“I’m Flexible”

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I am sure most of you see or hear someone say “I’m flexible” quite often when discussing schedules. Many times, what people mean by this is that they are not a stickler for routine. But is that true flexibility?


Page 110 of On Becoming Babywise says, “And remember, true flexibility is not a lack of routine, but a temporary alternation of what you usually do.” Clearly Ezzo and Bucknam have a different meaning for flexible than many of these moms. 


I decided to look into the idea of true flexibility. I turned to my beloved Oxford American Dictionary and looked up Flexibility. 


“Capable of bending easily without breaking.”


“Able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances and conditions.”


“Ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances.”


From these definitions we can see that flexible does not mean a lack of a routine, but the ability to deviate from routine if and when needed. As Ezzo and Bucknam point out, your aren’t being flexible if there is no where for you to return to.


I actually find the first definition quite comical when I consider it in the context of a parent with a child–especially a newborn baby (the kind of funny where you either laugh or cry). Were you able to bend easily this past Christmas season? And if so, did you do so without coming to a breaking point? Was your child able to bend without coming to a breaking point?


If not, don’t worry. The day will come. They become more flexible as they get older. The younger they are, the harder disruptions are for them.


So how do you make flexibility easier?


First, plan it out! Have some sort of plan in your head for how to modify your typical routine in the best way to suit the circumstance. As you get more experience in being flexible, you will be able to come up with solutions on the fly much easier, but in the beginning, having some sort of “game plan” will help you immensely.


Second, practice! Stretch those muscles. The more experience you have, the more successfully you can be flexible. But remember to give yourself breaks. Don’t stretch so much that your muscles snap.


Third, (and this should probably be first), have a solid foundation. You can’t “be flexible” if you have no starting point. Flexibility is ‘changing, bending, adapting…” It isn’t flexibility if you have no starting point.


Fourth, as I said above, give yourself time to recover. January is one of those recovery months in the year. Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and especially Christmas (followed closely by New Years), we need lots of flexibility. January is that month to get back on that solid foundation and let your sore muscles heal up. 


I hope you are all able to get some recovery done now that things have calmed down with the holidays! See posts below if you need some help.



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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. A Wee Irish Family
    January 3, 2011 / 5:38 PM

    Yay, you're back! Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and that you are well rested and excited to start this new chapter in your life! Thanks for your hard work!

  2. Wenona
    January 3, 2011 / 11:15 PM

    I have a 6 week old baby girl and I am struggling with her falling asleep and staying asleep for her daytime naps. She'll sleep for 5-10 minutes, wake up and need to be soothed back to sleep. I put her down calm and sleepy, don't pick her up when she's crying, and she's very easily calmed, but just won't stay sleeping. I am so tired as I have a 2 1/2 year old to be a mom to as well. I am using the soother as she seems to be a baby who needs to suck, but if it falls out, she gets upset. What can I do to help my baby sleep through her naps till her next feed? This is SO different from my first who would feed, be awake, sleep till his next feed, and repeat. Wow was I spoiled!! If only babies came with manuals…

  3. Lindsay Neal
    January 4, 2011 / 3:47 PM

    I completely agree, and I do find it amazing how fast they do become flexible as they get older. I remember when my daughter was 8 months old and we were on a strict "dinner at 5:00" rule with her. I wondered if there would ever come a day when we could go out to dinner without the old folks. Now we eat whenever we can all get together, usually at around the same time each day, but if we go out early or late it's really not a big deal. But I started with that foundation and it has worked well for us.

  4. Kristy Powers
    January 4, 2011 / 9:49 PM

    Excellent post! I wholeheartedly agree! I love the part about January being time to get back into the routine because I have been finding it a little bit of a challenge since Christmas. 🙂

  5. Plowmanators
    January 11, 2011 / 7:37 PM

    Thanks for the warm welcome "Wee Irish Family!"

  6. Plowmanators
    January 11, 2011 / 7:39 PM

    Wenona, my first guess would be that waketime is too long. I suggest you see the label "optimal waketime length." If that doesn't work, let me know and we will brainstorm further.

  7. Plowmanators
    January 11, 2011 / 7:39 PM

    Thanks for adding that Lindsay!

  8. Plowmanators
    January 11, 2011 / 7:39 PM

    So true Kristy. It is a challenge.

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