Routinely Making a Routine Better

There’s nothing I like better than a daily routine. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m stuck in a rut or one of those routine sticklers who have a freak out if there’s a variation in their ordered universe. My routine is more of a game plan than something that is etched in stone.

I’ve known some routine perfectionists in my time and I could never be that person. The worst was a friend who had her kids on such a strict schedule it ruined her marriage.

This woman, come hell or high water, insisted on having her two preschoolers in bed by 6 p.m. (Yeah, 6 p.m.) Her husband didn’t get home from work until 6:30 so in order to see his children he had to get up at 4:30 (or on a good day 5 o’clock) in the morning when his kids woke up.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, would get this mom to change her kids bedtime. Less than two years later she was divorced and her husband got primary custody due to “maternal control issues.”

Now, there are some people whose routines I stand in awe of and that also make me feel like I’m a premium slacker. One year on vacation I noticed a family of five that ran together every morning at the crack of dawn.

On a blistering hot afternoon while I languished in a poolside chaise lounge the mom of the merry morning jogging family sat next to me. I asked what her secret was to 1 – getting her family to run together and 2 – to running that early even on vacation. She looked at me with what I thought was disgust mixed with sympathy and said, “They have no choice. It’s what we do every day, no matter what.”

At that moment I felt like a failure as a mother and authoritarian figure because I was certain there was nothing I could do (besides maybe utilizing the services of a crane) to get my children out of bed before the sun came up to run 10 miles. Never mind that I couldn’t think of anything that would make me run 10 miles mainly because my left knee and my will to live would give out in less than 15 minutes.

There are though many joyous things about having a routine. In fact, my morning routine of getting a Diet Coke at my neighborhood McDonald’s drive thru is always a feel good moment.

Luckily for me this routine was pandemic proof and it was able to remain a mainstay of my morning. This brought me a lot of solace. All may have not been right with the world but when I could be greeted by a jubilant woman who lives up to her name of Smiley it gave me vibes that everything was to be okay.

There were some days deep in the depths of COVID that Smiley was the only human outside of my family that I actually saw in person and talked to. Those couple of sentences exchanged during the Diet Coke hand off became important to me.

Now a year later Smiley is still bringing it. She, unlike my husband (or anyone I share DNA with) notices when I get my hair cut or if I’ve got a busy day planned because I’ve actually put on makeup.

So, let’s all take a moment and raise our Diet Cokes, or beverage of choice, and toast the people who make our daily routines something we look forward to.

🙂 Snarky peeps here’s something to add to your routine – MORE SNARKY! The easiest way to do this is to check out my new audio book! Yes, my first Snarky book “Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School” is now an audio book available on Audible & iTunes. Here are the links.