Happy Wednesday, friends!
Guess what? It’s the FIRST LET’S LOOK OF 2023!
If you don’t know what this is, once a month, Erika and I do a little link up where we “look” at different aspects of our lives (and then if you blog, you share and link up too!). We have been doing this little linky party for years now, and it’s always one of my favorite posts each month because most of the topics are YOUR suggestions!
If you want to catch what we “looked at” in 2022, here you go:
In January, we looked at HOW WE ORGANIZE FOR THE NEW YEAR.
In February, we looked at WHAT WE EAT IN A WEEK.
In March, we looked at OUR FAVES FROM HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGE
In April, we looked at HOW WE DO DATE NIGHTS!
In May, we looked at OUR HOMETOWNS!
In June, we looked at OUR GO-TO SUMMER LUNCHES
In July, we looked at HOW WE KEEP HEALTHY
In August, we looked at HOW WE DO EVERY DAY CLEANING
In September, we looked at HOW WE ORGANIZE OUR CLOSETS
In October, we looked at OUR HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
In November, we looked at WHERE WE SHOP FOR OUR MOMS
In December, we looked at HOW WE HOST HOLIDAY PARTIES!
This year, we have a whole new line up of prompts (so many based on your suggestions!).
Just take a “look”…
Which means, today, we’re looking at….HOW WE SCHDEDULE/ORGANIZE OUR BUSY FAMILIES !
I feel like you guys asked us this because you think we have some magic secret?
I can’t speak for Erika, but let me assure you, I do not.
No, really, it can be chaos, but for the most part, we just keep a really tight grip on things (no over-committing!), put everything on the calendar, work as a team and find other people to help drive our kids to-and-fro.
My ideas are not rocket science, but as I’m sitting here thinking, these are the FIVE that really jump out at me when I think about our normal/average weeknight.
My top five tips/ideas/tricks:
#1: WE SHARE A FAMILY CALENDAR.
So, this took YEARS to get us to actually do together, but last year, Andrew and I finally decided to share a calendar for our family stuff. Now, we still have our own personal calendars for work that we do not share, and yes, I still keep my Erin Condren Life Planner up to date (because I’m old-fashioned and love to actually write things down in a paper calendar), but now, we use the Cozi app for our family.
The app is really easy to use (and so is the website). I love how each individual family member has a “color”, so it’s easy to quickly glance and see where everyone needs to be/what they’re doing. I love that you can set certain things to “repeat” every (or every other) day/week/month. I really, really love how early every morning, Cozi sends you an email with that day’s agenda. To me, that’s the best thing! Every morning, I look at it one last time to make sure I’m aware of all the deets for the day and confirm I have my ducks in a row.
For me, the hardest part about using the calendar was just getting into the habit. Once I started though, and really started using it, it became so much easier to use. My tip though is that if you have a big list of items to input (for example, your son’s soccer schedule for the season) go to your computer to do that instead of the app. The app is great for individual things, but if you’re about to enter 20 items on the calendar, I find it way easier to use the website.
#2: WE DIVIDE AND CONQUER
I know many of you don’t have someone to “divide and conquer” with (you are rock star moms!) or your significant other has a schedule that doesn’t allow for it, but if there is any wiggle room at all, I would try to divide up certain tasks. Andrew and I used to take turns. For instance, I’ll take the middle schoolers today and you take them tomorrow and repeat…but honestly, it became so much easier when we agreed that I will always take the elementary kids and you will always take the middle schoolers (there are, of course, exceptions). Andrew and I find it easier to stay in a regular rhythm instead of swapping. We try to divide up as many scheduling things as possible to simplify our lives. Another example would be that I’m in charge of speech therapy, and he’s in charge of occupational therapy. When we would “take turns” taking kiddos, too many things got lost in translation. It became much easier for one parent to know #allthethings about that therapy and therapist than the two of us getting 50%. I know this one doesn’t/can’t apply to everyone, but for me, Andrew is my biggest resource and point of help when it comes to scheduling and organizing my family.
#3: WE MEAL PLAN ACCORDINGLY!
I’ve talked about meal planning ad nauseum on this blog. Let’s be real, I have 451 Meal Plans for you to follow on here, I’ve written TWO books on meal planning and when I just did a quick search, the phrase “meal plan” is used in 854 posts. Needless to say, I think meal planning is important 😉 . I find that on our craziest and busiest days, it’s a requirement for us to not go hungry or get hangry. You can find SO MUCH INFO on how I meal plan IN THIS POST HERE. In it, I share my method, easy recipes, etc. If you have a crazy busy family that has a lot going on…make sure you meal plan!
#4: WE JUST SAY NO.
Yup. I say “no” so that I can really say a big “YES” to something that serves my family even more. Sometimes, I say no to things in my own life whether it’s social, for church, for the kids’ school, for work…whatever…if it’s going to cause chaos in my family’s schedule for the evening, it’s simply better for everyone if I say no. Sometimes, I say no to things my kids are asked to do. “Yes, Madeley would love to attend that roller skating birthday party, but she has a volleyball game on one side of town and then we have a baseball tournament three towns over, so there is just no ‘non-crazy’ way to get her there.”. Saying no is hard at the beginning but let me challenge you to try it…the more you say it, the easier it becomes and the more peaceful your family’s life will be. I’m just sayin’…
#5: WE FIND OTHER PEOPLE TO DRIVE.
There are four of them and only two of us…so sometimes, we need extra peeps behind the wheel. When we can, we try to carpool with other families (that works out so well for EVERYONE), but if we can’t make that work, we have some very lovely college and high school aged neighbors who love to make a little money shuttling kids for us. As much as Andrew and I would love to be at everything for everyone all the time…it’s logistically impossible with four kids, so having someone else drive makes sense on some of those chaotic evenings when we have multiple practices.
So, those are five of my top tips, but I would LOVE to know your secret ways. You are the ones who told me to try Cozi! Just imagine where we’d be right now without you!! 😉
Please comment and share and every tip you have for scheduling/organizing your busy families!
Now, if you blogged along with us today and are also “looking at how you schedule/organize your busy family” please link up below! We love to see how you’re “looking at” different aspects of your life too! The link up is at the bottom of this post.
Have a wonderful Wednesday, friends! I’ll see you back here tomorrow! xx