My idea on this blog started as a mom-oriented tone, but I thought about the versatility of a smooth schedule for every busy parent rather than just a busy mom. With all the different family dynamics these days, dads could be the ones staying home, or there are single-parent units, among other situations. Who am I to leave any of those important schedules out of the mix?
Hence the new direction and the all-inclusive parent schedule title.
Whether school has officially begun for you or you’re still waiting for that moment, the likelihood of trying to get back into the swing of things is high. I know after having our newest addition, Octavia, in April, I took full advantage of the summer and slept in as often as I was given the opportunity. And the extra sleep was wonderful.
But now, I am trying to get myself back into the habit of rising early in order to get us all ready in time to be out the door and get Treyton ushered off on time (my goal is not to struggle as much with the on time bit this school year).
Delve into my 5 tips for adapting a smoother busy parent schedule…
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For obvious reasons, a planner helps me A LOT. I use my Classic Happy Planner regularly. I got out of the habit of using it for a week or two, and let me tell you, once I started using it again, all was right in the world. I used to have a great memory and now that I’ve had three kids, everything from words to appointments have a tendency to slip my mind without being written down. Plus, I love that there are motivational sayings every other week.
(This is literally what my planner looks like, if not more chaotic.)
This one can be a struggle some days. I shower just about every other day (depending on circumstances — hello, dry shampoo) to both give myself a break from hustling every single day and to provide a buffer. Some days my kids cooperate with my expectations a little better than others. So, I either get up and shower or skip straight to getting ready, making breakfast, gathering last minute items for the backpack (check out these school essentials), dressing the kids and loading into the car for the trip to school. Again, some days run a little less chaotically than others, but we get it done. This sets our day in motion. On REALLY good days, I can even get the dishes done during this time.
Once I drop my son off and return home, get the girls settled, and usually a cup of coffee sugared and creamed (I need this with the pump), I can sit down for my first block of work. Whether that includes networking or just plugging away hinges on how many tasks need to be done that day as opposed to stretching over the week. Generally, I write out a checklist of what NEEDS to be done with work and home agendas, what I would like to be done and what can be added IF I manage to have a great day and still have time at the end of my day. Then, I just plug away and take cues from the girls as the day progresses. If they need potty breaks/diaper changes, snacks, fed, etc. Break for lunch, then continue trucking along until we need to get ready to go pick up my son from school.
Generally speaking, my girls (and really, my kids ‘cause even when my son is home for breaks or summer he does great, as well) do fantastic at letting me work during the day. I try to shut down once we go get my son. Once in a while, I need to come home and a finish a task, but I don’t make a habit of it, so they know we can come home and play outside or play a board game, etc. while we wait on dinner. It has worked for us, and I’m grateful they do so well. However, in case you need a reminder, some days are certainly better than others. And, sometimes I need to take a break after lunch to paint with them or give them a little extra attention.
Dinner Planned/Prep Ahead
This time serves an important purpose. If I have already planned what we’re having, it cuts down the time it takes me to prepare and make dinner. Sometimes, when I’m SUPER ahead of myself, I have dinner in the crock pot and we can eat when we decide rather than when I finish cooking. AND, while I get everyone served I usually clean up as I go and assemble Treyton’s lunch for the next day if he chooses to pack a lunch (I have him mark the calendar on which days he’d like to pack a lunch or eat lunch at school with an x or an o so I can glance and be ready). That allows me to see if he needs something extra for school (if they’re having a special day or whatnot), pick out clothes for the next day, and write him a lunchbox love note.
While these are just a few examples of what I do to make our home run a little smoother, please comment below and tell me some of the ways you’ve found makes your busy parent schedule run like an oiled machine. I’d say well-oiled, but let’s be honest, some days are clunkers that we’re lucky run at all. Can’t wait to hear your tricks!
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If you have a little in diapers, but aren’t sure which brand may fit the best for their little tush, feel free to try a mixed selection with the Diaper Dabbler!