rhythm - /ˈriT͟Həm/ noun: rhythm; plural noun: rhythms : a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.
Rhythm is one of those topics I love talking about (as you can tell by all my posts about it in the past. I still particularly like the one I did for Donni at The Magic Onions). It is something that saved me when I went from one to two children and has really helped my family to thrive. Without it we all feel lost.
It's nothing short of wonderful in my book. But I haven't touched on the subject much since we moved to Idaho. I haven't wanted to, honestly. I am just going to put it out there - this rhythm loving Mama has failed. The fact of the matter is just this - our rhythm has gone out the window. I can blame it on a new baby, I can blame it on my lack of vitamin D induced depression (my levels were in the single digits until a few months ago), I can blame it on Kevin's sporadic work schedule, hey - I can blame it on the (lack of) rain. But the truth is, it's all on me. I am the one who sets the tone for our days and the example for my children. Since we didn't have a school to drive to, I let us slip into a no bedtime or set wake time schedule, the beginning of a downward spiral. The children have been sleeping in until ten or eleven each morning. I feel like we never accomplish anything in the day and no wonder - we lose half of the day to sleeping in so late! Each day is completely different from the next with nothing linking them all together.
The loss of our rhythm has been detrimental on all of us and I have been feeling it's impact even more so since Baby F was born. We haven't homeschooled at all since his birth and the feeling of overwhelm has taken over me. Last week after reading a bit in Lisa's Simplicity Parenting 101 course (that week focused on rhythm specifically), it became obvious to me that I had to take the plunge and get us back on track. I feel like I am starting all over again at the beginning, and in a way, I am. I knew what the first step was but I was fighting it, knowing it would not be easy. Then after talking with Lisa she kindly and wisely reminded me:
"Even if little F is not “going to sleep”, have a regular time for all of you for lights out, quiet (except for baby screaming) and a regular wake-up and breakfast time. These two touchstones of rhythm, on either end of the day, will really help this chaotic time feel a little more grounded."
That was what I needed to push me to reestablish our rhythm pillars. Yesterday, I sat down with my children and explained to them that we were going back to a set time to wake up in the mornings. Of course I received a few groans from this but I don't blame them. I have always been a night owl and late sleeper myself. I promised I would ease them into it so it wouldn't be a dramatic change all at once (and to help prevent the crankiness that I knew would come from early rising). I started today by waking them at nine in the morning. They resisted at first but came around. We got so much accomplished in our day - I even picked homeschooling back up with C (K to come soon!). I feel alive again and like I can tackle all that is put in front of me, just after one day! Now to just keep this momentum going and get our full rhythm back. Ha! I find it ironic that as I type this I hear my children out of bed when they are supposed to be sleeping. *sigh* Always a work in progress, right? I even feel inspired to work on a better housekeeping rhythm. But one thing at a time. Of course I need to mentally prepare myself for set backs (and there will be some) and our new rhythm will be very different from how it was in Oregon. Rhythm is always changing. I look forward to seeing how it will all come together for us in the here and now and taking responsibility for where we go from here.
Sorry, I am just rambling on and on but I feel better getting all of that out there, even if it is in a bit of a chaotic manner. Do any of you have (or have had) any rhythm set backs? How did you overcome them?