Bobby has a soccer game. Sally is cheerleading on another field. Joe has a book report due tomorrow. Bob is working late and unable to help. You are stuck in traffic. Perfect storm? It sounds like it to me. What to do when there’s too much to do?
First, plan for and organize all family activities. Try not to commit anything to memory. A delightful person was going bonkers some time ago and fussed at me. She said, “You know, sometimes you have more on your mind than you have a mind for.” What profound wisdom. If you try to keep lots of things in mind, you are likely to lose some of them.
Second, maintaining a family calendar in the den or kitchen of your home will be the place to tag all coming events and activities. Such a calendar is a great planning and organizing tool. Ideally, it is a dry erase surface, with squares for each day of the month big enough for anyone to list an event or activity in the square. Your youngsters will love marking their own events and activities on the calendar.
Third, use the family calendar daily, but refresh the content as part of a weekly family meeting. Sundays after church, during lunch, is often a great time to gather. Talk about what’s happened the previous week and what’s coming up. Encourage your children to elaborate on their events and brag on them when you can. Use active listening when you feel anyone’s emotional fever rise. Stay on task for completing the list of activities and events for the next week.
Finally, you will never be all things to all people, so give up any goal of perfection and do the best you can. Also, wherever needed and possible, delegate, delegate, and, oh yeah, delegate. You can’t be there for Bobby, Sally, and Joe when their activities overlap and are at different locations. You can coordinate with other team parents and structure Joe’s book report preparation ahead of time, with rewards and consequences based on his effort. If you are able to get to Bobby’s game today, alternate and get to Sally’s cheerleading next time there’s a conflict. Kids love having available parents cheering them on.
When there’s too much to do, do the best you can by planning, organizing, and delegating. You know, all you can do is all you can do.