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I love routines. As a teacher, I need them. As a mother, I’ve always built routines to keep the household running smoothly. As a person who craves order, routines bring me peace of mind.

We have lots of routines in my house. Saturday is shopping day, Saturday night is movie night, Sunday is meal-prep day, and Thursday night is cleaning night.

On Saturday mornings, I usually make a big breakfast, the kind that we don’t have time to make on weekday mornings. My husband and I then eat breakfast in bed while watching the morning news and later switching over to Magnolia Network to listen to the latest renovation or cooking shows. My dog likes Saturday mornings too. He hangs out on the end of the bed just hoping there might be an extra bite of bacon for him.

After we’re finished with breakfast and have read the paper, we bring all the cookbooks into the room and start making a menu and a grocery list for the week. Since there’s just the two of us at the house now, Hank usually cooks on Sundays (enough for two nights), I usually cook on Tuesdays (enough for two nights), and we have leftovers the other nights and always go out for dinner on Friday nights.

After we have our list made, we finally get out of bed and get ready for the day. Then we go grocery shopping which usually involves driving out to the local pig farm to purchase local pork and beef, a trip to a farmers’ market to buy fresh eggs, then Costco, then the grocery store, sometimes Target, then home.

Our dog Malibu always gets a pig ear from the pig farm on Saturday. He knows exactly what is in that brown paper bag, and he can’t wait for us to get home from shopping, and then he gets his reward for waiting patiently at home while we were shopping.

I love this routine. It gets us organized for the next week and gives us things to look forward to. It also keeps our budget in check since we never go grocery shopping without a list. It also sets us up for a good week since both of us are middle school teachers. Our brains are usually mush by the time we get home on a school day, so any decision we don’t have to make on a weekday is good for our mental health. If the meals are prepped and ready, that’s one less thing.

My husband and I started that Saturday morning routine at the beginning of our relationship. We lived in a very small house and the kitchen had a tiny table. Our daughter didn’t wake up at the same time as us on Saturdays, so that just became our routine of eating breakfast in bed with the TV on and getting ready for shopping day. Then, when our daughter got up later, we would fix breakfast for her. Now we live in a bigger house with a kitchen table and a large dining room table, and our daughter is away at college, but we still eat breakfast in bed on Saturday mornings.

Well, yesterday I did something I rarely do. I broke from our regular Saturday routine. We got up and had breakfast in bed, just like usual. We made a grocery list, just like usual. But while Hank was in the shower, I noticed on Facebook that there was a play in my hometown (the next town over) at my old high school at 2:00. The play was Bye Bye Birdie. Several of my former high school classmates had kids who were in the play, and I had always wanted to get over there and see one of their performances.

So, we just decided to do it. We skipped the pig farm. I already had a back-up pig ear in the cabinet anyway for occasions like this, so Malibu wouldn’t have to be disappointed. We then did part of our grocery trip before the play. Then we drove 30 minutes to the next town, watched the play, drove back to our town, and finished our grocery shopping afterwards. Malibu didn’t get a walk that afternoon, but besides that, there were no big losses from our spontaneous break from our routine. And in exchange, we got to see a hilarious and incredible performance of Bye Bye Birdie, a play I had never seen before, and we got to see some of my friends’ high school children in action doing what they love to do. So talented. So hard-working. It was a wonderful afternoon. I’m glad we did that.

As a teacher, as a parent, as a bit of a perfectionist at times, I’m good at routines. But sometimes I need to challenge myself to be spontaneous. It’s a good reset once in a while. A break from the ordinary, the predictable, the plan. I’m glad we made that choice this weekend.