As chaotic as parenthood often is, it is also routine. It has to be. Kids simply don’t function well without one, and any small change can bring about a big tantrum. Forget to pack the bedtime puppy on a trip to visit the grandparents, and your toddler will scream most of the night. Or, buy a different breakfast cereal, and your older child will refuse to eat and then whine about being hungry for the rest of the morning.
As adults, we are creatures of habit as well. After the routine chaos of getting both kids up, fed, and dressed and dropping the older one off at school, I return home, brew half a pot of Folgers Black Silk, and enjoy my first cup of the morning from my favorite coffee mug, one I bought at a Starbucks near the Limmat River in Zurich, Switzerland. I had a moment of near panic earlier this week when I dropped this cherished mug on the way to get a refill. However, we both survived this incident unscathed. My morning coffee just wouldn’t have been the same without my favorite mug.
For me, routine comforts like my coffee mug bring a sense of calm to my day. So too does sitting on the couch with my laptop while I scroll through the latest status updates on Facebook. Or check my blog stats. Both of these tasks have recently been complicated because of site changes, and that does not make a mama happy. After scrambling around for ten minutes trying to locate a shoe that is not in the last place I saw it, I like knowing that things are in order in my virtual world. When I can’t figure out how to update my status (to complain about not being able to update my status) or how to access the dashboard for my blog, I feel like throwing a tantrum.
I know, of course, that things change, especially in the fast-paced, technology-fueled society we live in. But I have to wonder if all these changes are necessary. I wouldn’t dare take the bedtime puppy away before the baby is ready to let it go. And I have learned not to buy cereal the older one won’t eat. So why do my favorite websites feel the need to change my routine? I need the familiar just as much as my kids do.
I suppose change is inevitable, though. As my children grow up, they will change their bedtime and breakfast routines. They will learn to accept change in other ways as well. For me, it seems I must accept that change is the norm. I can live with that. Just let me grab another cup of coffee.