A new school year – an exciting time of fresh beginnings and new routines. I have always loved the beginning of school. As a child, I color coded folders and notebooks and still recall the joy of a brand new box of crayons (all those crisp tips perfectly aligned). As a college student, having a dorm room to decorate and organize was thrilling. Looking back, I see that it was the freshness of it all – a clean slate, a renewed energy and perspective as I began a new school year.
Now, as the mother of two school-aged children, the new school year brings a different sense of joy. While we have loved our summer adventures and glorious lake weekends; this time of ritual and routine is welcome. Thankfully, my kiddos enjoy school – their excitement is contagious and I am a bit envious of all they will learn and explore. I am grateful for the opportunity to pause and refresh as well. The school schedule creates a necessary routine; overnight, the structure and boundaries set in. You can fight it, or you can embrace it. I am choosing to embrace it, there is a rhythm as I prepare for the week ahead. Seemingly minor details, such as food prep and laundry, allow me to create a sense of order and a foundation that creates a calmer household.
As a parent, the new school year and routine allows me a fresh perspective and renewed focus on our family. One of my key roles as a mother is to instill good habits in my children. This requires consistency of routine and modeling behaviors myself; which is easy to say, but much more difficult to do as a daily practice. This school year allows me to better model:
- Healthy eating
- Independent reading
- Self-care through exercise and activity
- Proactively preparing for the day ahead
- Taking care of items and spaces (commonly known as “clean up after yourself”)
There is a peace that comes in preparation and routine – while I loved the carefree days of summer, the renewed sense of routine is a healthy transition as we prepare for fall and winter – the cycle of fully enjoying each season as it unfolds. The word routine gets a bad rap, but like anything, it is a balanced, intentional approach. As John C. Maxwell says:
You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.
Whether you want to change your life, or just feel a bit more control – your daily routine can be the key to living a life on purpose instead of one that just “happens.” Trust me, I know both sides of this and have experienced the spectrum – from living one chaotic moment to the next, unable to catch my breath, or on other days, having more order and rhythm to guide me. This is about progress, not perfection, and it is a balance. I love productive days full of completing items on my to do list; however, I also savor a day in comfy clothes reading a good book and sipping coffee… Living a life with the structure of healthy, intentional routines allows me to be a truer version of myself. And, hopefully, in the process teach my children to value routine and rhythm in their own lives.