This morning as I was waking up, my thoughts went toward my day and what needs to be our focus. Yesterday I was generally “off track”, so that today I need to get back “on track” with our routine. The early part of our week got switched up a bit with a short road trip out of our little area and family visiting. As I was thinking about this week’s activities and how our routine got broken up and modified, I began to think about how a routine is like flying an airplane. It brought me back to the days, before I had kids, when my husband was building flight hours and I would accompany him. I was sort of being his co-pilot.
We always filed a flight plan, but then when we got into the air, our time was filled with many checks and balances to keep us going in the direction of that flight plan until we arrived at our destination. We were both scanning for and identifying other aircraft in the air, and my husband would regularly be checking his altitude and our direction.
I have only handled the gear for an airplane once and for a short period. It surprised me how much work it was to keep the elevation level and to keep us on track. There is much correcting of the yoke done during a flight. Pilots make it look really easy to stay on track and keep the flight smooth, especially as they gain more experience.
I began thinking about how developing a routine can be like flying an airplane. I have never really had a good routine throughout my life, but I have lived with schedules according to what was going on in my life like when I was in school or at work. I can see why I was drawn to the just-like-school system and programs, to provide a schedule to be accountable to as I began to homeschool. I had never really learned the difference between a schedule and routine as Marilyn Howshall explains in her book, Develop A Lifestyle Routine.
It has been really challenging to me to move away from the schoolish programs and systems in order to develop a good steady routine. I am so glad for the help from the Develop a Lifestyle of Routine book, which has given me some basis for evaluating our specific family dynamics and our life situations as they come up.
I’ve noticed I have really great weeks, and I have weeks where things get thrown off. I don’t get flustered over that like I had in the past. I use to see myself get off course and think of it as failure. Then rather than correct and adjust, I would keep going in downward spiral… feeling defeated…
That was not the right thing to do.
I have learned that I need to stop all the critical self-talk, self-condemnation, all the blame, and all the self-pity I use to be trapped in. I just need to check my course and see what course corrections need to be made and then make efforts toward that.
Sometimes a wise pilot realizes that the destination needs to be modified due to unforeseen circumstances and then he adjusts. For example, last weekend my husband was flying home with a group and their schedule got waylaid. The pilot flying the airplane was not yet certified to fly at night with passengers, and so the plan needed to be changed. They started in Canada and determined they could make it to Bellingham (an hour and half north of home) by dark and made arrangements with me to pick up the passengers so the pilot could fly the airplane home.
Just like this situation, we may have plans, but then life happens such as a move, a baby, a medical emergency, job loss in the family, etc. We end up needing to re-adjust our destination as well. It’s nothing to feel defeated in, but it’s something to make adjustments in and keep moving forward in.
This week we had an activity that took us out of our little area for part of a day, which changed around our routine, so we switched our grocery day. Now I have a relative in town, which is adding the need to be flexible with how our days look. I got off track a little bit yesterday and today I am ready to make those needed course corrections!
~ Nancy Blanchard