Boy #1 celebrated his 9th birthday this year. Nine. And as most of my friends know, I struggled with this number. Part of it was because he’s growing up too fast (ok, that was most of it). There is another part of me that realizes that even with nine years of parenting behind me, there are a few things I still struggle with and they all come down to time management. Right now we’re moving from the early school years, where you figure out how to navigate school into the kid years where you are trying to figure out how to fit school work in with the activities your kids love to do. If you do a Pinterest search, there are 1001 results on time management tips for busy moms, so I know I’m not the only one that struggles with these things.
- Keeping the house clean. I mean, it’s usually tidy. Or can become tidy in fairly short order. And I try to keep on top of the clutter. But actually clean eludes me. The kind of clean that my grandmother and dad used to do. When I was a kid, my dad would corral us three kids every Sunday and we would clean the farmhouse from top to bottom. Spotless. I would like to have a similar system in place that gets the house cleaned properly once a week. Ok, if I’m asking for things, I would really like a cleaning lady that came in once a month. Since that isn’t going to happen, I need to get a system in place that gets my house cleaned from top to bottom once a week. I’m currently shifting my schedule around so that Wednesdays are my day to clean. The key for me is to set aside a day, like my dad did, and just get it done.
- School work. I’m not talking about homework. It always is done. But the extra stuff, the egg cartons that need to go in for crafts, the daily reading, project work, signing the agenda every day, searching through the school bags for permission forms or birthday invites. I start off the year with the best of intentions, and I make it a month, tops. And then things get busy. Or I miss a day because I’m not home right after school. Something gets in the way and it’s a fast and slippery slope until it’s been two weeks, the bags are full of rocks, artwork and crumpled papers. And once I slide down that slope, it’s a battle to get back up it. For this one, I have no answer. If anyone has a system that works for them, can you share it in the comments?
- Meal planning. Food is the big overall struggle for me. Lunches, school lunches in particular, and dinner time. Up until now dinner has always been 5:30. The boys get off the bus and are hangry. But they are getting older, and activities have been added to the schedule. I spent most of May and June fighting to keep things the same. But if I want the boys to eat dinner that isn’t out of a box, I need to accept that it isn’t working. This fall is going to see a shift in dinner time. The schedule is going to be ridiculously busy, but the boys are older. This means that dinner can be later than it has been up until now. That will help. Now the only missing piece is to carve out some time to sit down and meal plan based on what I have in the fridge/freezer and how the week looks.
None of this is earth shattering. But you know there are those days that the little naggy voice in your head gets to you and tells you that you aren’t doing it right or that you aren’t doing it well. These are the things that my little naggy voice picks at. And all the time management tips aren’t going to change that. The naggy voice will just find another thing to pick at.
If I never improve in these areas, that’s ok too. I assure you, the boys won’t notice that the house isn’t spotless. It won’t matter that their school lunches aren’t elaborate creations or that dinner is often a haphazard affair. They will know that mom was in the rink with them for most of their practices and games. It will matter that they had help with their homework, or that the weekends were spent at the cottage. They will learn balance.
Maybe I will learn it with them. Or I’ll find the time management tips that work for me and actually have my stuff together. I don’t really know what’s more likely to happen.
See you at the rink.