Staying Calm When the Family Schedule is Out of Control
When is Jimmy’s soccer game over? What time did Jenny say to pick her up from her friend’s house? There are lots of things on your plate when trying to keep track of the family schedule.
It doesn’t take long to start feeling overwhelmed when trying to make sure everybody is where they need to be, gets picked up on time and has everything they need.
When the family schedule is out of control, it’s time to stay calm, get organized, and bring some sanity back to your life.
Everybody in your family thinks that their task should take priority. This means that it’s up to you set realistic priorities. Do what needs to be done based on when it has to be done and how important it is. This may rub a few family members the wrong way, but it’s a win-win situation for everybody when you actually get stuff done without being stressed out. Ignore the begging and tantrums and stick to the designated order of things to get done. It will work out in the end. Once you determine your priorities for the day, be firm. Don’t be swayed by begging or other attempts to change your mind. Remain calm and explain what you plan to do in the order you plan to do it.
Even though you like to think you’re a superhero, the reality is that you can’t do everything. Learn to say no without feeling guilty. Your kids don’t always need to stop for a pizza or a Happy Meal. It’s all about how you say “no.” Instead of just saying no to pizza, you might say something like “We can’t stop for pizza, but we’re going to have a nice dinner tonight; and you can help.” This way you soften the blow of the no. Sometimes, however, a no is just a no. Don’t offer bribes. As tempting as it may be, don’t offer bribes to compensate for saying “no.” There will come a time when your kids will need to learn time management skills too. Teach them by example.
Take time to plan out your schedule for the week. Yes, there are plenty of time management apps to help you with that if you don’t feel like getting out the poster board and markers. Breaking down your schedule for the week helps to get things organized and keeps you from double-booking things. Ever tried choosing between your daughter’s play or your son’s soccer game when you promised them both you’d be there before realizing they were at the same time? Make short lists. An easier way to digest what you have to do is to make short “to do” lists. This gives you a shorter lists of tasks to check off; and you feel better when you are able to cross more stuff off.
There’s nothing wrong with doing more than one thing at a time, as long as you keep it realistic. Group activities taking place in the same general area together to cut down on the commute time. Combine different tasks that can go together. If you have to bake cookies for the bake sale and you promised your sister you’d babysit her kids, have the kids help make the cookies.
You can’t be everywhere at once. When saying no isn’t an option, consider asking for help. You’re not losing any pride by admitting that you can’t do everything. Have the older kids help with some of the tasks involving the younger kids such as giving rides. Get together with other parents from school and divide up common tasks. Ask your spouse or kids to get dinner ready some nights. There are plenty of free helpers out there ready to pick up the slack.
Finally, remember that you’re only human. Even if you can manage multiple tasks and juggle a busy schedule, you still deserve a break now and then. Schedule some time for yourself. Go ahead and get your hair done or meet with friends after work and grab a bite to eat. By scheduling time for yourself, you stay refreshed and better able to handle the stress of balancing a busy family schedule.