Wednesday, September 3, 2008

School is now in session

Photo by vygotskij

It seems so easy to forget to look at me, from within, while the kids are pretty much dictating where we go and what we do on a daily basis. Not that I let them rule my world but that I encourage them to get involved, to stay active, and to do things that do not include electronics. This means that I have to dedicate time to drive them here and there and everywhere. It's what we do for our little bundles of joy, regardless of how old or big they are.

Now school is back in session and although I do love my children and love spending time with them, when they go back to school I go back to taking care of me for a change, at least during school hours. What helps me stay on top of things? Well, my calendar for one. We keep an online calendar through google because we all have gmail. The older kids input their to-do's on their side and I get to view them on my calendar. I print this out once a week so I have a paper copy handy. If I have to make appointments I do them over the phone so I'm sitting in front of my calendar and can really determine when or if I can attend an event or function, etc. For us, this has worked better than a paper calendar.

My weekly menu, wow that's a saving grace. Knowing what to cook for dinner helps me at the grocery store and helps me plan my day. Do I need to take the meat out of the freezer or is it a pasta night? This first week has been very smooth so far. Finally, a to-do list. This is where I write what needs to be done, from scrubbing a floor to fixing a wall or painting a room. Everything gets on this list, down to the details. This helps me realize what I have to do, keeps me from becoming overwhelmed and at the end of a project, I feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Finally, having an area for homework, school stuff, study area, etc. Even if it's only a made up table in a corner of a room. But at least you know that's where all the school stuff is going to end up--things that need to be signed, homework that needs to be checked, etc. We decided having a "formal" dining room was a wasted space so that table is now a study area for the three kids in school and a play area for the one still at home. The funny thing is that most people with kids who visit us say "what a great idea, I think I'll do the same."

As for taking care of me and finding the beauty within, I do take time to exercise, eat healthy, read, and play with the baby. By the time the kids come home from school I am energized and ready to hear all about their day.

I wonder, what other tips there are out there that help families keep it together during the school year?