I live and breathe by our family calendar. Without it, I am nothing. I would never remember Brooks’s soccer practice, Scarlett’s playdates, my meetings, or Scott’s travel. I would go supermomma batsh*t crazy without it. It’s not that I want to be rigid. It’s the opposite actually. With the schedule written out and accessible to Scott and myself and our child- care providers, we can relax because it provides clarity and order.
When we know what we are all doing, we also are able to keep our kids in the loop and that gives them a sense of security. Kids like to know what they are doing in advance. By being able to prepare your children for their day, they will have less resistance when it’s time to get ready for basketball or ballet. Trust me on this one! In addition to everyday stuff, I think it’s also important to include bigger picture family goals on the monthly calendar. That way, as a family, we aren’t just chasing the clock. We are also chasing dreams.
CREATE A FAMILY CALENDAR. Keep your family calendar online, or go with an old- school paper calendar hanging in your kitchen. Whichever you choose, write it all down somewhere. A family calendar is not about being rigid or strict— it’s just about keeping things organized. When you’re busy, if it’s not all written in one place, it’s easy to forget even the important things, like birthdays! Remember poor Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles?
SCHEDULE IN FAMILY TIME. Make sure you also schedule in quality time for the whole family, not just doctor’s appointments, kids’ sporting events, dinners, and meetings. This is especially important if you or your partner travel a lot. Pencil in “Movie Night at Home” on a Friday or “Pancakes and PJs” on a Saturday morning. And while all schedules require flexibility, make sure these little moments don’t get pushed aside by obligations that don’t really matter or aren’t as important.
RESERVE TIME FOR YOURSELF. This one is really, really important for avoiding supermomma meltdowns. Because, heaven knows, we’ve all had ’em! Please schedule in time for yourself. Don’t just say, “I’ll do it if I have time.” You’ve got to make time and reserve it for yourself. For the love of your family, get that facial, take that spin class, or that Coding for Dummies class (I don’t know what you’re into!). Maybe it’s as simple as reserving twenty minutes in the bath with a good book and a glass of wine. Schedule it in.
AVOID OVERSCHEDULING. Listen to your kids. Do they seem exhausted and uninspired? Are they just flat- out doing too much? As Brooks’s incredible early- education teacher, Tara Rubin of the school the Nest in Los Angeles, says, “Children need to learn how to entertain themselves sometimes, and they need to learn how to be bored.” Often parents are so concerned with making sure their children are constantly entertained, they’ll cart the kids around from one activity to the next. As Tara explains, “It’s okay for kids to stay home or to just schedule one ‘event’ a day. Let children be children, encourage self- directed play, allow them real- life experiences, and incorporate these experiences into your daily routine (grocery shopping, errands, cleaning), making them opportunities for fun real- life learning.” A day doesn’t always have to be perfectly planned out to be considered productive. Make sure that you and your kids have time to just be and maybe even to be bored.
SET FAMILY GOALS. In addition to day- to- day responsibilities, it’s so important to have a big- picture family plan and shared goals. And I don’t mean with your cell phone carrier! Sit down with your family and chat about your mutual and individual goals. They can be long term or short term. Things like annual vacations and holiday plans are important, but other unexpected goals might also come up. You might learn that your son has always wanted to go to guitar camp. Or that the hubs is desperate for a fly- fishing weekend with the boys. Or maybe supermomma desperately wants to take her kids to a show on Broadway. Whatever it is! When we know what our goals are because we’ve discussed them, we can work together to achieve them. The start of the year is the best time to sit down and talk together and write down your annual family plan.
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If you liked this blog, there's more content like this in my book, Everyday Chic! Hope this helps you and your families get on track!