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Blog: Life Management
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN...THE KIDS ARE RUNNING MY SCHEDULE?!



Since your children have entered your life it probably seems your days (and maybe worse) are not your own. How did this happen?
 
When you begin your parenting days (or should I say "daze?") your time must be divided between your activities and the needs/wants of your children.  Like it or not, that's the life of every parent.  If there are two parents in the home you are blessed to be able to juggle/tag team the kids' to-do's with your spouse. 
 
The key for every family, single parent or with two in the home, is good communication, which means planning ahead and constant review of the upcoming events.  In the ideal situation everyone (dad and kids included) would have his or her own portable planners (i.e. notebook type or palm pilot.)  A family calendar posted in the traffic flow of the family home is a good place to coordinate the personal calendars. 
 
When the school calendar comes home in the fall the dates on it should be immediately transferred onto any and all calendars involved in family life.  Codes with initials and/or colors help everyone know at a glance who's to be doing what at any given time.  For example, H is for Heather's activities and/or pink highlighter to make it stand out.  Also, yellow (like the bus?) could denote school functions; green (as in money?) could denote income producing time slots and so on.
 
When planning ahead make sure to group appointments whenever possible.  For example, make all dentist and haircut appointments at the same time and same place.   Be strategic in your planning as in picking up the dry cleaning after dropping Sam at soccer practice.  By the way, put that dry cleaning in the car the night before so you don't forget it when running out the door that morning. 
 
Once in the car to head off for the day or at the end of the day while driving together you can use this valuable time in a variety of ways.  Be thankful for those seat belts that contain kids because it wasn't many years ago when kids beyond baby car seats could roam around the back of the car, station wagon, or van getting into trouble of all sorts.  Pose questions to your kids to get to know them a bit better and find out what's going on in their peer groups.  With small children you could get them to look out the window and find interesting shapes in the clouds to spark their creativity.  Answer their questions and do some educating when they ask why there are so many political signs in all the yards they're passing.  Here's a unique idea...call a time out for silence in the car...ahhhhh doesn't that feel good!  Car time is what you make of it so change your perspective on that time in the car being a waste of time. 
 
Keep priorities always in mind when planning.  Do you really need to add another night out event to your life?  Perhaps it's time to say no to that committee because if you don't you won't be saying yes to your family...again!  Avoid over scheduling like the plague.
Cut back whenever possible which is especially important if you feel like you're about to go off the deep end.  We all have to test the edges of our calendar to find out when we've taken on too much.  Don't berate yourself but instead treat it as a learning experience and vow not to let it happen again if at all possible.  Who and what are the most important people and things in your life.  In case you hadn't noticed, we all make time for the things we love.  So what does your calendar reveal that you love?   Hm? 
 
Another thing to keep in mind when trying to regain your sanity now that you have children is to establish as many routines as possible.  You need your own routines, such as some morning devotions/prayer and physical exercise before the kids get up.  The kids need routines to get dressed (clothes set out the night before), groomed, pick up their bedrooms, have a hearty but easy breakfast (table set the night before), and a lunch ready to grab (because it was set out the night before) when it's time to walk out the door for school in the morning. 
 
Then there's the routine of house cleaning that everyone, yes everyone, who lives there should participate in to keep the abode in order.  Will Saturday morning work to accomplish those tasks?  If not, what weeknight might be a good one to all pitch in so mom isn't on her hands and knees all weekend and after her busy days scrubbing and washing for everyone else?  Remember, one of a parents main jobs is to teach children how to live independently so unless they'll be able to afford maid service when they leave home you'd better get the job done now while they're in your care.  Kids and both parents helping around the house have many benefits for everyone involved.
 
Planning changes like the seasons.  Allow extra time during the winter when icy or snowy conditions might affect your travel.  If it's going to be cold and then hot during the time away from home be sure to include a jacket in your "what to take along" totes.  Keeping a stadium blanket in the trunk might be a skin saver in a pinch.
 
Moms and dads need to remember they are married even though these kids have invaded their space.  Plan time together and schedule "date nights" on the calendar along with all the "family nights."  Time alone as a couple over a candle light dinner at a nice restaurant without the little munchkins wiggling around dropping crumbs all over the nicely vacuumed carpet is equally important as holding those family council times where you hash out issues, plan vacations, do some educating, or just plain have fun together.
 
So, if you feel like your kids are running your schedule...they are!  Learn to love it because before you know it they'll be grown and gone.  I know it seems like you're stuck in this time and space but you're truly not.  Your parents thought this same thing and look how lonely they are now so they run off to Florida and Arizona wondering where the time went.   Just as they adopted the saying "This too shall pass!"  you should also because pass it will.  Your perspective and attitude now will color the memories you'll have of these fast and furious days.  Sure we all have rose color glasses when looking backward but why not put those rose colored glasses on right now?   Don't be so hard on yourself.  No one has done this perfectly and you won't either but you can and will have a much better flow during this time of life if you just take a deep breath, praise God for all the blessings you have in relation to the burdens, and enjoy the ride called parenthood!

posted on: 8/18/2009 12:00:00 PM by Judy Warmington
category: The Mental Side


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Life Management


by Judy Warmington

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About Judy:

Judy Warmington, Woman Time Management (owner) -- Busy wife, mother of three adult/married children, grandmother of 10 (5 boys and 5 girls!), former high school teacher (M.A. from W.M.U.), Speaker, Author, Radio Personality, and Trainer of Professional Organizers.

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