The Schedule Myth

December 31, 2008 12:00 AM by

Everyone promises that once we have a “schedule” all will fall into place.

It sounds so nice:
8-10:we play
10-2: we nap
2-5: we do an outing
5-7: we play and eat
7-8: we get ready for bed
8-8: we sleep.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

The reality is often much blurrier:
8-12: scurry about, run to the gym, cry, attempt to not watch television
12-3 or 4: we nap some days, while others we chat in our cribs or cry
4-5:mommy feels like pulling out her hair and starts counting the minutes until Daddy comes home
5-8: counting the minutes until bed
8-8: toddler asleep; infant sometimes asleep, sometimes screaming or eating

I have come to the conclusion that, at least in my house, scheduling is a myth along the same lines as sightings of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster—super cool in theory, but in practice, probably just a man in a yak suit.

Wouldn’t it be nice to just abandon the myth? Let it go? Every time someone alludes to their schedule–“I would die without it,” my cousin says—I want to ask: How do I get one of those? Can I use my Target gift card to buy one?

My cousin is the mother of two kids 20-months apart who also manages to send holiday cards (I don’t), remember birthdays (not I) and get a hot meal on the table each night while her husband works 24 hour shifts at the hospital where he is training to be a surgeon.

I must be some kind of defunct Mama that I can’t do the same. But the reality is, most parents say their kids were not on anything resembling a schedule for at least the first year.

I also tell myself that one day even we will have a schedule. When the kids are five and six they will have school and I will have my freedom back. But until that day, I am embracing the chaos that arrives each morning at 8—right on schedule.

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