Some years ago when I lived in inner city Melbourne, my friend Rob visited from New Zealand. Rob also had travelled around the world and had, had a very eventful life. So after a few days when he commented that I had a country lifestyle whilst living in the city I began to wonder what it was that I did. He also commented along the lines that we didn’t rush about, that everything hummed around our home life and that I wasn’t motoring my girls here and there.
He was right. We had plenty of time to do everything and everything we did, we did with plenty of time.
My day followed a routine, which included rituals, and everyone knew what was done, when it was done, and what would happen next. I had rituals with the way I would say the same phrase to my daughters first thing in the morning. “It is now time to get up and bless your day!” I had a ritual question that was asked at every meal. “What was the best part of your day, today?” I followed a sequence of events that were the same, every night an hour before bedtime, and our bedtime routine was adhered to night after night after night.
To cap it all off I even had a routine of how we all got in the car the same way, every time. This was done in age order. The youngest first, and when she had outgrown her baby seat she sat in the front and her older sister spread herself out in the back of the car.
Going places was made simpler and easier by shopping at the same shops that were in a walking distance from our home. We made friends with our local greengrocer, butcher, deli and newsagent. Every time we shopped we made out we were having a social visit and always chatted to the shop owners. I hardly ever took my daughters into my local supermarket. On Sundays I would drop off my weekly shopping list to the nearest check out person and on Mondays about noon, Sam the Supermarket Man would deliver my order and have my change ready. If ever he didn’t have what I had asked for he brought a replacement and never charged me. When it was time for us to leave the city he told us that he always looked forwards to Mondays and doing my orders.
When we needed some fresh air I would take my daughters to the corner playground or a walk in the nearby reserve, or to a bigger playground that was down the road and around the corner. We lived our city life as if we were in a country village.
My daughters did not expect to have outings and be taken places every day in the car. On occasions I would take them to the local library and for them this was considered a special event. They did not even know what a McDonalds was until they were much older.
We always had time to hang about at home. We played, cooked, did the chores and generally hung out. I had the philosophy that if I hadn’t done all the chores by the time my eldest daughter had gone to bed … was that left over didn’t get done. There was always tomorrow.
We also had an ultimate experience of a do nothing day in our home. Every now and again we would have a pyjama day. We spent the whole day in our pyjamas. How relaxing. Doing even more of nothing and more smelling of the roses. The fact that our home was in the city on these days never occurred to us, it felt more and more that we lived in the country. After these days we all woke bright eyed and bushy tailed able to take on the world, no matter what!
More than once people commented on our ease of living and how I only did one thing at a time and how I always had time for whatever my girls wanted me to do with them and how smoothly our lives seemed to be and how extraordinary my daughters were. But more often the comments were that whenever people visited it never felt as if they were visiting us in the city … it always felt to them that we were living in the country.
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This article was written by Margaret Saunders, at Bedtime And Toilet Training Solutions.
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