I’ve heard many limiting beliefs when it comes to routines. In the following write-up and video (if that’s easier for you as both contain the same information) I’ll outline four myths I’ve heard the most and ways to overcome them to create and sustain impactful routines as a busy mom!
Myth 1: Routines are too hard
Every time you try something new, it’s going to feel different and a bit uncomfortable. It’s our brain signaling that something is veering from the norm. These new habits are worthwhile for your family as you become consistent with the routine, life becomes easier. The established routine is one less thing you have to think about because it’s become something you just do as part of your day or your week.
Think about learning to ride a bike; it feels awkward at first and you feel clumsy, but you keep getting back on and trying and then it just clicks and off you go. Now as an adult when you get on to ride a bike, you don’t have to think about all the mechanics that go into propelling the bike forward.
Start with the end in mind; visualize the predictability and productivity that an established routine will bring to you and your family. How would having an established routine in an area you feel is out of control right now make you feel? Use that feeling to motivate you to keep at the routine; you will go from feeling strange and uncomfortable to feeling empowered and excited seeing positive benefits for you and your family.
Myth 2: Routines are too restrictive
The truth is routines help you prioritize what is important. The more tasks that can become automated through routines, the more brain power we can save for other tasks and learn new things with less mental fatigue.
Routines DO NOT mean that every day will look the same. Routines mean you have a foundational framework in place to turn to on a daily basis or when chaos rears its ugly head. Routines can help you focus on the set actions you’ve established and get them done at a faster rate the more you do them, and then you have more time to do other things!
Myth 3: Routines have never worked for me, so there’s no use in trying them now
When you think back to times you’ve tried routines in the past, can you identify the reason you gave up? Did you try to do too many tasks within the routine all at once? Did you try to force your family to suddenly adopt a routine that was a 180 from how it had been done in the past without discussing the plan and getting input from them before implementation?
We all go through various seasons of life. Maybe the routine you tried to establish did not fit in the season of life you were in. For example, if you tried to start a 5am wakeup when your 2nd child was 9 months old, it would be difficult to sustain if your child’s sleep patterns were all over the place and you were up just a couple of hours before that 5am alarm went off. Assess what season of life you’re in and what routine you feel you need the most help with. Then be realistic as to what tasks you would like to see within that routine.
Don’t try to do all the tasks at once. Start small and take baby steps toward that full routine to decrease the likelihood you’ll throw in the towel, declare you’ll start again on Monday and then Monday comes and goes and you’re back to where you began.
Myth 4: Routines will never work with an unpredictable schedule
Let’s get back to basics here about routines. Routines are habits that are grouped together. Routines are NOT tied to a schedule. Routines do NOT have to take place at a certain time to be effective.
Routines do NOT have to take a lot of time. A self-care routine can take less than 10 minutes. You get to decide what habits you deem important that you’d like to group together to create a routine. Then you get to assess how you’re spending your time and decide how much time you’d like to dedicate to the routine you know will bring you and your family more joy. For example, if you typically help your 5-year-old brush her teeth before bed around 6:45pm (a routine! Regardless of the time), but you had an event that kept you out a bit later one evening…are you going to not brush her teeth because you’re 30-minutes delayed? No, you still brush her teeth and do your bedtime routine (whether you call it a routine or not, we all have typical ways in which we handle bedtime with kids!).
The truth is that the more unpredictable your schedule and the busier you are, the more important routines are for you to decrease feeling overwhelmed. Routines ground you and provide predictability even when life throws you curveballs. It’s not about strict schedules or perfect routines. It’s about a framework around a group of habits that you deem important for your life. The more you do these routines, the less brain power they involve to do and the more peace they bring when you feel like you’re fried from all the things on your plate.
Moms know that kids aren’t robots and no one day looks the same. Throw in so much grace and flexibility in your routines. If you have a self-care morning routine, but you were up most of the night with a sick little one, don’t just scrape the entire routine, see if there’s just 5 minutes in your day to accomplish one of those habits within that routine that brings you joy.
The 4 myths we talked about were routines are too hard, routines are too restrictive, routines have never worked for me so there’s no use in trying them now, and routines will never work with an unpredictable schedule. I hope you can see now that these thoughts around routines are simply not true, and you have the power to create routines for you and your family to thrive.
Rhythmic habits grouped together into routines that work for you and your family has the wonderful potential to create more peace and joy in your home. Who doesn’t want to experience more peace and joy? What are some routines you would love to establish?
One area I realized was dragging me down throughout the week was meal planning. I had ideas in my head for the week, but I didn’t take the time to think through those ideas to make our week less chaotic and easier when it came to meals. I decided to take charge of this issue by creating a weekly meal planning routine. I utilize Trello for my meal planning routine; Trello is a free digital tool that allows you to easily create lists and view on multiple devices. When I go to meal plan, I view tons of recipes I’ve already loaded into Trello, type in ideas, even if it’s throwing together some almond butter sandwiches on a Sunday to throw in the freezer for easy lunch options, and then I create a plan for the week ahead. I even utilize ingredients to create a grocery list within the Trello Board.
It has been an ultimate time-saver, money-saver, and sanity-saver during our week! Are you looking to make meal planning easier? I have a free Trello Meal Planning template with the exact list categories I use that you can utilize to create a plan, add in recipes, and finally take control of the chaos around feeding your family. I also have an inexpensive paid option for this life-changing process around meals that has been loaded with 358 recipes within easy-to-view categories. Each recipe includes pictures, ingredients, instructions, notes, and any applicable links to recipe sources. If you’re new to Trello, no worries, as I’ve included instructions on how to utilize the board!
I’d love to help you overcome these myths you may have in your head around routines and help you lessen feelings of overwhelm so that you can have more joy and purpose! Happy routine-building, friends!