It's not that I'm inflexible, because I'm pretty flexible, but we do follow certain routines throughout everyday. Every school morning, it's the same routine. This keeps us moving so that we're not late. Breakfast on the table by 7:30. Everyone has gone potty and gotten dressed by 8:10. Shoes and jackets (if necessary) are on by 8:30. We are out the door by 8:35 at the latest. Everything in between is flexible. If it takes the kids 5 minutes to eat, then they have time to play and do what they please. If it takes them a half hour, no play time. If they get dressed in a timely fashion, they have extra time to do something else. It's the same routine every day though. They know it and understand it. Hardest part is keeping something similar on the weekends when Daddy is home. Obviously the weekend is only two days long. It takes a child 5 days to build a routine. That's 3 consistent weekends. After 3 years, we finally have that routine down. The key is I still have to get up early.
Our lunch routine and bedtime routine have always been followed 7 days week. Again, there's flexibility. Sometimes we go out for lunch or dinner. Occasionally, we'll stay out late and the kids won't make it to bed at their normal time. In the summer, one day a week is late baseball. However, the basis stays the same. Lunch, potty, story, rest. Bedtime is a bit more complex...potty, teeth, jammies, stories with Thing 1 and 2, Thing 2 to sleep, Thing 1 reads story to adult, sleep. Mommy and Daddy have different routines also, which the kids understand, because we don't veer far. Daddy almost always does bedtime, so the normal bedtime routine is his. When he's gone, Mommy does bed and takes out one story for each child and adds songs. I love singing to my kids and love that they still love me singing to them.
The kids have got this routine thing down. Sunshine is super flexible with it if things have to change. Monster is more like me, and creature of habit, so he needs a lot of warnings that things are going to be different. Having Husband gone more and more is actually helping Monster with that.
I'm not so flexible with my own routines. Every morning, I get up. I get coffee. I check my email. Then I move to Facebook and the Pinterest and then here. The pattern never varies. I don't ever mix it up and check Pinterest first and my email last. I think I'm acatually incapable of it. Even though it only takes children 5 days to learn a new routine, I feel like it takes adults, or at least Husband and myself, a lot longer. Can't teach an old dog new tricks, right?
That being said, I believe that's part of the reason it is so difficult to create family traditions for us. Traditions are just pretty much special routines. For example, one that we actually do and remember is Pizza/Movie night. Every Sunday, we make pizza and watch a "movie" (usually the kids pick Looney Tunes or Super Why instead of an actual movie). This tradition came about from Husband's friend's family. Growing up, Husband had a friend who, every Friday, had pizza night. All the kids were required to be home. They could have several friends over if they wanted, but everyone was home for pizza night. The parents make every child there their own pizza. Apparently this made a huge impact on Husband because he decided that's what he wanted to do with his children. Since he works such late hours though, pizza night had to be on the weekend so he could be home to make the pizzas. Other traditions though, we have a harder time keeping up with. Our Elf on the Shelf is a tradition. This happens to be the first year that Oee moved every day instead perching in the same spot several days in a row! This was our first year of Advent Acts of Kindness, but I hope it continues. Problem with that was, there were days I forgot to have the kids pull a card until before bed. The kids were much better about remembering than I was. I firmly believe traditions are important part of growing up. Sadly, Husband had no traditions in his childhood, at least none he remembers. I had several, but they didn't carry on through high school. I want my kids to have traditions that withstand the test of time. Like Pizza/Movie night. I'm hoping that when my kids are grown with kids of their own, they will have their own Pizza Nights or come over here. I'm hoping that my kids take the Acts of Kindness with them into adulthood.
I'm hoping that I can learn to be flexible enough with my own personal routines to add some new things and to incorporate family traditions. I think we'd all benefit from it.