“I am definitely going to take a course on time management…just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.” -Louis E. Boone
For the first five years of my son’s life, I was the main person raising him. I had him at a young age and balanced college, friends and my little baby. I was the only one in charge of his schedule, play dates, doctors appointments, and anything else that came up. If I wanted to do anything, I got a babysitter for him and I came back to him at the end of the day. I had to juggle my work schedule and whatever fun things he wanted to do when I wasn’t working. That’s about all. Once we moved to San Diego my son started first grade, which is five days a week here in Rancho Santa Fe. We moved in with my fiancé and his 3 kids, and every aspect of my time management tools and techniques had changed.
I am the type of mom who didn’t even put my son, Ky, in preschool because I wanted to have as much time with him as possible. I loved having the freedom to choose our daily activities on the fly and make new plans on a whim. I never really understood how people that have more than one child ever get anything done, but as I got to know my fiancé better, I started to see how. Moving anywhere new as a mom is hard, from learning new roads and rules, to talking to new doctors and moms. In San Diego, it’s even more of a challenge for me because Ky started school, and I had to add orientation, homework, morning routines, and after school activities into the schedule. Before school started I didn’t even know what a schedule really was. Once school started, it rocked my world. Add in my fiancé’s three children and their schedules, and it was like the Allied troops storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day in World War II. (If you’re not familiar, check out this clip from Saving Private Ryan)
I went from seeing one or two things on my Google calendar each week, to not even seeing a day on the calendar that wasn’t filled with something! Some days every child had a different activity, and with six schedules going on, things got crazy FAST! I would look at one day at a time and try to rationalize how I would get 12 different things done in the same 24 hour period. To me it was insanity, to my fiancé, it was just life as usual. It took me months to finally adjust to how I organize my time management tools and techniques now.
San Diego is a busy city, there is a lot going on, but here in Rancho Santa Fe we are sort of tucked away from the craziness. Not too much traffic, great schools, and a community that couldn’t be more friendly; Rancho Santa Fe, or “the Ranch” as people call it here, has been the perfect transition from life in the Midwest for me. My fiancé’s kids know all of the best spots to eat and hang out in the Ranch, so having them with us is always helpful for driving directions or knowing where to go to have fun! They are in 5th, 7th, and 10th grade, so they are all very helpful with their schedules and showing me where to drop them off, and what to bring along with us! I’ve started getting up a lot earlier, going to bed a lot earlier, and focusing on time management in between. After school, homework, dinner, bath, reading and bedtime has become a pretty easy routine to follow. My son is really happy with life in California if I stick to this routine! And my fiancé’s kids are pretty self sufficient at this point with some reasonable direction. Here are a few time management tips for moms:
Sunday: Look over the week, work out pick ups, drop offs, and set calendar activities. Set alarms for anything you’ll forget to be on time for.
Monday: Wake up early, make sure to talk to all the kids about lunches and plans for after school if they aren’t needing a ride.
Tuesday: After school, talk to kids about week so far and re-group about the rest of the week.
Wednesday: Try to plan something fun to fit in the schedule, start talking to the kids about the weekend and what is going on.
Thursday: Make sure all homework is done and in backpacks by the end of the night, don’t forget dinner and laundry!
Friday: Take time out to appreciate that you got through the week and made it to the weekend! Don’t forget birthday parties and weekend calendar events!
If I remember these things each week, I can usually keep up with most of the scheduled activities. I am learning that it’s not really about how much is on the schedule, but more about communication and keeping a close eye on the to-do list. The schedule is constantly changing and instead of it making me nervous, I allow it to help me grow and be more flexible now. I used to have anxiety attacks driving around lost trying to find soccer fields or the right beach for volleyball try-outs, but now I just sit back, relax and try to think ahead. I lean on people that know more than I do, namely my fiancé and his kids, and I talk about everything that I have questions about. I am LOVING California, and now when I see a big day on the schedule I smile, taking it as an opportunity to persevere and be helpful to everyone around me! When I am laying in bed at night and I have made it through a crazy day, I laugh and think back to the days I only had “eat ice cream” on my schedule. What would life be like without a little craziness?!
We’d love to hear from you about your experiences with kids and schedules and managing life in this era of the “disease of busyness”.