We are Entering the second term of the year, which means that we are already in month 4, we have entered a new season and at the end of this School term we will be half way through 2016. Wow when you put it like that it sounds very scary indeed.
The more Moms I speak to, the more it appears that 2016 has been one of those years were time is not something we have on our side. I was chatting to a group of Moms the other day and mentioned that I felt like I was on a treadmill, putting in a hell of a lot of energy and effort but getting nowhere. I felt a lot better to find out that I was not alone, this was a sort of norm for 2016.
This week’s article I decided that it was time to take back 2016 and throw you a life saver, to help you start off the next term on the front foot.
All of the below ideas sound like we are stating the obvious, but they are so simple that we often overlook them.
Before School goes back, grab the calendar and fill in all the important dates, sporting functions, birthdays, school meetings, any dates that you know you have to bring items to School etc.
Draw Up a weekly Schedule for the kids on a white board and place it in their room. On this board you will have the following information: Month; Holidays; Date; Day; School Requirements e.g. music, P.E., Library. Sports Requirements, e.g. Hockey, Rugby, Cross Country etc. I then left another block to add in projects and other items that are needed for School. As a School notice comes in, the information and dates are added onto the board so nobody forgets. At the bottom I have an R column, this is for the money earned that day. In our house, pocket money is earned on performance at both home and school for that day.
Underneath this section I have a list of things I expect from them on a daily basis. I listed exactly what they have to do in the morning before we leave for school. This stops me having to yell and get myself in a state. They know exactly what they have to do, and all I say is, “Have you checked that you have done everything on the board?”
The next section is so that they are aware of exactly what I expect from them, they are far more inclined to do what you need when they can remember exactly what you need them to do.
Now it is time to work out your daily planner:
A Moms day is full of so many different things that you have to get done, no matter if you go out to work or you stay at home, all Moms are working Moms in their own right.
I asked a few Moms what they find takes up the most time in their day are these were the most common complaints from Moms.
- Getting ready to leave in the mornings
- Being a chauffeur
- Grocery Shopping
- In the mornings, try and get yourself ready first. Once you are done, you can help the rest of the family without feeling like you are being pulled in a million different directions.
- There is nothing worse than everyone needing you when you are busy.
So here are a few ideas to help your day run a lot smoother.
List the things you have to do in the day and slot them into time frames. By this I mean allocate time for emails, phone calls, cleaning, shopping and anything else that you need to do before you have to fetch the kids. It is so much easier to ensure that everything is done if you allocate a realistic amount of time to each item. In your schedule give yourself some buffer time that you can use to do any unplanned items that may pop up in the day, or even to make yourself a cup of coffee. Most important, dont forget to plan some me time, gym, a hair cut, reading. You are allowed to have some time for yourself, but make sure it is schulled or you will end up feeling guilty because you did not manage to finish all the other items that you needed to.
Create your daily list and prioritise what has to be done today, this week and what you would like to do. Once you allocate a time to each item, it also enables you to see at a glance weather it is possible to achieve everything that you would like to, within one day. Time allocation will stop procrastination and help you keep a check on the time. The other reason for this is that it will ensure that you do not take on extra items, unless you have time for them. For example, if your day is looking pretty booked up and the items on your list are not items that you can move to another day, when your husband askes you if you could drop off the lawnmower for a service or your friend asks if you could help her with something she is working on, you will be able to confidently say that you don’t mind, but today is looking pretty booked, could you do it on Wednesday. You are being realistic to yourself. The problem is that often Moms are not good at saying no when they are asked to do something. The yes is always a good feeling, unfortunately if it is not a convenient yes, it will leave you on the back foot, with not enough time in the day and yes back on that treadmill. Sometimes we have to say NO to be true to ourselves, and we need to remember that you don’t always have to justify why you are saying no.
We all know that as kids get older, the afternoons are full. There is only enough time for sports, homework, dinner bath and bed. So make sure you have your afternoons planed and have allocated time for everything. Back to being the chauffeur, try and find someone with kids the same age that live in the area and create a lift club. It is amazing what a difference it makes if you can reduce your car time.
Before the week starts, you have to have a weekly meal planner. By planning your meals, you can take out what you need in the morning so that 5.30 in the afternoon does not leave you scratching for something to make for dinner. This will also help you plan your grocery list so that you know for sure that you have all the ingredients that you need to make dinner. If you have a planned grocery list, you can ensure that you only have to shop once a week. This will cut out a lot of wasted time in your week. Put up a white board in the kitchen and as something finishes, it gets written on the list, this way you will never be left on the back foot.
On those days that you know you will be home late, make sure that you have dinner sorted before you get home. Some great meals that you can prepare beforehand are: A Stew or Casserole. Lasagne or Stroganoff. I like to make a big pot of mince and freeze it in large zip lock bags as I know that 1 bag is enough for one meal. By using zip lock bags, it makes defrosting easy and saves space in the freezer. You can then use the mince to make cottage pie or spaghetti bolognaise. Try and make time to finish one child’s homework before the other one gets home. The plastic shop sells foldable plastic work tops. I keep these in my car with a rubber and pencil. If Josh and I have time to wait in between Keagan finishing school or while watching his sport game, we start Joshua’s homework. This way when we finally get home all I have to do is Keagan’s homework, while I start dinner. Try and stick to the same time daily for starting dinner, that way you will be able to ensure that the kids go to bed at the same time every night and you will have some catch up /down time.
A few other random things that help. Always have a pen and paper in your bag, if someone tells you something, write it down and so you can put it in the calendar later. We all have far too many things to remember and by writing them down, you can rest assured that they won’t go amiss. A calendar on your phone is a great idea as it will always be with you, and you can set yourself reminders.
Mom is the glue that holds the family together, and there is no better feeling than the feeling of being in control.