By far one of my strongest skills is the ability to organize the hell out of just about anything. When it comes to our family, the responsibility of making sure that people are where they need to be falls to me. It’s one of my strong suits and we’re big fans of playing to your strengths in our house. The demands on our schedule require that I organize five people in an almost militant manner. My personality is well suited for this since chaos is not something I cope with well.
Now here’s the thing, at some point between Boy #2 and Boy #3, keeping all the information in my head no longer became practical. Or even feasible. There was just too much to remember. Between my schedule, our business, the boys’ activities and the school schedule, the wheels started falling off the memory banks. Add in sleep deprivation and it was a recipe for disaster. There was no way to organize everything in my head.
The first thing I did was get one of those big “mom calendars” and put it on the fridge. And that worked for the most part but it didn’t cover all the last minute minor things that came up and there were too many days where I rushed out of the house bound for work, forgetting that the school needed something sent in, or there was a field trip, or that I had planned on taking something out of the freezer for dinner. Whatever it was, it was a last minute thing that didn’t make it on the calendar.
Calendar 1: The Family Fridge Calendar
A time management system for hockey became necessary. And for us, it comes down to three calendars and a white board. I have a family calendar on the fridge at home that everyone knows to refer to for that evening’s events. Colour coding each person in the house makes it easy to see each individual schedule in the midst of several obligations. Blue, red, and green for each boy. Then purple for my things (which are few and far between). Black is for HockeyDad’s or entire family events.
Calendar 2: The Office (or Work) Calendar
Now you would think that this would be sufficient, but you would be wrong. I have a full time job in addition to everything else and therefore spend a good chunk of my time sitting in an office. I would often get a phone call or text asking what we had going this weekend or evening as there was last minute training coming up. Hard to refer to a calendar that is at home on the fridge. Enter the smaller, work version of the family fridge calendar.
Calendar 3: The Travel Size Calendar
Somehow that isn’t enough because lately I’m spending a lot of time in my car, shuttling kids from one arena to the other. This means I need a travel version of the calendar. So guess what? Google calendar to the rescue. Thankfully, I don’t need the full blown calendar to travel with me and can get by on just having the hockey schedules synced to my phone. This means when I get a text from HockeyDad asking me which rink Boy #2 (or #3, or #1) needs to be at, I can flip to the calendar and tell him regardless of where I might be at that very instant.
There is no point in telling him to sync a calendar to his phone for a multitude of reasons I’m not going to get into here. This is about me and how I organize the family’s life.
So for those following along at home we have: A family fridge calendar, a work calendar, a Google calendar. Appointments, PD days, holidays, training, and ice times, they all go on each calendar.
The White Board
That covers that. Now, because each calendar is packed to the brim, there is no room available for me to keep a running list. And I need lists. The boys are old enough that they can pack their own bags for tournaments, family vacations or the cottage. When those items are on the horizon, I put a packing list on the white board and off they go. If there is something they want from the grocery store and it’s not grocery day? Onto the white board it goes.
The white board also is helpful to remind the boys of chores that I need them to do. The white board is for the temporary things that don’t have a calendar date attached to them. It’s handy to have especially in the chaotic weeks of hockey season where I might not see HockeyDad until it’s too late for me and forming full sentences is not an ability I currently posses.
I wish I could say there was one calendar to rule us all (because you have to love a Lord of the Rings reference) but the calendars need to exist in the places where I spend time. Home, work and car. We’ve hit the trifecta.
See you at the rink.