WT 144: Managing Your Family’s Schedule
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These days moms work more hours than ever and are usually the primary keepers of the family schedule. Grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, preparing dinner, driving carpool, buying birthday gifts, folding laundry and oh yeah, for many of us there’s a little thing called work, too. We’re often looking at our calendars and scratching our heads, wondering how we can control them instead of being controlled by them.
Question 1: What were some helpful things that you did as a mom to keep routine in the house? I am naturally a fly by the seat of my pants type of person and I have learned over the last 7 years that this just simply doesn’t work while trying to run a household. I don’t want to run a military type of household but having a “structured household” is more the goal for me. Still leaving room for some unexpected adventures with my husband and kids. Any help would be MUCH APPRECIATED!!!
Karen’s Answer: I get it! I’m a fly by the seat of my pants type of gal too. If we are honest, we could still do that and operate a household if no one else lived in the household! Here are my tip: I try and look at the month as a whole, and then break it down to weeks. For instance, I would look at Greg’s flying schedule, and the weeks that he was out of town, I kept life as simple as I could. I built in the “extra” when he would be home and I would have an extra set of hands to help. On Sunday I look at the upcoming week, and then get a game plan. If I saw the kids had a lot of events then I planned easy meals, reminded the kids to do their homework early, etc. I try to “pick up” around the house once a day ,so that part doesn’t get too crazy. I don’t mean clean, I mean just pick up. When I was working, I only did laundry twice a week. When I was working, I made my grocery list on Sat/Sunday and went to the grocery store, so that was done for the week. I have learned over the years, the more prep work I do beforehand the easier my week flows. ie: for cooking, chopping onions, and veggies on the weekend and just having them ready. Try and break your month down, to weeks at a time, that way it feels more manageable.
Question 2: I have been a stay at home mom for 7 years now. While I have loved my time home with my boys I find myself getting the itch to just do something else. My older two (9 and 6) boys are both finally in school all day but, I still have a 1 year old at home. I truly don’t want to put him in daycare BUT I am a little (ok a lotta) burned out on being home. What are some things that I could do differently to pour into myself as well as not having to sacrifice still being at home with my baby until he starts schooling all day? I need a new perspective but I just can’t seem to get out of this slump.
Karen’s Answer: I get it. It’s hard to stay home, and with your second being 6 years old, you were starting to taste a little freedom before the baby arrived. I was this way with Abby, our youngest. I started working at our church and would put Abby in the preschool program at church. I only worked part time, so I was out of the house two days a week and was home by the time the older kids got out of school. That really helped me. If you don’t know of a situation like that, then pray about it, and ask God to bring the perfect opportunity your way. If working is not on your radar, then try to do something like joining a gym with childcare or a Women’s Bible study with childcare once a week. I did that in VA and loved it. I was able to be around adults, and not worry about my children. Honestly, that got me over the hump. Get creative and pray. Ask God what would be a good fit for you, He created you, so He will know.
Question 3: What are your thoughts on extra-curricular activities for kids? My 2 boys (9 and 11) have so many varied interests and I want to give them opportunities to pursue their gifts, but I want to balance that against what I also know they need – time to be unscheduled, time for sleep!, time for family dinner and for just plain getting bored.
Karen’s Answer: I tried to keep the extra-curricular to a minimum. Life is just busy, and I usually let each child do one activity at a time. I also think when it’s limited your child has to figure out what they want to do the most, and that is good. Decide what is the most important thing for your family and then plan accordingly. You may decide that music lessons and sports are both important, and if that is the case, make that work.
Question 4: I have 1 adult child (and grandchild) and 2 late elementary students. Our life is busy and I am extra involved in church, work and community. I struggle with saying no. Not to my kids or family but to things around me. What advice can you give?
Karen’s Answer: Saying “no” is important because it helps you not get burned out in life, and for you not to feel taken advantage of by people and organizations. It’s great to say “yes” to things, but make sure what you are saying “yes” to are the things that you care deeply about. Sometimes, the best “yes” is carving out time for you and your family and not to be so busy all the time. It’s always a tension to manage for sure. But, when I start to feel like I’m not doing anything really well, that is my sign, something needs to give. For example: if I am too involved in BOAW, and my marriage starts to suffer then I know I need to build in more time for Greg and myself. I’m traveling a lot in 2019 for Birds, which is great, but I am going to have to be very proactive in planning dates with Greg and keeping our relationship #1. Have someone in your life that you feel safe with and that will speak truth in their life of when you are stretched too thin.
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