Thriving in a Routine

Spontaneity, that went out the window when I became a mom at the age of 18. To be honest I never truly experienced true spontaneity. On occasion I’ve planned a trip a week or so before and hopped on a plane to visit a friend out of state. Now a days spontaneity seems more like a spontaneous decision to drive to a nearby state to go to the beach or decide at last minute to go for a hike or walk out of the area. Not spontaneous enough I’d imagine for the average person. I haven’t gotten to the point where I’ve decided to “go for it” in the sense of planning something that would for me be outrageous and test my bounds such as bungee jumping or sky diving. Often times I do question if I live a life of quiet desperation. A life sometimes so calm that I question if I have more in common with the dead than I do with the living. Sad right? I mean in all honesty sometimes it is but who hasn’t gone through seasons or moments such as these? I do believe we all have. Life can’t be one big party year round in continuous high energy joy and contentment. Sometimes we have our downs.

Spontaneity is not my strong suit. Most especially with being a mother. I am the foundation of my children’s lives because as a single mom I take the role of setting the foundation and being the rock or rather setting the rock at which we build our lives on. When you are a single mom I ensure you routines and stability and security are what our children and even we as women will thrive on. Rather than a spontaneous trip to the mall for an ill planned shopping spree I’d rather practice intentionality and plan out what my expenses will be so I am able to ensure that the bills will be paid and food will be on the table. Rather than a spontaneous excursion on a credit card I’d rather build the savings and treat my family to a thought out, planned out intentional vacation. Do you see where I am going with this? Perhaps it’s because I’m a single mom that I have to think as such. Perhaps it’s because frugality keeps me comfortable and safe. Perhaps it’s a combination of both.

I do however believe that we can thrive our best in the context of a routine while adding small sparks of spontaneity which give the zest of life. My family and I function best within a routine. We have our schedule of waking up and going to bed. I have the days scheduled when I will dedicate a special time for fasting and prayer. We have a morning routine of self care, breakfast and cartoons and later on an evening routine of showers, stories and prayers. I have a routine at starting my day in the office. Typically it involves logging onto my computer system, taking and completing a few cases and then heating up my tea and oatmeal before diving into more cases and phone calls. On weekends we have routines that we still adhere to but with more flexibility. We plan our day the day or so before. Typically it will consists of planning around sports and parties. Sometimes it will consists of planning around events such as 5ks or family gatherings and church events. In keeping with routines I find that by following such and planning ahead that my family knows what to expect and what is expected of them. Dishes need to be done and laundry needs to be dried on weekends before we go out. Beds need to be made every morning before we leave the house. Not only are these things good values but also are built into our habits out of routine. By ensuring that we keep on task we are able to relax in the comforts of a clean home all while being efficient and looking forward to what comes next.

Sure some days we have off days and the dishes pile up and the laundry hasn’t been folded. These days I see all the difference in how I become overwhelmed by then having to clean dishes while prepping breakfast or dinner or not finding matching socks for my son or being moody with my teenager. Because I’m a single mom I have no help. I raise my children and run my household and maintain a full time job on my own. It’s not easy but what’s the alternative? Therefore I have learned to thrive in routines even if some days seem more mundane than others. I rest in meeting the expectations and demands for my family and anything more is extra.

I enjoy small pleasures of spontaneity such as spontaneously purchasing a bike and learning how to ride all in the same weekend or spontaneously deciding to go for a mini road trip. Having a routine is not a bad thing. To the contrary, having routine is about setting up habits. We decide what habits need to continue and need to be broken. Having a routine sets up expectations that are able to be met consistently. It ensures a foundation and stability and security. It allows us to work on ourselves, for ourselves and for others.

So in the end feeling like I have more in common with the dead than the living is simply because of the lives of those I follow. The wedded moms who have ample income to do more spontaneous things with her family, the single women who can throw caution to the wind as she has no children, the better paid professional who makes 15k more a year than I so therefore can move about doing such. Is this a money matter or a lifestyle matter? I’d say both. In the end more money would equate more access to things that could bring about a little more spontaneity but knowing me as the single mom that I am I’d take that money and invest it for my kids. And so rather I believe it’s a mind or heart issue. Order and structure, it’s how we operate but let us not forget that although we will thrive in routine to leave room for God to be God and surprise us with…

Spontaneity.

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