When our kids are born, moms are thrown into the deep end of the parenting pool in so many ways. Feeding, diapering, crazy family dynamics, laundry (yes, we knew how to do laundry before we had kids, but that's like saying that knowing how to fry an egg is the same as being a five-star chef. Pre- and post-motherhood laundry is apples and oranges!), sleep... it's all new; it's all crucial; and it's all HARD. But, in my opinion, the biggest learning curve we all have as mother is time management. I thought I was an organized, efficient person before I have kids, but after becoming a mom 4 times over, I'm pretty sure my time management skills rival that of a busy air traffic controller.
But even if you're a seasoned pro at time management by now, there is a monkey wrench life throws at us every year: SUMMERTIME
You run your family like a well-oiled machine during the year (or maybe like a rusty jalopy, but it still runs just fine!) but summertime is the perfect storm that shows every flaw in our time management. So, I highly suggest shoring up your skills now, before the wheels come off in June. Here are my biggest tips for really nailing time management, whatever season you're in:
1) QUIT MULTITASKING
Are you surprised to read this? Then this must be the first time you're getting to know me and I'm happy to make your acquaintance. Anyone who has followed me for a while, on the other hand, is probably rolling their eyes at this tip. Why do I harp on it? Because it's a game-changer and because it's the hardest thing for us to do. Multi-tasking only contributes to feeling like there's an emergency going on just outside your sphere of attention all the time. It makes you grouchy, inefficient, scattered, short-tempered and stressed. Multitasking is evil and must be stopped. I work on this big-time with my clients.
2) ANTICIPATE AND PREPARE FOR CHANGES
You run your family like a well-oiled machine during the year (or maybe like a rusty jalopy, but it still runs just fine!) but summer comes along and everything grinds to a halt. Everyone is everywhere and doing everything (and nothing) all at once. Why does this happen every year? Why can't we just learn our lesson and avoid this mess? It's not because we're too dense to learn, it's just that we aren't anticipating and preparing. We set up unrealistic expectations of a smooth summer transition without giving ourself the grace to create it! It's just a simple fact: changes in routine, energy, expectations and intentions, require down time, grace and forethought. Does that mean you can't have a smooth summer transition? Of course not! It just means that if you want the transition to be smooth, you need to give yourself the down time, grace and forethought now! And this isn't just about summer time. Awareness of this dynamic is so helpful any time when change is happening (school breaks, visitors, travel, kids growing into a new phase/age, moving house, etc.). This is a big part of what I do when I'm helping moms get ready for change (including summertime).
3) SCHEDULE AND ROUTINE ARE NOT THE SAME THING
Your routine is the backbone of your family. Kids need it. Moms love it (even ones who say they don't!). In my lingo, routine is the predictable, repeated, anticipated stuff that happens every week. All my clients make a family routine with my help when we first start working together and most of them feel like they just got back from the spa when it's done. But, that's not enough. Life is not a piece of clockwork. Grandma's visit, parent's go on business trips, people have birthday parties, etc. Every week is NOT exactly like the one before. That's where your schedule comes in. It's the marriage of your routine + whatever special stuff is going on this week. Make a datenight with your calendar each Sunday and write down and post your family's schedule for all to see (and be accountable for) each week. Never is this combo of routine and schedule more crucial than in summertime. Trust.
These 3 things are the tip of the time management iceberg and I go a lot deeper and wider with it all when I'm working with moms. If you feel like you want to take advantage of the time left before summer to get this stuff figured out, you're smart and I want to help you! I'm doing a free Save Your Summer online training and you should be signed up for it! Click on the link to learn more and pick the course time that works best for you. I can't wait to help you get your family ready for the best summer ever!