Routine vs rhythms.
What’s the difference?
The type A in me strives for routine, loves the predictability and the stability which comes from knowing what happens next. Yet recently, especially after reading ‘Simplicity Parenting’, I have found rhythms being a better description of what it was my soul craved.
Rhythms are inbuilt from the womb, the soft beating of the mother’s heart, the rocking of the sweet babe in arms, the Repetition of feeding, playing, sleeping in toddlerhood. But then between childhood and adulthood, these rhythms become disturbed, and these rhythms become tainted by hurry, external commitments and Irregularity.
But is it possible to reinstate rhythms back into our lives?
I want to say yes… I want to argue that in fact, rhythms are so often craved after but instead we place structured, impossible routines into our lives.
So before we head to what rhythms we can implement, we need to figure out the WHY! Why are rhythms so important and so calming?
“A regular home life has a pattern and a flow. Its cadences are recognisable, and knowable, even to the youngest members of the family.”
1. Predictability increases- even for those go with the flow type people, we all crave predictability. From as simple as knowing that when we are hungry, we can eat, to more elaborate predictability. Rhythms inherently possess predictability. So how do we enact this? We have begun little rituals, not time or location set, but increasing the knowledge of what comes next. In our house, one night a week, usually a Friday, we have ‘Family Pizza Night’! We buy some pizzas and popcorn and watch a film with candles and the fire on. We all know the predictable nature of this evening even when other nights can be hectic! Another way we’ve introduced this is through 15/10/5 min warnings before the end of something, be that tv, or playdates etc. Again, it’s a consistently implementing something which follows a pattern (also conducive as our 3-year-old still has no concept of time!)
2. Connectedness becomes more prominent- Rhythms create a sense of loving connectedness between those involved. It can feel like a ‘secret’ between those involved. It enhances the time spent together as everyone knows what is coming next. Of course, things change, and things crop up, but the consistency of rhythms promotes a place secure and connected between those who partake. For example, in the morning, whoever is up with the kids in the morning makes the flasks up for the morning commute. Despite easily making our own brews… And them potentially being nicer- I am not a tea drinker and make the worst cup of tea ever! The rhythm shows love and dedication for the other, knowing our need for morning caffeine is being fulfilled by the other.
3. They are small – in no way am I suggesting you plan a rhythm which has zero chance of succeeding! Start small rhythms, bedtime, dinnertime, breakfast, whenever, but the key is small means realistic. Through starting small, Life can become easier, consistency will increase, and it will become automatic. Around two months ago we implemented a rhythm of taking off shoes and coats when we came in, hanging them up on the boy’s coat hooks. It has given them a sense of autonomous motivation, brilliant for me, and the next outing is inevitably less stressful to prepare for.
“Rhythm builds islands of consistency and security throughout the day.”
Over these past few weeks, with uni deadlines looming, renovations on the house being undertaken, my sense of rhythm has been off. I realised how much I missed the predictability, not the structure, of the things which we have become ingrained in our family. My emphasis, and probably many others is to initiate routines and structure, but that’s not what I craved.
I craved being able to do bedtime with the boys, the rhythm of teeth, toilet, book, prayers and saying goodnight to each other. I missed the rhythms of stillness, no tv or phones at certain times, the spaces we create for slowness.
What small rhythms would you like to implement in your home and family? Do you already have some? Let me know 🙂