Just when you may think you have life all under control, BAM! School starts and you now have to balance more obligations into an already busy family schedule. With school sports, clubs, dances, and kid get-togethers, how is a busy mom supposed to balance her own schedule with that of her kids' schedules? I'm here to answer that question. I've put together some tips for balancing your own life while keeping your kids on their own schedules.
Write It Down
While this may seem simple, it is going to free up your brain if you write down your obligations. Make sure to clearly write the time and date of each event you and/or your kids will be attending. Some people like to write the schedules on their cell phones, while others like the old school way of writing it down on a calendar. You may even want to get a dry erase or chalk board, and keep the schedule in your kitchen for the whole family to see. The main thing is to write it down. Make sure that the events can be easily erased and changed. That means if using a wall calendar, use a pencil instead of a permanent pen.
Think about which events are the most important to you and your kids. Make a priority list. Your daughter's ballet recital may take priority over another child's sleep over. Life is about choices and sometimes you will need to make those hard choices of deciding what is most important. Make sure you don't always sacrifice your own physical and mental health at the sake of others all the time. That means taking care of yourself and not cutting out your trip to the gym to keep your kids entertained at all times. By making you a priority, you will be a much better mom, wife and friend to others. There is a time and place to sacrifice, but just don't make it a constant thing.
Keep things simple. That may mean saying no to a full schedule. Do all of your kids really need to be in sports at all times? I've known families that cut out their younger childrens' soccer and basketball sports and instead spent time as a family. The sad reality is that, the more your children are going off in all directions, the busier you will be as their taxi service and the less time that you will have with them as a family. Think about what's really important and cut some things out. Simplify where ever you can.
Practice Saying "No"
As a parent, you need to say no sometimes. Don't say yes to every play date or event your children wants to go to. Saying no can be harder for some than others. It doesn't mean you are a bad parent for saying no. It could mean just the opposite. In an age when people are going all different directions at once 100 miles an hour, slow it down and say no. Your kids may not thank you now, but they will learn that they can't have nor go to every event that they want to.
Plan Out Meals Ahead of Time
It will save you a lot of time in the long run if you plan out your meals well in advance. Try making and freezing meals for the week. Utilize a slow cooker so that dinner will be ready when you walk in the door for supper. By taking a little time to plan ahead, you will be freeing up your time each day for more important activities. Learn how to freeze meals by clicking here.
Involve your children in jobs that need done around the house. You may want to teach them how to make their own lunch or get out their breakfasts. Some moms may have a guilty feeling for not preparing a hot meal each morning for their kids, but the truth is that your kids may enjoy helping you out. Try having the youngest get cereal bowls and utensils out each morning. Older kids can wash and dry breakfast dishes. You may want to design a chore chart so that kids can easily follow it and check it off when they've done their duties. This will free up some of your time to do other things.
Keep A Healthy Schedule
A healthy schedule means making sure kids (and you!) get enough sleep. When you have a busy schedule, you really need to stick to bedtimes. If sleep deprivation creeps into your family too often, you will eventually have cranky and sick children. Have a bedtime chart and stick to it. Practice having your children get their teeth brushed on time, and get that last drink of water before bed.
I've gone over some tips for balancing your own life with your kids' schedules. These are only ideas, so do what works best for you and your family. Write down your schedule but don't be afraid to change it. Learn to say no to your kids and events. Plan out meals ahead of time and simplify your schedule so that life isn't so rushed. Delegate jobs to your family because after all, you are all in this together. Most importantly though, keep a healthy schedule. That means getting adequate rest, exercise, and eating well. As a parent you get to be the captain of the family ship, so do what works and eliminate stress whenever possible. Good luck!
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