31 March 2011

Creatures of Habit

One of the complaints I have about my life after kids is that it has zero spontaneity. None. Zilch. Before we had kids, G and I had settled into a slightly routine life, but nothing like this. I cannot remember the last time that one of my friends called me to ask me what I was doing THAT night. I'm pretty sure that some of them still make last minute plans, but having kids to tuck in at night pretty much guarantees that no one is calling you to see if you want to grab a cocktail after work. Maybe they're afraid I'll show up wearing sweats covered in food.

The routine may be boring to me, but my kids love it. They love going to bed at the same time every night right after Daddy gives them a bath together and they brush their teeth, comb their hair, choose one book each to read and then get tucked in. They love that we keep going back to music class every week. They love that we all sit down to eat dinner together and that there will be a cup of milk waiting for EC and a cup of water for LR. How do I know that they love these things? Well, when the order gets mixed up or the timing is off - if dinner is an hour later than usual and their bedtime gets bumped - they get all wacky. They whine and crank and wake up early, refuse to nap and even throw (gasp) tantrums!

Vacation was a nice change of pace for G and I. We loved being in a new place, not really knowing what was on the schedule for the next day or where we were going to eat dinner that night. And the kids really liked vacation too, but they were obviously happy to get home and back to their routine. LR isn't fighting her naps this week and EC isn't fighting bedtime. And they were oh-so-happy that we went to music class today. Of course, that could have just been because it was ABBA week - my girls are Dancing Queens!

I'm sure that not all kids are creatures of habit like mine. I know plenty of parents who take their kids everywhere with them - keeping their social lives intact post-parenthood in a way that I just haven't. I've seen toddlers snoozing in their stroller at late night restaurants and I sometimes envy those parents whose kids have just adapted to their lives much in the way that I've adapted to my kids lives. But I do enjoy the hour all to myself that I can count on getting every afternoon because my kids have an afternoon nap that they take together. I wouldn't trade family dinner each night when the kids recount the adventures of the day to Daddy for any restaurant experience. And that fresh clean kid scent when I tuck them in and kiss them goodnight is always followed by a few hours that G and I have to ourselves before its our bedtime.

So, I realize that while some spontaneity would be a nice addition to my life, I've grown quite fond of some of our little routines and traditions and I wouldn't trade them for anything. However, I would just like my friends to know that my workday ends at 7 pm. If you're heading out after work around that time, give me a call! I might just be willing to swap my sweats for a sparkly shirt and meet up with you.

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