Ahh, it’s Spring. Time for the shedding of winter coats, ducklings at the park, cherry blossoms dazzling our senses, and…duh, duh, duh, spring sports! One of the reasons I love winter so much is that it truly is a chance to, shall we say, hibernate a bit. We have the opportunity to be still, quiet down and not run around so much. Once Spring hits though, the mayhem starts again. Here are just a couple of things to remember as we journey through this wonderful new season, that will hopefully help us keep our sanity, and keep our lives and our time a bit more organized.
The best approach to staying sane is to not over schedule. It is important to remember that we are human be-ings, not human do-ings. I know we want to give our kids, and even ourselves, the best experiences and opportunities and we often get sucked in to the excitement. However, some of the best moments happen on the days we come home from work or school, relax as we snack and chat about our day, head out to the basketball hoop to shoot or hop on our bikes to ride, and then come home to cook an unhurried meal as we later, ALL gather around the table. Those days are hard to come by in the spring time. When we can squeeze them in it almost feels like a mini vacation!
Now I admit, I swore I was done with over scheduling, but I managed to put quite a bit on my plate this season. As a family of four, we all have our hobbies and activities we want to maintain and we don’t want to shortchange anyone. I sit here typing at 10:46pm because my son had a late night lacrosse game, so yes, we are all affected.
The question is how do we manage to keep calm and enjoy each moment, without stress stealing our joy? My number one sanity tip is to plan, plan, plan! With two working parents and three after school activities on any particular day, I need to know what I’m doing, what the kids are doing, who they are doing it with and where, and the big question, who is driving? Every Sunday I sit down and schedule it all out, making sure it all gets put in my planner. It also goes on the family’s master calendar.
Okay, so I’ve planned. I have basketball practice, work, and a lacrosse game all put down on the calendar for Tuesday. How can I be in three places at once? Well, like you, I haven’t figured out how to clone myself. I know I have to ask for help. I have said this before and I will say it again, I would be lost without my village. My children could not do all the activities they do if I didn’t have an amazing support group, as we share the responsibility of getting our kids around town and looking out for each other. If you are an East Windsor parent and you are reading this, my hat is off to you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you don’t have a village, find one! Make friends with the moms and dads at your child’s various events. Ask the parents of schoolmates for a lift to practice one day and offer to drive the next week. The best part of this is that not only do your kids get close with their friends in the car pool, but you tend to connect more with the other adults too. Lacrosse and soccer games are my favorite time to chill out with great people as I watch my kids play. It’s a win-win!
Secondly, plan meals. When you are sitting down and doing that scheduling at the beginning of the week, look and see which days are your craziest. Those are your crock pot, sandwich, or soup nights. See which days you have the opportunity to prepare something that may require more time and schedule accordingly. Your food shopping list can then be made based upon the meals you have planned out for the week. This way, you are not like a chicken without a head when you get home from work and are helping with homework, wondering what to make before everyone needs to be out of the house. Bonus when you have some extra time on Sunday and you can prepare a meal or two to be frozen. Those days are few and far between for me, but I know many ladies who manage to do it. Hats off again to the badass brigade!
One of my last suggestions is to realize that we are all performing an amazing juggling act. Hell, you could rival a clown in the circus with your amazing feats. However, there are times when we just need to know which balls to drop, and accept that we will be letting some things go, whether it be for a day, a week, or even for the duration of a particular activity. If the house doesn’t get cleaned or vacuumed for a bit, no one dies. You have to order food in because there is just no other way the family is being fed? Do it. No time for that project you were working on? Put it on your calendar for June. It’s all good. We have to take note of where those dropped balls are rolling and who they are affecting, but for the most part, letting other things go without anxiety over doing so is truly a lifesaver. Give yourself permission to do it. Sometimes you can delegate a task to keep yourself sane. Can you afford to have a house cleaner come in once or twice a month? A landscaper to help with the lawn? Scrimp in one area to help yourself delegate in this way and I bet it will be do-able. It is truly money well spent.
It’s almost midnight now, and I’m getting ready to close out. I’m glad I got to watch my son and his buddies play, and I’m happy to have had the time to sit here and talk to all of you. I wish you all a fun filled and joyous spring, and remember, to keep those stress levels down, plan, ask for help, and be decisive about which balls you want to keep in the air. If we pass by each other around town, maybe I’ll throw you one of mine and you’ll throw me one of yours. That’s just how we roll!