Here on Girl Gone Mom I think I’m the “veteran” mom, that is to say I’m the one with the oldest kids. What I’ve learned in the twelve years at this parenting gig is that the roles changes. Our kids are growing and evolving before our eyes and therefore so does our parenting. When my kids were little I looked forward to things like friends, school and activities. These days all I can think is “Who the heck ever thought it was a good idea to have all these kids and let them get involved in all these activities?” I feel my role has evolved into logistics coordinator and taxi driver.
While I feel each child has had a manageable activity load, when you put them all together it equals a very full calendar. And the thing about having 3 kids? They out number the parents, and therefore out number the available drivers. So how do I juggle the mayhem? Well I’ll admit, some days get the best of me and I just sit down and throw up the white flag. Other days I ask my friends to do a nice job picking out my padded cell. But most days its all about keeping a level head and staying organized.
Here are a few tried and true tips from a crazy busy mom:
- Write everything down. And I mean everything. It’s hard to coordinate when you are constantly forgetting something. Your calendar is your friend. If you have multiple calendars like I do, the one hanging in the kitchen and one on the iPhone, be sure to double check them to each other from time to time to be sure your activity appears on both calendars. I’m famous for adding something into my phone calendar and forgetting to add it to the kitchen calendar (or vice versa) and there is nothing like making a mad dash on the way to a birthday party to pick up the present you forgot to buy.
- Keep a bag per activity and teach your kids to corral it all. Trust me, this helps cut down on searching the house for a missing shin guard or ballet slipper. Soccer stuff is in the soccer bag, baseball stuff is in the baseball bag and dance stuff is in the dance bag. You get the picture.
- Make friends with other parents. When possible combine resources and carpool. Even if you can’t regularly carpool there is nothing like knowing you have a “back up” in an emergent situation. Trust me, flat tires and things happen in route to picking up your kids! Friends who understand also make great sounding boards for when you need to vent.
- Extend yourself to the coach. By chipping in for the team once in a while you will become viewed as a helpful parent. This comes in handy if you are ever running late to pick your child up at practice or ever need a ride to a game.
- Keep meal time simple. Learn a repertoire of easy meals for those dine and dash days and unearth your crock pot and search Pinterest for some crock pot recipes. Always have a stash of chicken nuggets in the freezer and take out menus on hand. Save the gourmet cooking for your free days (ha!).
- Maintain a sense of humor. On those days you don’t know if you should laugh or cry? It will be easier if you can find it in you to laugh. Remember, they are just kids. Stuff happens. It isn’t the end of the world if they miss a practice or a dance class.