As a working mom, it is so hard to manage multiple schedules. I have to organize work, home, travel schedules, hubby’s schedule, and kids’ activities, all on one page. I’m getting so much done now that I’m using my calendar!
This is part of our 31 Things Every Working Mom Needs series. To read all the posts in order, visit the introduction post to see the outline for the whole series.
As a working mom, you CAN manage multiple schedules. You just have to have the right tools.
I favor paper planners that allow me to organize work, home, travel schedules, hubby’s schedule, and kids’ activities, all on one page.
I also put some appointments in my phone that sync with my Google account. I NEED the reminder features to keep me on track. Using electronic calendars that consolidate multiple schedules, such as Google Calendar, are ideal for sharing information between family members.
Choose the Right Calendar
If you have to manage multiple schedules (including work, travel, home, spouse, children), you need to have a calendar that can accommodate that. There are daily, weekly, and monthly options. You may also have a preference for electronic vs paper.
Consider whether you need to share information between family members (and rely on electronic syncing).
I have reminders on my phone for taking my medicine, checking my blood sugar, and touching base with my teenager after school to name a few.
Use Your Calendar
In order for your calendar to help you, you have to actually USE it. I print out my kids’ school calendars, note hair appointments, doctor’s appointments, birthdays, and more.
Also consider what tasks will come with each appointment or commitment. For example, if you have a doctor’s appointment with a new doctor, you may need to arrive early to fill out paperwork. If you join the church choir, you’ll need to block off the practice times on your calendar each week.
Weekly Planning Sessions
I would suggest that you set aside 1/2 hour to plan each week. Sundays would be an ideal day to get ahead for the week. This is part of my “prep the night before” routine. What items do you need to plan for? Check your calendar, work out carpool details, decide what you’re cooking, assign weekly chores, and block off some quality time with your children.
Kids’ activities can wreck havoc on your schedule. Practices, recitals, games, performances, meetings, etc. can take up a lot of your time. I try to limit activities to 1-2 per child. You may even want to consider having an activity policy – they pick the most important activities and it helps you to limits costs.
Trade Time With a Friend
When my son was an only child, we had a lot of play dates that involved either someone else spending a day or night at our house and then returning the favor to us.
It was a great way for the kids to occupy each other and for the parents to get lots of things done.
What might that look like? Someone else’s child might spend the night with you on Friday night and return home Saturday afternoon. Then, Saturday night, your child might spend the night with them and return home Sunday afternoon.
The kids get two great days together and the parents don’t have to host both times. I personally have found it much easier for my kids to have company than playing alone. It seems like they don’t day “I’m bored” when they have someone to keep them occupied. This is a great strategy for holiday shopping, too!
Outsource and Delegate
It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to keep up with housework. If you and your spouse work full-time, you would probably rather spend quality time with your kids in the evenings and on the weekends than clean. I have some tips you should know about hiring a housekeeper (without the guilt). You should also reduce stress by delegating chores and household responsibilities. Here’s How to Delegate When You’re Tired of Doing it All.
Have Backup Plans
Think this through when you are designating emergency contacts at your kids’ schools. Who do you know of that has a flexible enough schedule that you would be able to call them in a pinch? Mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, friends, etc. Note in your calendar who you would call under the following circumstances:
- when you have to leave work late
- if you get sick
- if your child gets sick/hurt has to be picked up from school
I have a very close friend who does this often. The first time I made what I thought was a reasonable request of her and she didn’t immediately say yes, I thought it was unusual.
How dare my friend not say yes to my request? After I saw her responding this way to others’ requests and her replying that way to me in multiple instances. I thought – ok this is just her process. Learn why in my post: The Perfect Way to Say No.
Get An Early Start
Many don’t know how waking up early can jump start your day, help you get more done, and give you a sense of accomplishment. I’ll tell you how to pull this off and what to do with the extra time in my post How to Wake Up Early. I’ll even show you how beginning your morning routine with something you enjoy is a great way to build a long-lasting habit. I’ve got four habits make for a more relaxed, happy, and productive mom: 4 Ways to Take Care of Yourself First.
Develop Regular Routines
Does the day happen to you or do you take charge of your day? I think there are certain daily routines all moms should have. I’ve even shared my morning and evening routines. Check out these Daily Routines Working Moms Must Have, A Working Mom’s Morning Routine, and A Working Mom’s Evening Routine
Turn Waiting Time into Productive Time
How much time do you spend waiting at the doctor’s office, waiting at the hair salon, or waiting at soccer practice? You can get a lot accomplished in 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or one hour.
Example include responding to emails, updating your calendar, making a to-do list, reading, writing thank you notes, sending birthday cards, knitting, completing permission slips, organizing coupons, or sorting mail.
If you liked this post, you’ll probably want to see thisworking mom schedule for cleaning house or Help for Working Moms to Get Your House & Schedule Clean and Organized.