Sep 10, 2012

Trying to Find a New Routine, Time Management, & Menu Planning Changes

This past weekend was a crazy whirlwind of sports for the boys, and it came after a week of newly scheduled practices. So although we're in week five of the school year, it's only now that I feel completely overwhelmed and off-kilter. (And I'm really glad school started early this year, so at least our morning routine is already set, and we've all gotten used to the homework load.)

We got a little unlucky this season, and all of our team practices are stacked early in the week, in the late afternoon. During what would normally be my dinner prep time. Weekends are pretty much taken up by games. (What should be a 1 to 1-1/2 hour game takes up 2 to 3 hours because of having to arrive early, etc. And sometimes there's not enough time to go home between games, so we can easily be at the fields for 5 hours or more.)

The thing is, it appears the kids can completely handle their schedule of school, homework, practices and games. I'm the one who's struggling to get them everywhere on time, make sure they are properly fed and watered, and their homework gets done - while also keeping up with blogging (my job!), housework, PTA volunteer work, cooking, shopping, and supporting my own friends. There's a lot of talk about overscheduling the kids, but in our case, I seem to have overscheduled myself!

I know that it will just take us me a couple of weeks to settle into a routine, and then I'll feel more settled down. But in the meantime, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by all that's on my plate now - and so I'm wondering, what do you do when this happens?

My usual tactic is to make a list of things that need to get done and just tick them off one by one, prioritizing by urgency whenever possible but also tending to do the things I prefer over the activities I dislike most (e.g., I'll menu plan before I vacuum, even if the vacuuming needs to be done more). Crossing things off my list makes me feel more in control and less overwhelmed.

One thing that's always a big help is menu planning, not just because it helps me get dinner on the table, but because it also mentally prepares me for what the week and days are going to be like. I take into consideration what time we'll be getting home from the last place we'll be, and how much time I'll have to spend in the kitchen based on what I have planned for the day. So now that I (finally) have full schedules of the boys' various activities, I'm off to plan my menu for the rest of the month!


Qwendykay said...

This is totally something we are feeling in this house... I blog a lot about how I think we are overscheduled as mom's, and yet every year we do the same thing to ourselves in the fall. You have inspired me to do a menu plan and that has helped immensely and I rely a lot on my crockpot.

Chief Family Officer said...

The crock pot! I need to rely on it more :)

Christina @ Northern Cheapskate said...

I was going to mention the crock pot, too!

When our family life gets hectic like this, there are two things I do: I include one "convenience" meal on my menu - whether it's one I pull from the freezer that I've made or one I bought with coupons. The second thing I do is include one meal of take out or eating out. No it's not the most healthy or frugal thing but sometimes it is the best for my sanity!

Chief Family Officer said...

I love your strategy - and thanks for letting me know I'm not alone too :)