Establishing Normal: 3 steps to creating a routine after change
Being a military wife and raising a large family, I need routine. Creating a routine makes sense to me. That is the only way I can make sure homework is done, date night happens, dinner is cooked, and everyone goes it to bed on time. Over the years, I have spent considerable time establishing routines that work for our family. But just when I have a system all worked out, change happens.
There are times change is an unwelcomed visitor. We would make plans only to have them altered by people and situations outside of our control. From unexpected illness to changes in my husband’s work schedule, I have to make adjustments to the routine that finally started working well. I had to create a new normal.
Change is an inevitable aspect of life. For there to be any growth or improvement, we must experience change. In some cases, this is as a result of positive life transitions like starting a new job, welcoming a new baby, graduating from college or a spouse returning home from a deployment. These changes often make us feel excited and fill us with joy. We may see possibility and hope for the future.
In other ways, we are forced to experience change from life situations that we never anticipated. For some of us, this may be a rejection of a loved one, the loss of a child, walking through a divorce, receiving new orders to move, toddler stage, or being let go from our job. These types of changes can make us feel a loss of control, experience stress and even reveal fear. If we are not careful, we can allow these changes to make us bitter and resentful.
Regardless of why, any type of change usually requires that we find a new normal. What does life look like now? What is normal for me in this season? Here are three ways that I have been able to create a new routine.
1. Discuss expectations
Everyone responds to change in different ways and within different time frames. Creating a new routine often requires understanding that change is a process and not a one-time event. We all need to time process emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically the implications that come along with change. Former routines may no longer work with the new changes. Before these life shifts, you might have been able to get up early to go the gym or cook dinner every night without meal prepping. Now your energy level may have changed, and your taste buds are different. Conflicts can arise when we expect others to respond to change a particular way without discussing our expectations. Creating new routines is essential.
Create a family meeting time. This family meeting may be between you and your spouse, you and your parents, or maybe everyone should be involved. During the family meeting, discuss what expectations you have of each other. What chores do you expect the other person to do? What amount of time do you expect the other person to invest in a particular day? What changes do you expect the person to make? These conversations can be uncomfortable, but they are necessary.
(Read more about creating effective family meetings here)
2. Be patient
Creating a routine takes time for everyone to adjust. It takes weeks for everyone to get on the same page, even then it won’t be perfect. In many ways, lack of routine can make me feel that things are out of control. I spend too much time doing some things, and other things don’t get done. Some things start to pile up. Then I just become frustrated. Some days it can be we might fuss, use sarcasm, or become distant when things feel out of sort. Creating a new routine requires that we be willing to be patient and extend grace. This includes extending grace to ourselves.
Patience requires us to wait calmly in the face of frustration and adversity. When we exercise patience, we can choose to use our words to speak with kindness and love. We extend compassion because we decide to see the situation from another person’s point of view. Basically, less fussing and more loving. One key to implementing patience is self-control. Consciously being aware of our words and actions aids us in using self-discipline in how we respond to others. How are you thinking about the situation? What words are you using to describe how others are responding to the changes? Are you able to express gratitude? What can you do for creating routines for your family?
3. Design new routine
In some cases, the routines we had before life changes do not work anymore. We may not have the same amount of time or even the same amount of energy to complete the tasks that way we used too. You know what, that is okay. Take time to create a new routine that fits the demands of this season. Take inventory of what the new change requires. Do you have to get up earlier or stay up later? Do you have more travel time to make it to your new job? Reflect on the impact of the new change in your life.
Start by making a list. Write down the essential tasks associated with the new change. How do these responsibilities fit in with the current demands of your life? How will you pick up the kids from school with different work hours? Who will get up in the middle of the night with the new baby?
Regardless of why we may need to make changes, creating new routines can be beneficial. We learn. We grow. We evolve. We become stronger. Within each experience is a way for us to see God’s hand in our lives in magnificent ways. As you begin to create a new norm, continue to seek God’s wisdom and direction in prayer and in His word. Be willing to discuss new expectations, be patient and design a routine that works for you in this new season.
Let me here how you are adapting to change.
Cheering you on,
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I also like routine a lot. It makes me feel like I’m actually accomplishing things, rather than getting overwhelmed by the piles of things I keep pushing off. With kids and families there are so many factors of change to force us to readapt pur routines regularly and it can be stressful and frustrating at first.
Mamie L. PackMommy P
Oh, I do agree. It seems just when you get a good routine life happens and then time for a new change.
The Cinnamon Mom
I thrive on routine! Like you, it’s the only way that I can make sure everything gets accomplished. We recently were out of town for 10 days and I didn’t know what to do without my schedule. It was such a relief to come home!
Mamie L. PackThe Cinnamon Mom
10 days wow! It’s all fun until it isn’t, right?!?!?
What great and important tips. Change is hard but getting back into routine makes it so much easier. I love your ideas on how to do this
Really helpful tips! I am a huge fan of making lists. My husband teases me, but I swear they help keep me organized and on track, especially when life gets crazy and I am trying to get back to my routine
I have a hard time getting into routine I seem to get out of them as fast as I start one. I admire anyone who is able to do them well
Mamie L. Packangelmc2012
Consider writing down what you do in the mornings and what you do in the afternoons to see what you do consistently. That is a good place to start.
I love routine and your tips help me think through changes to the routine. Thank you!
Mamie L. PackSheri Traxler
Awesome! Are there any routines that already work well for you?
Jasmine - LoveLifeLaughMotherhood
i think patience is important. Chance doesnt happen overnight
Mamie L. PackJasmine – LoveLifeLaughMotherhood
Routines & schedule is so important! Ours keeps changing, so much that I’ve given up 🤣. But it’s more of a mess this way. So thanks for the reminder to get back to our regularly scheduled program 😆.
Mamie L. PackMarilyn
We have to adjust our routines and schedules too depending upon what is going on in the family. The important thing is to find what works and be consistent. Start small! You are more likely to keep it up that way.
Elizabeth | Tiredmom Supermom
Getting into a new routine is never an easy task. You have some excellent tips here!
Mamie L. PackElizabeth | Tiredmom Supermom
Thanks. It takes time and willingness to embrace the new.
Great tips here! I think talking it through is such a neglected discipline!
Mamie L. PackAmy
Oh, yes it is. Talking it through is such a simple but effective technique.
Be patient. Yikes…what a great reminder and encouragement to keep going.
I like creating routines. I can be really bad at sticking to them. Even though I know that having one works really well for us. I like your tip about discussing expecations. My husband and I bump heads often because we don’t always discuss the plan for the day or what we hope to get out of the new routine. I’m sure if we did this more ot would cut down on a lot of the misunderstandings. Thank you for sharing rhese tips!
As a kid, we moved every couple of year so I am NOT new to change. Your tips are super important to finding your groove again and getting back into your new normal. List making keeps me sane 😉
I need to have a routine, but obviously life has other plans sometimes! It’s important to be able to adjust and be patient.
We rarely practice enough patience. Something I am really working on these days!
I love routines! I feel like I’ve been relying heavier on making lists lately due to our routine being so out of whack though, between our newborn and this virus.
I love all of these tips on trying to create a routine after change. I get stressed about a lot change though so it may be helpful for me to do something like this.