Call me crazy but I live by routines! I have to; I will literally go crazy if we don’t have routines. I think the fact that we have 3 very young children demands routines.
But each culture has different routines. And this is where it get’s complicated. So you see I am Latina (Portuguese to be exact). I lived in Portugal for 25 years before I moved to Asia, where I met my wonderful British husband. And when I met him, he was living in Asia for almost 17 years.
In Portugal it is very common to have dinner at 9/9:30pm and for kids to go to bed around 10:30pm, late I know. I was a little bit of an exception as my mum being a teacher would be home pretty early. So my bedtime was 8pm. Then I met my husband…
He would find it very funny that the Portuguese would start dinner at 10pm sometimes and that we would always be the last ones leaving the restaurant sometimes after midnight and quite often you would see kids around. I think it’s normal for us to enjoy things has a family. For him dinner would be at 7pm and preferably dinner out without kids.
So how can you manage such different cultures at home? For the greater good (ie our sanity!) kids have their dinners at 5:30pm and they are listening to a story in bed at 7pm! My Portuguese friends tell me that I deserted my Latino roots.
Maybe yes but I also feel that kids probably don’t know what it’s like to be awake on the street till late. And to sit on the sofa at 7:30pm, turn on the TV and manage to indulge in some mindless TV is a bliss to me.
From the very beginning, when we had our first daughter, we had a schedule. I followed Gina Ford’s schedule without the strictness that she implies. The morning snacks and naps were scheduled, lunch, afternoon naps and snacks, dinner and bedtime routine scheduled too. And I still managed to breastfeed on demand. So you see it is possible to have a breastfed baby/kid on a routine.
My youngest is not the greatest sleeper but she loves to have her schedule during the day.
About the Writer
Rita Silva Bishop is Co-Founder of MumRadar and lives in Singapore with her husband and four daughters. Originally from Portugal, Rita had a career in the fast-paced world of Motorsport event management before starting a family. With the craziness that comes from being a parent to four girls five and under, she has a passion for helping mothers overcome the challenges of motherhood and make life simpler.