As an elementary principal and mom of 3, I often hear “I don’t know how you do it all.” Confession: I don’t. I don’t even come close to doing it all. First and foremost, I have a husband who does a whole lot, a whopping amount actually. This man learned how to
put the girls’ hair in a ponytail very early on. It is a fact that he changed more diapers than I did. (Also a fact: his stomach is much stronger and my gag reflex rears its ugly head quickly.) He is a better lunch maker, sandwich maker, bedtime tucker and homework helper than I will ever be. My kids have had involved grandparents in their lives since before they were born. They were babysitters, caretakers and continue to be the third set of wheels. We have a village of friends that watch out for our kids, pick them up from school or take them to mutual activities. I am the family organizer, the “yes” parent, we all live and die by my ability to calendar our existence. I help us to meet registration deadlines, have a social life, know what day we are on and wear clothes that match most days. I plan our vacations, do all the Christmas shopping/memory making planning and try to keep us from losing our parent cards when the poo hits the fan around the house. We don’t do it all but we try really hard and maybe, just maybe this post will help working parents not feel like they have to juggle it all.
We have our moments, we did send the youngest to Spring school pictures dressed like this and I failed to schedule a haircut in time.
I don’t always meet their teachers but Jeff rocks the WATCH DOGS role at the school. I respond to emails from the teachers/school, and Jeff is in charge of the school-home projects because I CAN NOT. I won’t get started on the Density Bottle project in 6th grade-it made me cuss a little.
I try really hard to leave every day by 4:30 so I can get home and put on the mom hat. I’m successful 8 out of 10 days! I’ve learned that it is okay to be a parent first and practice what I preach.
I don’t do it all and as I started scheduling our fall activities on the calendar today I realized that we have a lot going on but how fortunate we are to be able to offer these opportunities to our kids. This fall we will have baseball, soccer (same kid), select softball, band times two, National Charity League times two, two in middle school, one trying out for volleyball and one trying out for basketball. Here are some life hacks we’ve picked up along the way.
- I calendar everything, EVERYTHING. I would love to tell you that my family
embraced Cozi/Google/Outlook calendar on their phones or has jumped on board with our shared family calendar via iCloud. They are still hanging to the hard copy of the calendar posted on the fridge. I have created a personalized family calendar on calendarlabs.com to meet their needs and make it work for me as well. You have to write small, make it work. It looks like this…
- The Waze app has become my friend. You can sync it to your calendar and it will tell you when you need to leave to get to your destination. I believe your Google maps app will do the same thing.
- In the busiest weeks of our lives, I pull out a clothes rack and on Sunday I hang every outfit that they will possibly need (uniforms, band contest attire, field day, etc) and label it with the day of the week they will need to wear it and line those bad boys up in order. It is a life saver when no parent is home right after school but we need them dressed and ready when we screech into the driveway to take them to their next event.
- Curbside grocery pick up! Oh my mercy where was this when my kids were little?!? When the parking lot was a death zone, the public toilets were a landfill and they fought the entire trip while I was trying to find the right organic yogurt to feed them. If you do nothing else, please do yourself a favor and take advantage of this service.
My goal for this upcoming school year is to be present, in the moment-whatever that moment might be. Stay off the work emails at home, be present in conversations at school and pay attention during meetings.
If you see me with a glazed over look-feel free to snap me back to our conversation. I care and I’m trying!