I thrive on routines. I love making lists. I'm one of those people who gets great satisfaction from taking her pen and making a big line through a task when it has been completed. I went back to work last week, and, as difficult as it has been for me to leave my baby girl, even if just for a few hours at a time, it has been helpful to have some sort of structure back in my life. During those six weeks after P was born, I could not seem to figure out what day of the week it was. I guess they all kind of ran together - late night feedings turned into early mornings of walking P around our little apartment which were followed by an hour of sleep and then maybe a shower and load of laundry if P was still asleep. By this time it might have been 9 am or 2 pm. For someone who used to start a load of laundry and have all clean dishes put away before leaving for work in the morning, this posed a challenge.
Also, I tend to be a little scattered. One day I poured myself a bowl of cereal in the morning, got distracted by a crying baby, and didn't give the cereal a second thought until I was preparing dinner that night and the bowl was taking up space on my countertop.
Then, Monday morning, something crazy happened. I woke up for work a little earlier than I used to, fed P, ate breakfast, made the bed, and got dressed. When I looked at the clock, I was shocked to see that I still had 45 minutes before I needed to leave. My body suddenly started to go on auto-pilot. I unloaded the dishwasher. I wiped down my bathroom. I spent a few minutes folding and putting away laundry that I had washed the day before but not finished. I put away or threw away seven items that were not where they belonged. Why seven? Because it was better than none! Finally, I double checked that I had everything I needed in my purse and put it by the door with the lunch that I had packed the night before. By this time, P was hungry again, and I had just enough time to feed her and pass her off to my husband to be burped and changed. How's that for timing?
I found myself wondering how in the world that had happened. During my maternity leave I had been home almost the entire day most days. If I accomplished half that many things, I was happy with myself. That's when I realized just how important it was for me to have my routines. This morning, I even managed to fit in a short run before work.
For those of you struggling to establish routines, get your home in order, or just feel like you're making a little progress from day to day, I encourage you to check out FlyLady. She provides you with great advice to help you baby step your way to a better way of looking at things.