Last week, I posted about my morning routine and how it’s very practical and a little bit fun.
My evening routine is similar: it’s quite practical but also allows time for some relaxing and reflection.
In my mind, the evening starts when we have dinner. I may have been working during the day or running around doing stuff, but around 17:00 or 17:30 I begin to wind down. If William’s been in daycare, I pick him up around 17:00. We get home, play for a bit, and then I warm up our dinner. William usually gets quite impatient at this point, trying to climb into his chair and protesting the lack of food. When the food is warm, we sit down to eat, which is usually around 18:00.
On 2-3 evenings per week, Jacob works late, so William and I have dinner together. We usually listen to music or call a friend or family member. He really wants my attention during this part of the day, so if I’m talking on the phone and not attending to him, he gets upset. So I try to have ‘conversations’ with him instead. I ask, “How did your day go at daycare? What games did you play? How were the other kids? What did you eat?” He responds with, “Aaawww,” “Ooohhh,” or whole sentences of “Dabadaba bishibishi tupatupa.”
Dance party + Chilling
After that, we clean the table (quite the job!) and do whatever needs to be done (e.g., unpack his backpack from daycare, put away shoes and jackets, open packages, etc.). While we’re doing this, we usually have a dance party! I play some fun songs, and William has an awesome time clapping his hands and turning in little circles. He laughs heartily, and I do too. When Jacob is home, he joins in too even though, as he says, “I don’t dance, but I’m just moving around to encourage William to dance.” Whatever works! I sing along, Jacob whistles, and William shouts out excitedly to his favorite songs.
Then, we usually just chill. If Jacob is home, we all lie on the carpet and play with William’s toys (build towers, play with cars, or whatever he wants to do). If Jacob isn’t home, I usually call a family member to chat. This is a very pleasant time because William is happy and playful, so I can relax and enjoying talking to family or friends.
Bedtime for William
To help William calm down for bedtime, I read him a book. He likes books but loses interest after a few minutes. What usually ends up happening is that I’m reading out loud to him, and he’s playing nearby. I can tell that he likes it though because if I stop reading, he comes over and gives the book to me. Maybe he thinks I just really like reading children’s books, haha!
Then, we go to the bedroom. I change his diaper, put his pajamas on, and put him in the sleeping bag. I turn on the white noise machine, draw the curtains, and sing him a lullaby. Then, either Jacob or I cuddle him until he sleeps. This is usually around 20:00 or 20:30.
After that comes time for me! I like to shower in the evenings because it relaxes me. While I’m putting face cream and lotion and doing my hair, I listen to an audiobook, which is also relaxing and enjoyable. Then, I eat a snack, which is usually two boiled eggs and one or two dried apricots. (Dinner was a while ago, so I’m usually getting hungry at this point.)
And here I do my journaling. For the last month, I’ve been doing the Future Self Journaling practice described by Dr. Nicole LePera. It takes me about 10 minutes, which I find manageable and enjoyable. I used to love journaling as a kid, but I found that I didn’t have the time or energy for it in recent years because in my mind journaling takes so long. But this practice is brief, reflective in nature, and leaves me with a good feeling and intention.
Then, Jacob and I brush our teeth, cuddle, and go to sleep. How wonderful it is to lie down in a comfy bed and let go! If I’m having trouble falling asleep because my mind is still busy, I tell myself a story of some sort. One thing that always works is to go through the schedule of a perfect day (I know, amazing what I find relaxing!). Usually, I’m asleep before I’ve even reached mid-morning of the imaginary day.
Do you have an evening routine you love, or would you like to have one? What is it? I’d love to know!