Our routines comfort our souls

Published 10:21 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2006

By Staff
I wake up, usually a minute or two before my alarm brings Sunny 101 into my still dark bedroom.
My two cats, who hover outside my door, start their meowing to let me know they are hungry.
I hear the click, click of my dog's too-long nails on the wooden floor down stairs as she makes her way toward the sliding doors to be let out.
Feeding the cats while the dog is outside gives them a chance to finish before she attacks their more fatty breakfast.
I fill the water bowl and only then do I get dressed and ready for work.
Routines may be boring, but there is also a comfort in not having to think about every moment of your day.
When I get to work the first thing I do is type in the weather, supplied by fax from Mike Hoffman of WNDU. Someone else could do it, but I like to have that moment before I must make lots of decisions, what to put on the front page, will there be enough room for the obituaries, and which notices are dated and must be put in before the others.
When the road to Niles was blocked most of the year and we were forced to take alternative routes, there was something disturbing about it. Our routine was broken.
When I was a mom and didn't work, routines still helped keep our lives in order. I am a firm believer that the routines help keep kids calm. If they never know if they are ever going to eat, or have no regular bedtime, they get anxious.
Children I am around now show the good and bad effects of whether they have routines or not.
If they are hungry they whine and the same goes for if they are too tired.
I appreciate today's moms and dads have a million places to go and things to see and routines aren't always possible.
The children who are shuffled to daycare in the wee hours of the morning, or are run from one afterschool activity to another, often are without any calm routine.
Those who live at one house part of the week and with the parents on Tuesday, or every other weekend, also have adjustments I never had to grow up with.
I believe that makes it even more important when it can, a routine be established.
I need to establish more healthy routines for myself. Fixing real meals instead of snacking on weekends, exercising everyday and going to bed at the same time each night.
Don't get me wrong, I also believe in spontaneity. Doing something out of the ordinary often creates moments your children will remember the rest of their lives.
Driving to the beach to see a sunset, or sunrise. Taking them out for ice cream in their pajamas. Spending the night in a motel so they can swim.
If we have routines these extra special treats will seem all the more special.
I do have a problem though with my weekday routine. On weekends, when I want to sleep in as long as possible, the animals are still on their regular mode.
Like when the baby cries and wakes you at five in the morning every day, my kitties are still at my door, whining at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The dog still needs to go out.
Some things don't really change all that much, even after the kids are grown.