Juggling your own busy schedule, your partner’s schedule, your older children’s school schedule, and your baby’s sleeping and feeding schedule can be incredibly challenging. Sometimes you might feel like you’re not giving everyone enough quality time. You’re just one you, after all. However, we’re here to help! The key is to get organized and outsource help.
Here are some ways you can develop a solid plan:
Network for Quality Care
Ask friends and family about the childcare options they use and check references for nannies, babysitters, and daycare. Hire people who have had long-term commitments to other families and come with recommendations, have up-to-date licenses, and pass background checks. Schedule a “try-out” and see how they do with your child.
Talk with your partner about your plan to share the load. Have a discussion with your employer about their expectations and your arrangements if you need more flexibility (and don’t forget to show you are dedicated to your work just as much as you are to your children). Check in with your children’s teachers to make sure your child is meeting expectations and on the right track.
Prepare for Mornings the Night Before
Avoid a hectic morning by planning ahead. Get into the routine of packing lunches and laying clothes out the night before. Make sure your diaper bag is ready, the kids’ homework is finished, and their backpacks are packed. Get used to making a to-do list for the day and check off all morning tasks the previous evening (this will make you one step ahead for the next day). It also helps to have different stations for backpacks, documents, and other things that need to be ready to go in the morning.
Delegate. Delegate. Delegate! Yes, this works at home as much as it does in the office and is a good habit to get into. Create a chore chart/calendar for your family and have each family member check off their duties with a sticker or pen. Post everything on the board or calendar so you can see the big picture for your entire family: bills that are due, work deadlines, school projects, teacher meetings, practices, rehearsals and other extracurricular activities, birthdays, and holidays.
Last but not least, show you appreciate your family even though you can’t always be there for every moment of their lives. Write sweet notes to your kids and spouse and stick them in their lunches. When your children do well on a test, make a new friend, or score a goal at soccer practice, show them you appreciate their dedication in life and reward them with something they love to do for fun – or just have a dedicated day for treats, like an ice cream social! Make time for your partner, as well. Schedule a monthly date night, or more if you have availability. And don’t forget you – make time for whatever it is that you enjoy! When everyone feels loved and you feel good, it’s easier to work as a team.