A couple of years ago I read a book called Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne, on the recommendation of a friend. I couldn’t put it down. It was full of common sense and it clarified and confirmed some thoughts I had about family routines.
“The busier your life, the more your children need and will benefit from the establishment of a sense of rhythm.”
Kim John Payne
To begin with I wanted to create simple routines for the benefit of my children. Since then, I’ve realised it’s something that benefits adults too.
We all benefit from predictability and routine.
Having a simple Sunday routine helps me to relax and enjoy time with my family.
I also make time for myself.
As a mother I sometimes feel guilty if I put my needs above the needs of my family. But then I know that when I take time for myself I am more likely to be patient instead of grumpy and I am less likely to forget the important things that help to make all our lives easier. So there you go.
No more guilt.
Once I finished reading Simplicity Parenting I made two important decisions for my family.
- Create a meal structure for the week.
- Keep Sundays simple.
Since then, I have realised that these two routines benefit all of us.
Systems and routines sound dull but can actually be enriching.Initially I sat down with my family and discussed whether to have a meal routine and they were all in favour. We decided to make a Sunday roast dinner the cornerstone of our week. (I am the only non-meat eater so I have something vegetarian instead.) Buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup on Sunday morning was another unanimous decision.
I have to admit here that my husband cooks both of these meals. He enjoys it and I’m not complaining!
How my Sunday routine helps me relax
Our Sunday routine isn’t fixed in stone. It’s a structure which helps to shape my day, with three main principles:
- Spend time at home and enjoy meals with my family.
- Take care of myself a little more than I usually do.
- Work on one of my creative hobbies.
- A long walk with our dog.
- Cuddle up and watch a film (winter).
- Do some gardening at our allotment (summer).
- Catch up with any laundry that needs to be done before the start of the week.
- Make sure that any outstanding homework is completed.
- Complete a simple schedule for the week ahead (including a meal plan) and stick it on the fridge.
- Have a face mask or maybe a pedicure.
- Do some work on a sewing project.
- Spend an hour or two listening and organising my music library (for my DJ life).
All of these are really simple things to do and they help me to relax, feel grounded and thankful. They give a rhythm to my week that I have come to appreciate. Some Sundays I might have other commitments, but the routine stays the same even when I’m not around.
When Sundays are more relaxed, we’re able to start the week in a more positive way.
The first book I read on Buddhism was by Thich Nhat Hanh. I’ve recently come back to him through a lovely book: How to Love. The book is mainly focused on intimacy and romance, but I found many insights that help me be more aware of my love towards my family.
One of my favourite parts of the book is a mantra: This is a happy moment.
“When we feed and support our own happiness we are nourishing our own ability to love. That’s why to love means to nourish the art of our happiness.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Keeping my Sunday simple makes me stop and feel thankful for what I have, and that makes me feel happier. When I’m happier, I’m more able to enjoy small moments with my family before we all start yelling or someone starts complaining. (Yes, that happens in my family pretty much every day!)
Thanks for reading.
If you enjoyed it, I hope you’ll share it with someone else who might enjoy it too.
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