my kid. I won't promise I won't obsess and cry but I do promise to read and be thoughtful about it all.
The Daily/Weekly Traditions of Amanda and the G
Everyday we wake up when we wake up, we have breakfast and sometimes shower, sometimes Ian comes home and eats with us. We usually have one daily activity planned and it is usually in the morning. Mon playgroup , Tues yoga with day care, Wed salsa tots, Thurs yoga with daycare and playgroup, Fri playgroup. The rest of everyday is just stuff, we play and read and get things done in the garden or the house, he naps if he needs it and eats when he is hungry. When Ian comes home we all hang together or I go out or we go out as a family. Weekends we go to the market, zoo, for bike rides or swimming.
The reason I say we have traditions instead of a routine is that we always eat at the table, he always naps on the couch (usually in my lap), every night he usually nurses to sleep in my arms etc. So there are constants in his life an I think they are good but we fall short of being in a routine because nothing we do , except timed activities, has a time structure.
I know parents who time everything; wake up time, snack time,meal times, reading, art etc. I always just thought it was a difference in kids or a difference in parents but today I am a bit paranoid that it is the way we are "supposed" to parent to raise normal kids and that my being a lazy hippie is forever screwing G up.