and Time: How to Keep Your Family Organized
could not be everywhere, therefore he created mothers.
- Hebrew Proverb
my kids were little, some days between feeding times, nap times
and diaper changes, I felt like I was lucky to leave the house before
nightfall. I thought things would change when they got older. Things
did change, but none of my time was freed up any more than it was
when they were little. Feeding times, nap times and diaper changes
were just replaced with school activities, homework help, sports
practices, and car pools. Listed below are some of the tips I've
learned over the years to make life easier when you are a working
mom with kids.
Keep a Central
Calendar for the Whole Family
1. Post a family
calendar in a visible place with everyone's schedule on it. Children
should be able to look at the calendar to know what activities are
coming up for them over the next week or two. On your calendar include
things like sports practices, birthday parties, holidays, school
holidays, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, field trips,
parent's nights out, family meetings, etc. Having one centralized
calendar makes it easier to see and resolve any schedule conflicts
well ahead of time.
Have a Family
2. Make a chart
with all of the household tasks that need to be done in a week and
divide the tasks among family members during a family meeting. Then
post your chart on the refrigerator, message board or some other
place so everyone knows their assigned tasks. Even young children
can be assigned simple chores like picking up their own toys, setting
the table, dusting, clearing their own place after eating, or folding
towels. (Children who are too young to read should have a chart
with pictures of the chores they need to do each day.) School age
children can help with tasks like taking out the garbage, folding
laundry, helping with yard work, vacuuming, and taking care of pets.
Older teenagers can do most tasks that adults can do such as run
errands, grocery shop, make simple meals on busy nights, do their
own laundry and cut the grass.
for Routine Tasks
3. Have systems
in place for reoccurring tasks. The book, Sidetracked Home Executives
by Pam Young and Peggy Jones, though a bit dated, has some good
ideas for handling routine tasks and keeping your home organized.
The basics of their system are to write down daily, weekly, monthly
and yearly tasks on color coded 3X5 cards and then use those cards
as reminders each day to plan what you need to do that day. It is
a deceptively simple idea, yet one that is lacking from most time
management books. Most other books on managing time always have
people setting priorities and planning tasks each day. However,
this system is helpful for moms and other people with lots of routine
tasks to accomplish. I think these days most people would put their
tasks lists on a compter instead of using index cards, but the basic
idea of planning all of you ongoing tasks like shopping for birthdays,
cleaning the carpets, paying the bills well ahead of time is still
a helpful idea.
Scheduled Family Meetings
4. Make it a
habit to get the whole family together at least one night a week
to go over trips, schedules, classes, etc. This way everyone has
a general idea of what is going on in the week ahead. Teens can
then plan ahead and see what nights are available for them go out
or invite friends over and which nights are reserved for family
time. Be sure to discuss school projects and tests to avoid going
to Seven-eleven late on on Tuesday night looking for supplies to
make a science fair project due the next day!
1. Young, Pam,
and Peggy Jones. Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to
Paradise. New York: Warner Books, 2001.