School has begun and while the kiddies are all bursting with excitement, moms are writhing with anxiety. It's back to the juggle of work and family life. Moms know that disorganization can be very overwhelming and cost us our sanity. My list includes, PTA meetings, tennis matches, soccer games, cross country meets, birthday parties, grocery shopping, dinner to prepare, homework and backpack check, laundry(loads of it), lunches to pack, dental appointments, permission slips to complete, field trips, cleaning, school fundraisers and events, hair appointments. If I included the complete list there would be no room for the rest of my post. This list does not include my day job and the travel that comes with it, my philanthropic work, exercise, nor time with my husband and friends. Also, since this is my son's senior year, college visits and applications must be included! Reading this list makes me want to scream!!!
I'm certain that most moms are screaming at their list and wondering when on earth do they get to sleep! Some friends tell me that I do it so effortlessly. I've got news for them all....it takes a lot of effort and it is difficult! Any mom that says it's easy, isn't being honest (unless she has a personal assistant). With the national unemployment rate at 9%, work has been made a priority for most families. Some moms work a fixed time schedule (approx 8.5 hours per day) and have very little time to squeeze in items on their list. Other moms are self employed and may have a flexible work schedule but that doesn't mean they have more time. In some instances, they have to work even more hours than those who 'clock in'. So no matter which side of the spectrum you fall into, balancing work and home is very difficult and leave most moms feeling guilty.
Getting organized is essential. Everything must be scheduled, even sleep. That's something I'm working on. Mothers must realize that they cannot do EVERYTHING. We must prioritize and accept that some events will be missed. For example, my 3 children may have events on the same day around the same time. Even if my husband and I split up between 2, one child's event will be missed. I'm adopting the 'take turns' concept. A week per child. This week I'll attend my son's meet. Next week I'll attend my daughter's tennis match. Our youngest is seven and he must be accompanied by an adult. So dad and I will have to take turns with him as well. I won't make every PTA meeting, so I plan to attend every other month. When you take a break at work, schedule all your appointments for a month. Place everything (work and home) on one calendar Always plan a month ahead. For example, At the beginning of August, I scheduled my little guy's dental appointment for September 12. If you schedule your sleep, you can schedule your workout for early morning so that you can get a healthy start to a busy day. I'm in the process of re-training my body to go to sleep early so that I can workout in the morning before heading to work.
I don't always have time to bake cupcakes to send to school, but the Safeway store around the corner do a fabulous job with theirs....so I go with store bought and not feel an ounce of guilt. I can't do it all and I'm okay with that. Some moms equate 'doing it' all with being a good mother. You're a good mother when you accept that you can't do it all. Planning and scheduling is at the core of a mom's sanity. Whether you have 1 in school or 3, like I do, schedule, schedule, schedule. It'll keep you sane. Plan dinner and lunches on the weekend and shop accordingly. This not only keeps you on task, but also, saves money. You'll shop from the list and not purchase unnecessary items.
Planning and scheduling will help you get through this school year with your sanity intact. Don't be hard on yourself and don't strive for perfection. Do the best you can with what you have. Make adjustments when necessary. It won't always be flawless, it won't be without hiccups, but you'll have your plan to steer you back on schedule. Be organized, be guiltless, be sane and embrace your journey.