Routine or Chaos

Hit or Miss. I say this a lot in response to various questions as of late. “How is she sleeping?” “How are you doing?” “How is your son coping?” “Are you getting enough sleep?” As I have gotten older, I now realize how very selfish I am in that I am particular about a few things that I do not like to compromise. Sleep formerly being one of these things. On average, according to FitBit, I get 3.5 hours of broken sleep a night. I still expect myself to keep caffeine to minimum and care for my two children. Screen time has increased with my oldest and with it comes guilt of being lazy. I am a type A person, and really feel obligated to excel at everything I intend to do: being a mother, wife, employee, student, writer, and overall an outstanding person that I enjoy. Self acceptance is a must, lest the rest fall off completely. I like myself, I just know I can do better.


I am mature enough to know that the expectations of myself are unrealistic and exhausting at this very trying time of patience. I also know that I can combat this ridiculousness with a more realistic plan or daily routine to satisfy my itch to accomplish something each day like taking my son to school, showering, and writing this blog.

Sleep deprivation is the driving force behind my lack of efficiency. I have discovered that I am very much a morning person and can do most things before 2pm which is when my carriage turns into a pumpkin and I go from Bell of the Ball to dirty grimy stepdaughter. The second thing keeping me from being half as amazing as I would like is lack of constant support. Boy childhas a weekday babysitter after school and someone to take him to and from school when I am too tired in the morning. These things are great but my extra hands at home are in a cycle of work/ sleep/ available that has no rhyme or reason. If we are both home at night, I am still up doing feedings and diaper changes because 1. If i miss even one feeding my chest might very well explode and 2. If he cannot console her immediately I feel I need to step in and help. (totally my fault and I should trust that he can do it. He is actually quite good and has been deemed “The Baby Whisperer”)

Aside from kid supervision, housework causes me anxiety. I feel stressed in a messy house. I can manage to put things in their place, but I indeed hire someone to do all the scrubbing. There is a tinge of guilt for paying someone to do something I am capable of doing, just too tired and do not have time to do. Being on maternity leave at 70% of my income puts a little strain on things but for my sanity, but I will still pay someone to clean my toilets and floors.


5-6am I am usually awake for feeding, pumping, and getting ready for my day. Soon I hope to incorporate a workout at this time, however in order to heal properly I must force myself to remain mostly sedentary. (Another struggle for another post). This does not constitute personal time, as I would much rather be sleeping. This is more of a personal chore like getting ready for work, though I try to make it as pleasant as possible with a cup of coffee or an interesting TV show.

7am I wake boy for school. His routine is pretty set as it makes it easier for him to anticipate the steps of getting ready. This helps reduce tantrums and makes Mommy’s morning a little easier. When I do get help with this step, I am usually still awake but remain in bed to soak up an extra hour of rest before little miss wakes up to eat again.

8am Boy is off to school and I can open my laptop and get to writing. THIS is currently personal time but will soon turn into school time by the end of the month, but for the sake of establishing a routine, I will enjoy it to the fullest.

10am I have to start the process of getting ready to pick up the boy from school. I have to get little miss fed and dressed appropriately. I also have to run errands at this time as I normally do not anticipate leaving the house again for any reason.

11am Leave to pick up the boy child, grocery shop, run any other type errand I need to.

1pm Lunch and boy child entertainment. This is where screen time wins. It is so dangerously close to 2pm that my last exertion of energy is spent caring for essential needs like fighting him to go potty and feeding them both. Since I have cut out all other caffeine, another cup of coffee at this time has proven beneficial to completing the rest of the day.

2pm Play with boy son, sans electronics. This is going to be the most difficult thing to work into my routine, because as I sit on his floor I have a driving urge to clean his room instead of being his dinosaur’s dragon buddy that terrorizes his village. It will take practice and a strong effort, but now that I have confessed my hang up, I feel more accountable to follow through. (So thank you for reading this far.)

4pm Is it bed time??? No? Lets knock out one chore. Laundry, dinner, pick up the house, organize something. The goal is to only spend 30 minutes or less on the task.

6pm Stop caring about what time it is and what else I have to do. Hell, we can even go lay in bed at this point for a couple of hours until its time for boy child to go to sleep. Every one can take extended baths or something.

I’m already so mentally exhausted writing to this point that a nap at 915am does not sound like a bad idea. I realize reading over this that sprinkled throughout the day is the constant nursing, diaper changing, snacks, trips to the potty, more nursing, and not to mention feeding myself, tracking my calories, drinking water, un-drinking my water, and I am sure I have a husband some where that needs attention too. Damn. At this rate I will be celebrating the day I go back to work. I’ll give it a shot, but know that I realize how utterly insane it is to expect so much from myself. The struggle is to somehow find a way to be okay with it.


Dacia Arnold is an author that struggles to find a balance of work, motherhood, marriage, writing, and the occasional craft. Her first full length novel, Apparent Power, is in the works to be released December 2018. Dacia served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and deployed twice to Iraq and often incorporates these experiences into her writings both fiction and non-fiction. She currently lives in Denver, Co with her husband, two children, and a fat beagle named Watson.

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