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My life is so full these days that I’d be lost without my routines. I wouldn’t be able to co-ordinate everybody’s diet and the food budget without the routines of knowing when to go shopping, what to buy at which stores, and which foods to keep cooked and prepared in the house. I save a lot of money by buying things like flour instead of bread, and dried beans instead of canned, but this means I need to be organized. I have to remember to soak and cook the beans and then freeze them so they don’t spoil before they get eaten. Flour can’t be eaten if it’s not baked into bread, pizza dough, or cookies. I can’t pack my son rice and beans in his thermos if I forgot to cook the rice!
So I have a system that keeps me going. I usually go food shopping in the mornings, when the kids are all at school, then have a few hours to unwind before they come home and life gets busy again. I try to pace myself so I’m not going to five stores in one day, or doing all the housework AND all the shopping on the same day. I have a few basic things I prepare for dinner repeatedly, to save me the mental work of “figuring out what to cook.” Routines give me comfort, as well as enabling me to “get it all done.”
But this month everything seems topsy-turvy. My oldest daughter attends a private school, while my other two are in public school, so their school schedules differ. Our normal routine developed around the fact that Hannah comes home around 2, Jack is home at 3:30, and Leah comes in at 6. Since Leah has mid-terms this week, she’s home early in the afternoon. She has mid-terms next week as well, followed by her school vacation. It’s wonderful having her home more, but it still upsets the “school day routine” we’ve been following since September.
This week was extra-stressful because I was called for jury duty. Sunday is normally a day that I take my son to Hebrew school in the mornings, and pretty much spend the rest of the day at home. But I had to prepare for being gone on Monday, and possibly for several days in a row, so all my “Monday chores and errands” had to get done on Sunday. I managed to stress myself out completely over some of the details, such as misplacing my juror summons and then having trouble locating the court building. It all worked out fine in the end, but the added stress fatigued me.
I don’t like change, so I’m not happy that this month is different from what we’re used to. But it’s also an opportunity to develop new routines, and maybe make things even better than they were before. Leah is hoping to use this time off from school to establish an exercise routine. This will also be a good time to experiment with new recipes, which may then be added to the list of weekly dinners. Sometimes we need a change of pace to improve our lives.
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