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Our Nighttime Routine, Part 2

2010 May 24
by Pamela

Last time I wrote about what I call the foundation for having a straightened house. Have you ever tried to clean the surfaces and floors in your kitchen with dirty dishes, towels, and food still out? It doesn’t tend to fair so well for me. Having a straightened space helps me get the cleaning done. Having an orderly home does so much for me personally too. As trite as it sounds, when my outer world is in chaos, my inner world most certainly is too. Funny thing is that I can flip my inner world by spending some energy on my outer world. Can anyone relate? If not, please send some money for therapy; I may need some.

Our current routine:
4:30 p.m.-ish: I prepare whatever part of dinner still needs preparing. And although my husband won’t believe this, I also try to clean as I go. I stink at it, I know. But my counter space is the size of a shoebox so who can blame me? While preparing dinner I also set the table, get drinks out, and figure out what the weight watcher points values are on everything I’m about to eat.

5 p.m.: We eat dinner. At the table. As a family.

5:15-6:00-ish: The girls run off to play. Thankfully after having to sit for a whole fifteen minutes, this is the most independent they are all day. I use this time to first pack Bob’s meals for the next day if he’s going to be gone. After his meals are packed, I put the leftovers in containers and put them away. Ditto for any condiments or food left out. Then I put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and wipe down the counter, table, and stove. I empty the garbage and use the bag to empty the small garbage containers on the first floor. Lastly I sweep the kitchen and wonder if anyone got a single bite of food into their mouths. Apparently not, gauging the littered floor.

6-8 p.m. – We play. We have family time, we go to the park, we see friends. Going to get ice cream is my personal favorite. Afterall I’ve expended at least 500 calories preparing dinner and cleaning the kitchen, right? No? Drats. I also check the weather for the following day so I have an idea of what kind of outfits they should wear.

8 p.m. – Our runner-up favorite and the girl’s least favorite time of the day! The girls clean up the family room, where the bulk of their toys lie in ruins. This is a whole separate post, but I’ll just say this: a four-year-old is perfectly capable of putting all of her toys away exactly where they belong, provided you work to have a proper place for everything and give her guidance. While the girl’s are cleaning their half of the room, I work on the other half, putting away our stuff and moving everything that doesn’t belong in the room by the stair to put it away.

While they are still cleaning, because they move like snails at this point, I can usually get their rooms straightened. I also lay out their outfits for the a.m., including underwear and socks. I’ve learned the hard way you should never assume there is clean underwear in your kid’s drawer. We keep little to no toys in their rooms so they are easy to do. I also do the bathroom, which is super quick, and dining room, which is super hard, if I can.

8:30 p.m. – The girls get their jammies on. I get their night-night snack ready, which is currently an apple, cheese stick, and milk. Then we do Shark, which basically consists of me chasing them around with the vacuum cleaner while we pretend it’s a shark. We only have carpet in the family room so it takes five minutes tops. I quickly do a once over on the rugs in other rooms while the girls act like angelic beings. There is nothing that makes our kids act better than imminent bedtime. Next is snack. While they eat, I read two stories, provided one didn’t get “taken away” because they were little weasels during clean up time. After stories are done, we have some snuggles and Elizabeth is off to bed.

9 p.m. – Elizabeth takes 2.2 seconds to put down nowadays, ahhh Life Is Good! Mary Claire goes into her room while I put Elizabeth down and I meet her in there. We talk about the day, what to expect the following day, say prayers, and off I go.

9:15 p.m. – Hallelujah, Hallelujah! No matter how much you love your children, bed time is still every parent’s favorite time of the day. I check email and blogs for about fifteen minutes under the guise of “keeping the house quiet”. Really all that means is that I need any kind of adult interaction possible after the last two hours.

9:30 p.m. – Wash my face, brush teeth, put my vitamins and meds in a small dish on the counter, open the fridge and do a cursory glance at what can be eaten for breakfast and lunch, and fill sippy cups for the morning. If we have to be somewhere first thing, I also re-fill the diaper bag, make sure I have money, and whatever I might need for the outing.

9:45 p.m. – If the dining room table is still littered with junk that I’ve brought in from the van and couldn’t get to earlier, I clean it off and put everything away. I try hard to do this massive deconstruction earlier in the night when the girls are busy with other things because nothing can defeat me more than the dining room table. Then I haul a massively heavy laundry basket downstairs. It is filled with dirty clothes and other miscellaneous things that belong down there but I’m too lazy to take down throughout the day.

10:00-ish: I empty the laundry basket, start a load of laundry, pick out my clothes, undergarments, and shoes for the morning (our closet is in the basement), and pull out meat from the deep freezer for our dinner the following day.

10:30 p.m. – Pick out accessories for tomorrow’s outfit, start the dishwasher, fall onto the couch with a glass of wine, watch a DVR’d episode of whatever reality show is riveting me at the moment, check email, FB, blogs, write, read and reflect on how very lucky I am to be living my dream, as minuscule of a life it may be to some. This, of course, is my First-Place Winner favorite part of the day.

12:30-1 a.m. – Yes, I stay up that late. Why? Because I can. I’ve given up on the idea that godly people wake up at 4:30 a.m. while losers stay up late. But by 1 a.m. I go to bed and say the most heartfelt prayer: thank you God for this bed.

By the time I go to bed I usually have a straightened house, outfits layed out for everyone, an idea of the weather, meat thawing for tomorrow’s dinner, empty garbage cans, a running dishwasher, a load of laundry going, and some general things prepared to ease the morning (like vitamins ready, meals thought-out, clean dishes, and clothes ready for the dryer).

I am so, so far from perfect. This routine is only a few months old, having been resurrected from the ashes we call pre-Elizabeth. I write about it so I myself can remember it should things go happily haywire with a third child someday. And the truth is that I love reading about other people’s routines. I’ve always wondered why more people didn’t write about theirs. Now I know: you feel utterly sanctimonious writing about what you are doing at 8:15 p.m. and wonder why anyone would care. But I’ve always been curious and perhaps this will give someone a wanted or needed glimpse into this crazy Mishaps, Laughs & Mayhem we call Life.

Morning routine is coming up next!

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. August 17, 2010

    Thanks for giving me some great ideas!! I wish I could have a routine that comes close to this!!

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