When Routines Are Off And Expectations Are High (Episode 83)
How do you stick to what is important to you - the diets, schedules and more that you have in your family - during the holidays? It’s easy to stay in routine when you’re in your own safe family bubble, yet adding in visitors and celebrations can make all your routines go out the window!
In this episode, we'll discuss creating clear boundaries...for your children AND you.
Rid Yourself From Obligation
Do you really need to take this on, go that that party, or host those people? Is this purely out of obligation, or because it really fits in with what is important to you and your family over the holidays? Have you thought about setting expectations for how this is all going to go?
Sometimes we force ourselves into stress by feeling like we have to say “yes” to everything. We all have the same hours in the day, and our time is taken up with what we prioritize. In order to take on an extra event, what are you giving up?
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Do you have the time (and the energy) to show up and shine?
Where are we this week?
We're back in our favorite Florida area where drum circles happen three times a week! The girls love to dance and watch the sun go down, and I have to admit...so do I!
We love going to these and find all kinds of friends along the way - this week not only did we meet some other Full Time Family friends, but also another family in the area, and we all ate dinner at Tijuana Flats afterward (our favorite local chain).
Follow us on our journey on Insta as the FieldTripGypsies!
If you have food sensitivities, allergies and specific diets, take ownership of that without demanding everyone else cater to it. It’s one thing to share ideas, but it's a completely different stressor to land a list of “no” on the chef. Offer to bring your own food, or feed them before they come.
Just because there is food served does not mean that everyone has to partake. Maybe you feed your children before they come because it’s a weird time for them to eat or because their diet is very strict.
Look for ways to support - offer to cook, contribute your family-friendly dishes, or feed your family in advance and just go visit.
Going Out To Eat
Maybe you have the crazy toddler that is a nightmare to take to a restaurant. Or your budget is tight and you’re being roped into too many expensive eating out situations.
Here are some suggestions for saving your budget and having minimal waste:
- Eat family-style
- Order an adult main entree to split between children
- Eat ahead of time and eat appetizers or dessert out
You can always order more. Shift your mindset on eating out. Maybe it is to tide you over and you can eat more at home. This saves money, helps you stick with the healthy options you have at home, and allows for zero food waste when you go out.
The 80/20 Rule
There are times where it’s better to be flexible than to fight it. If you’re looking at that one big Christmas dinner full of desserts and goodness that is not quite what all you normally eat, maybe you make an exception for this meal.
Maybe you allow just a little, or you indulge, and you plan for it. You could let kids have at it with food, yet you stay strict on leaving because they will crumble at bedtime.
Give a little. Can you make an allowance for some extra crazy - with food, late nights, etc, just for this moment? Can you compromise for the fun of the entire event?
Create Body Awareness
Let your children test their own limits and allow them to pay attention to their bodies and how they feel. With small children, it’s important to regulate.
The older they get, however, the more it is your responsibility to not just regulate, but teach them the why behind it. Why do you pull back from sugar? Why do you not order cheese-laden sandwiches? Why do we avoid dyes?
Help your children navigate what foods, late nights, etc do to them. Foster awareness as young as you can, and identify when they are thriving and when they aren’t. Maybe one piece of cheese or a few candies are fine. Yet at some point, your children will need to learn how to navigate their own personal limits and how it affects their body.
Again, you can:
- Eat ahead of time
- Offer to accommodate for your family
- Compromise and allow for out-of-the-norm
If your expectation is different (and prepared for what is coming), your experience will be different as well.
Go Back To Your Routines
When you are off-routine, it can be great, or it can be a stressful nightmare. Assess how things are going in your family. How are we going to change the way we act so we can avoid this in the future? What is your capacity load?
It may simply not be fair to your family with young children to hit five parties in one week. Going so far off of routine can be a nightmare. Pay attention to your personal limits and how your family is responding.
Pick one thing vs. back-to-back events. If it’s a hectic week, get intentional about the downtime as well.
Give yourself some grace and forgiveness. Your schedule may get crazy. Your kids aren’t going to act like saints all the time. Look deeper than the surface. Are they tired, peopled-out, or reacting to something they ate that was out of the norm?
Your Weekly Challenge:
Experiment with alternative routines. How can you practice being out of routine? Shake things up a bit so your family learns beyond routines and about flexibility.
We are all doing the best we can with what we know at the time. We may be a genius today…have grace, flexibility, and a growth mindset. Celebrate your strengths. Recognize your triggers. And remember, the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.