Sunday, July 19, 2009

Routine: Stability in the Home

"Sleepy Baby" by Mary Cassat
“The carrying on of the basic routine saves us as a group from falling into confused fragmentation…The physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted adult returning from the hospital or the scared children opening the door after school are thus greeted with the reassuring aroma of homemade chicken soup, say, and a good meal to follow. It may be a neighbor putting you to bed, but you know her, and you’ve had a good supper, bath, and story just as usual, so the routine carries you along its stabilizing way.”
~Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Family’s Sake

I have written before about the power of daily rhythm and routine and the benefit such rhythm has on homelife, in particular. I never knew just how powerful it could be until my world was turned upside down after the birth of my son, when I suddenly found myself in a hospital for five days beside his crib. How desperately I missed the rhythms and comforts of my home; how I longed to bring my son into that safe sanctuary and to acquaint him with the familiar routine of our daily lives. And, how immeasurably blessed I was to know that, in my necessary absence, our dear friends and my beloved husband were carrying on this familiar routine (to the best of their abilities) so that my young daughter would feel comforted even while I could not be home to care for her.

When I finally did come home with my babe-in-arms and found myself the stay-at-home mother of two with a weeks worth of laundry to do and housekeeping to catch up on, I might have been thoroughly overwhelmed. Thankfully, my husband was able to take a couple of days off to help me with the pile of chores and especially to go on a large grocery shopping trip, since there was hardly any food left in the house after the hospital stay. He and Sophia had picked the cupboards rather bare. I was surprised to discover, however, that once the dust had settled, I was more than comfortable to see Brian return to work. I fell easily back into my routine, even with the sleep-deprivation that every mother of a newborn knows so well and even with my hands quite full with two children under two.

Routine, to me, is one of the most essential factors of successful and happy homemaking. Not only does it bring harmony and order to the daily rhythm of life, it ensures that necessary tasks get done on time and efficiently, leaving us freer to enjoy the more creative elements of homemaking with a clear mind and a sense of having accomplished the more mundane duties that housekeeping requires. Now, too, I realize how routine can be a comfort in trying times, and how it can welcome us home when we have been away.

What is your home routine--weekly, daily, seasonally? How has the rhythm and routine of your home been a blessing to you or to others?


  1. Great points, as always.

    I am a very scattered person, so our daily rhythm is pretty loose. In thinking about it after reading your post, I realized that it's optimized on me getting what I need to recharge my batteries to be able to make it through 13-hour days with four kids under five. As an introvert, I really need some "down time" every day to just read, write, surf the web, etc., so our routine revolves around making sure the younger children get a good nap in the afternoons (which not only gives me down time but gives them an energy boost to get through the day). Mornings and late afternoons are for work around the house, meals, errands, etc., but mid-afternoon is always quiet time, and that's the linchpin of our routine.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me think out loud. LOVE your blog!

  2. Great post! I've enjoyed your post on routines and the home. This is an area I am still growing and working on. I know it is vital to the success of my children and husband!


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