A routine: I will not apologise for my parenting…

I truly, truly believe in mothers supporting each other.

For the large part we are all in it together: I exclude Supermums and Mums with abs that are visible – you terrify me… and those mothers who feed their children Red Bull from the bottle, you are failing.

But us normal, average, don’t like whingeing, talk a lot about poo, would like to shower more often, ‘where are my car keys?’ Mums, we are doing the same thing: our best. Our best to raise happy, healthy, societally functional human beings.

I salute you in your efforts. It’s a roller coaster. If it works for you and your child, it works. Breast or bottle, cot or co-, puree or baby-led, blah blah blah. These approaches didn’t just happen. Each of us decided it was for the best… that’s why we are doing it.

Now some ‘mothering styles’ seem to shout their cause loud and proud from the platform of social media and that’s ok … but it’s starting to crowd out what I am going to refer to (hopefully) as ‘normal parents’.

Stand up Mums who have a routine and stick to it, the Mums who do believe in bedtimes and naughty steps and not letting their child do exactly as they want. The Mums who believe a parent should be a parent and not their child’s best mate. You too are doing ok.

You are not the dragon of the parenting world, your approach is also valid and based on loving your child and wanting the best for them. The fact that your dedication to actually ‘being a parent’ and believing that a consistent approach to routine and discipline makes you the subject of criticism makes it all the more obvious that you are doing what you do because you love your child.

So next time you have to stand in a supermarket aisle saying, “I will wait here until you are ready to calm down but you are NOT having any Coke” in the face of a screaming toddler, tutting pensioners and the sticky face of someone else’s toddler gleefully swigging Coke from the can…. Stand firm. This is what you *should* be doing.

The next time you read a post debating the pros and cons of Crying it Out: Yes orphanages in Uganda are no doubt full of silent children who have learnt the tragic lesson that crying will not illicit the love and comfort they deserve and this is a travesty of humanity that makes me want to cry and rage simultaneously. But don’t be made to feel bad for the fact that you have avoided having a toddler who has you wrapped around their little finger by steadfastly holding onto a ‘bottle bath bed’ routine at 7pm and not rushing in at the slightest murmur. You have given your child a gift too. Sleep. The root of being able to handle what the world has got the throw at them.

And this gets me onto the biggest of my irritations: being made to feel like having a routine … and, you know, one I actually stick to, makes me some sort of dictator.

I will not apologise for ‘the routine’.

Not to you, not to my twins for whom it is implemented, not to my friends who cannot understand why a visit or a day out must be planned properly around mealtimes and naptime, not to my own mother who only ‘sort of understands’.

‘The routine’ is part of the family, part of the fabric of our now not-so-new ‘we have twins’ existence.

I have spent weeks deliberating over how to adjust ‘the routine’, dark days clinging to it, hours defending it. It is so much more than 6 lines pinned to the fridge, it is my family’s security, sanity and subsequent happiness.

I am literally so fed up of feeling like I should apologise for it. If you let your child choose to do as he wishes and and he is up all night, and that works for you, great. To each his own. Every family (and every child) is different. But if it doesn’t work for you and you’re whingeing about it… This is going to sound harsh but if you’re complaining and you don’t have a routine, I have no sympathy. Get one.

I am not ‘lucky’ my children sleep.

I am not ‘lucky’ that they do not often descend into screaming fits.

It’s not luck. I try bloody hard. Very often at the expense of what I want to do.

I adopt the tedium and regularity of it because I give a shit, because it hurts me to see an overly tired child endlessly screaming because it’s too little to understand it’s ‘just tired’.

Stop shunning routine in favour of choice for children who are not yet capable of understanding the concept.

It’s not that I judge (ok I do a little bit); we are all doing what we do because we want the best for our children and I for one salute that. But us ‘trying not to spoil’ our sons and daughters get a vote too.

So Amen to 7pm bedtimes and no pudding if you don’t eat your dinner. Stand up Routine Mums, Eating at the Table Mums, Limited TV Mums. I for one know you are doing this because you love your children.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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10 thoughts on “A routine: I will not apologise for my parenting…

  1. Amen sister!!
    I am a routine lover, children need predictability and consistency.
    My son is only 6 months old but we already have a pretty solid routine in place and I’m very proud of not only him but myself.

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  2. I loved reading your blog, you sound like “one of us”. We write a blog about the joys of not being a perfect parent. Please take a look and if you like what you see then please like it. Our kids are a little older, but we have been through the terrible school playground politics and feeling inadequate at every single cock up (normally hourly in my case) so perhaps your readers might like to see what the next stage brings! But well done, I loved what you wrote. https://www.facebook.com/mayhemmothers/

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  3. Yes yes yes. Routine rules our home ans both my kids sleep amazing, eat well and are still energetic and loved kiddos! Thanks so much!

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  4. You can’t ‘spoil’ a baby. And as you point out there needs to be balance between your needs and theirs. But you admit that your routine rules your life and stops you doing things you want to do, after berating a baby-led mum who suffers the same issues! I have boundaries for my child’s behaviour, a routine at bedtime but not a set bedtime and try to find a balance that keeps us all happy without any of us sobbing ourselves to sleep. I don’t judge you for your routine – but I do judge your blatant disregard for multiple researchers finding that CIO is akin to trauma/abuse and trying to suggest it is ok on any level.

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  5. First of all well done for putting your child first. In an ideal world it is possible to give up everything for your child…at least the first child. Life has stopped after having the first child which most moms with a few children of different ages looking back would certainly understand. I’m sure your opinions and style will change when you have more kids and they simply will have to adapt to the routines of the older siblings and your routine which is difficult to be the same everyday. Unless of course you have a helper or nanny for every child or simply do not have care about having a healthy social life and keeping your friends in a healthy balance.

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  6. Love this blog post and have shared this link on my Facebook page, The Blissful Baby Expert.

    It is getting lots of lovely positive comments and shares so your WordPress blog may get a little over loaded with traffic over the next few days 😉

    I remember the negative comments I used to receive about having my babies in a routine and planning things round their established nap times on certain days, and I know lots of the parents I help still get the same comments!

    Many babies aren’t happy without structure though and the parents who have worked hard to create a routine of regular feed and nap times each day, should not be made to feel bad about that, because it means they and their baby is much happier on a daily basis.

    Each to their own I say-we should all be supporting each other regardless of our parenting choices. Happy babies and happy parents is the ultimate aim.

    There is no way to be a perfect parent-but a million and more ways to be a good one!

    Well done on all your hard work establishing your routine for your twins xx

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  7. I bloody love you. Just saying. This is my every day. We even have telly rules (you have to have tidied up, read something, made something, had some fresh air/exercise, and played before you are allowed telly). I’ve started being evasive about it just so as not to be judged by the let-them-eat-cake Mums (of course I let my kids eat cake, but generally only after the meal, not instead of it). Now I will be loud and proud – thanks for the courage to be that!

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  8. I love this! I’m going to share it with ever parent who feels wrong for adding some structure to their lives or wanting to get some sleep! Why is this so bad?? Happy parents =Happy children, simple!

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  9. Brilliant! I was taught by my mum and grandmother routine for your baby was essential for sanity (for the day) and happiness for you and resulted in a baby who was content, knew what to expect and a child who was secure and happy.
    my 3 children are now in their 30’s and I will tell them the same when they start families.

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