Friday, May 17, 2019

Little patterns

Hello! I got bored with my monthly survey, so I didn't do one for April, and in the meantime another month went by. I was reflecting on how we tend to rotate through different patterns of daily routines in our household. Of course there are certain patterns that I would prefer to see more often than others. But I thought I would share what a few of these are. Maybe I would describe a few of them as being "in a rut," but nevertheless there are certain seasons of life and setbacks that we can't always avoid.

1) The Stay Home/Productive Pattern

When Andrei is at work a lot and we don't have other plans, we sometimes stay home and do homeschooling and try to make a dent in the housework. I feel pretty calm on these days, and I think David would stay inside too if he had the choice. But sometimes we drive each other crazy, and throwing a little sister (who actually loves to be outdoors) into the mix can throw us into "cabin fever" territory. So a few days like that are perfect, but we definitely have to at least get some fresh air.

2) The Nice Weather Pattern

Last month, we finally had a thaw and enjoyed long runs of sunny days. We got into the habit of going outside once (or even twice) a day, for 1-2 hours. I would take the kids shopping with me on foot, or to the playground, and we even branched out a few times and met up at a park with another family. This was good, and David made lots of discoveries that made it feel like we were doing something right. However, those times outside definitely take us away from other tasks, and after a few consecutive days of being outside, I end up having a meltdown from being behind. And if we go on a long walk, then I physically don't have the stamina to stand in the kitchen cooking or washing dishes. It would be nice if I could start with a clean house and then just go outside and enjoy the weather.

3) The Up-too-Early Pattern

Pretty much what it sounds like! The kids and/or my husband get up earlier than usual, and then we have to go into survival mode to get through the day. Although it sometimes results in more screen time, we also might be forced to go outside since Sophia won't nap and it's the only way to avoid constant melt-downs when she's overtired. Audiobooks are another secret weapon that I've discovered this year.

4) The Up-too-Late Pattern

This one tends to affect the adults more than the kids. Either we sleep in and get off to a late start, or the kids get to bed late. Then we stay up late ourselves and are dragging the next day. And then stay up late again because we got a late start. Can go on for weeks!

5) The Federal Holiday Pattern

We don't tend to observe national holidays much, but if my father-in-law has the day off, then we have a nice family dinner. Meanwhile, Andrei tries to use the extra time for catching up on work, and we each have a huge list of expectations that largely remain unmet. Is it a work day or a holiday? Hard to say. It's not just a "long weekend" like in the U.S. Sometimes to make the days off consecutive, Saturday is officially switched to a workday so that Sunday and Monday can be off, or whatever. This month, May 1-5 and 9-12 were supposed to be off for Labor Day and Victory Day. Andrei did have that first week "off," but preached that Sunday and headed into an intense workweek. Meanwhile, we all got sick one by one. On May 9th (Victory Day), Andrei was working from home, and the next day would have been a workday, but since they had made it into a day off, we had Andrei's parents over and finally did a family Easter since we hadn't gotten to yet. And then I went to church by myself that Sunday since the kids were still sniffling. So we basically didn't know which day was which, and as usual I felt relieved when the holidays were over.

6) The Low-Energy Pattern

See #3 and #4, but more than your usual lack of sleep. Twice this spring we've gotten a cold virus that basically involves feeling lethargic for weeks on end. I've blogged about this before at this time of year, and it's definitely a spring thing. BUT after the first round, I went heavy on the vitamins and started taking them regularly. Still got sick again. So basically we were outside for a few weeks in the good weather, then inside for a few weeks but low energy, so never really got into productive mode. And I kept telling myself it was okay to take it easy while I was sick, but then it all piled know how it goes when you take a day "off." So we just came out of virus #2, and I'm hoping to catch up before something else happens!

7) The Social/Hospitality Pattern

Sometimes having lots of guests can be fun, especially if I have time to do a big clean-up first and then just do little touch-ups for the next people. It's especially good if it's casual guests who won't expect fancy food or a clean house. It can get me into a healthy/productive pattern. But then we might get behind on something like schoolwork, or the kids might watch too much TV because I'm busy with housework. Or the dishes might pile up with the additional people. Or I might be in low-energy mode and unable to do the minimum prep that I was aiming for, and get frustrated. I'm always glad when we can schedule lots of get-togethers, but it's nice to have a quieter week, too.

8) The Academic Year Pattern

My husband teaches in higher ed, but it's not like in the U.S. where the schedule for the semester runs all semester and is determined in advance. Different courses might have different numbers of needed hours, so they meet for different numbers of weeks. And sometimes they meet every other week. And he teaches in two different universities. In Russia there are also night (evening) courses and intensive courses where they are supposed to be studying from home and then do all their lectures/exams in the course of a week or two. So his load will just be letting up when suddenly one of those courses comes up. Of course, he also has to oversee thesis writers, etc. And write articles and books. So basically I guess this isn't a temporary pattern, but our whole life! Anyone else's husband teach or travel for work?

Do you have any patterns that come and go, or do you pretty much keep a similar routine throughout the year? From rereading what I wrote, I realize that I hinted at wanting a "reset" so I could enjoy those adventures and spontaneity better without worrying about tasks piling up. But that's life...we all get 24 hours in the day!

P.S. Photos are in my Instagram feed, and I have a new second one for homeschooling posts...let me know if you want the link for that one.


  1. I definitely see the same sort of thing about different little patterns and routines at different times of life. I think where I see it most is when we have visitors, like my brother or sisters. Last "summer," May-August we had a succession of visitors and that whole time you're letting things slide because you want to spend extra time with people who will only be around for a few weeks...but you also want to keep up on housework and work and your own projects.

    1. So true! Yeah, around New Year's here everyone has a week off and "goes visiting." So another one of those times when the regular routine is thrown off.

  2. You come up with the BEST topics. Yes; there are patterns and actually I had been thinking about that lately. In our case I was thinking about patterns (or habits?) related to the evenings. For quite some time, Monnie and I got into bed and read. Then somehow we switched it up and instead played with puppets. Then Baby Bee started sleeping with us and we couldn't do either. Around that time Craig and I started watching the British Baking Show, and allowing Monnie to simultaneously watch little videos on my phone with the headphones. Now we are pretty much done with the Baking show - so what now? I frankly feel better about reading and puppets for Monnie's sake, but for C and I, having that little fun time together is so good. Who knows what's next? Since school is out in two days and we won't have to get up early.....who knows? [I also really do not like the disorientation of holiday times]

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