SuperMom Strikes Again
Faster than a travel soccer team practice three nights a week, stronger than two-a-day football practices, able to leap piano lessons and marching band in a single bound, it’s SuperMom!
Do visions of running your children to all of their after school activities have you pulling at your superhero tights and breaking into a cold sweat? (It’s not the itching, but the chafing.) Fear not! All it takes is some advanced planning and family guidelines to take the pressure off of you. Enlist your children and your spouse in this planning, and then the burden of organizing all of the after school activities won’t necessarily call for super hero strength–just some flexibility.
Write it down—all of it
Get in the habit now of writing everything down in one place. Keep a master family wall calendar like the Mom’s Plan-it Family Wall Calendar to keep track of up to five family members. The calendar is color-coded, magnetic and keeps it all together.
If you or your kids want to, have a separate calendar posted low enough for them to reach to write down their own activities. They can keep track of special classes like art or music, activities or sports, or playmates and birthday parties. Have fun with the schedule. Let them add stickers or smiley faces or whatever they like to remind them of important days. Just get into the habit of everybody checking the calendar daily before they go to bed so everyone knows what’s going on the next day.
Have weekly calendar sessions with the whole family every Sunday night to update the calendar. This helps you keep everyone on the same page and avoids potential scheduling conflicts before they occur. (This way no one in the family can claim … “But, no one told me.”)
Keep it together
Keep all of your kids activity stuff together in a or . Have a special duffle bag for soccer with pads, shoes, uniform and a water bottle. Keep all of this gear in the bag hanging in the coat room or garage. After your wash the uniform, throw it in the soccer duffle bag. Don’t take it upstairs and put it away in a dresser. That’s just an extra step. The ready-to-go bag will make life easier when you are late for practice and running out the door. You won’t need to go hunting for all of the gear you need. “Why are my soccer shoes in the pantry?” If you have two sports going on at the same time, get two separate duffle bags.
Same for piano lessons, keep all of the books, folders, etc. in a designated backpack. It’s always ready to go when you are and keeps the clutter in the rest of the house down to a minimum. Invest in hooks for extra backpacks. It’s worth it.
Say No once in a while
Busy moms and kids get a lot done in part because they are so busy. But remember to schedule in some down time between activities. Don’t pack the schedule so full that all you are doing is running from one thing to the next. Where’s the joy in that?
Step back, and remember that it is OK to say No to some things. The world will still go on, and someone else can run the bake sale this year. It is an important time management lesson to teach your child that you are choosing to do only what is most important to you and your family.
We tell our kids that they can do 1 extra activity per “quarter”. While we insist on things like Spanish, swim lessons, or music at different times to make sure they are getting exposed to different talents, we let them choose something they want to do. Whether they want to play soccer, basketball, gymnastics, art classes, Tae Kwon Do or nothing, they start to learn how to choose and set their own priorities when you aren’t in the car 24/7.
Think about how taking on another activity or group or commitment will affect the entire family, and say no to ones that you or your kids don’t love. Kids also need an appropriate amount of time to do homework. Make sure they get it. Children and adults all need down time to just hang out and relax. Don’t overbook so you can use that new found time to create more Chocolate Cake Moments!
Roll with the changes
These days, everyone seems to have a jam packed schedule. Know that sometimes it won’t always be perfect. You can’t be SuperMom (even though you may come very close). Try your best to be organized but stay flexible. When the schedule gets messed up, have back up plans in place for quick, easy dinners or a carpool driver on speed dial. If you miss an appointment, don’t beat yourself up. If you signed up for an activity where the coach insists on holding practice during church or important family times, quit and choose another program. You and your family are all in this together, and you will get through it in flying colors. The goal is to remember that nothing is more important than having time to spend together as a family.
How do you keep your kids activities straight? Share any tips with us because we’d love to learn more ideas!
Our Back to School Checklist gives you a list of necessities you might be forgetting.