One of our readers recently asked us how we handle work, husband, kids, house, dogs, etc. Being a planner and auditor and my husband being military, we thrive on routine and schedules. But with two little ones and two furry ones, routines and schedules don’t always happen.
Here are some tips on how our family currently handles our busy lives.
My husband and I both use our calendar to schedule appointments. For our family activities, we use Cozi calendar. This is the best invention ever. Not only can we both add things to a web based calendar, but we can track meals, shopping lists, and write things into a family journal that will automatically send updates to our families on a monthly basis. It has everything we need! In addition, every Sunday, it emails us the weekly schedule.
Using the Cozi Calendar, we choose our meals for the week. We don’t plan a meal every day because we have activities that will keep us out of our home. Therefore, we plan only 4 meals a week and one in each meat/fish category – one chicken, one beef, one pork, and one fish. This allows some flexibility because if we’re not in the mood for chicken, we have other options!
During the week we wake up earlier than the kids (about 1.5 hours earlier) and we take the time to clean up any remaining dishes or toys from the previous evening. Then we prepare for the day. Luckily, both of us only take 30 minutes each to get ready for work. We also pack up the cars before waking up the kids. Everything is so much quicker when the kids are asleep!
On Friday night or Saturday morning, my husband and I powwow in the kitchen for about 15 minutes (we also try to wake up an hour before the kids). On our fridge is a marker board where we right down goals we want to accomplish around the house such as vacuuming the stairs, repairing the garage door, mopping the floor, cleaning the toilets, etc. We use this as a team goal board so if one of us isn’t busy and we’re able to clean the toilets, then we can mark it off the list. It doesn’t ever need to be “this is your task, this is mine” because it only causes problems. You’re a team and as a team, you can accomplish so much more! If you don’t complete all the tasks, that’s okay! Leave it up for the next weekend.
We have the same activities every week and when we start seeing our kids get bored of it, we change it up. We post these on our calendar so we have an idea of what to expect. It also helps our children too because we all know children do best when there are routines and schedules.
For family activities, we usually save the big trips for the weekend such as the zoo or children’s museum, etc. We try to have at least one day where we don’t do anything except hang out around the house or run errands so that it doesn’t become overwhelming. We don’t feel about this since there are at least 2 nights during the week where we spend quality time with the kids.
For families with children who have activities such as gymnastics or soccer, etc. In our family, our daughter does gymnastics on Saturday mornings. My husband and I take turns on taking our daughter to gymnastics and often times we’ll go together with our son. We want to show her that she’s important to both of us and we both support her activities, not just pay for them. When we’re there, we also pay attention to her – watch her in case she looks over at us to wave hello.
Our dogs are walked twice a day. My husband wakes up early to walk them before the kids and I wake up for the day. Then I start the bedtime routine in the evening while he walks them again.
This is rare but we usually get an hour or two in the evening after the kids have fallen asleep (assuming we didn’t fall asleep too) or early in the morning when we wake up before the kids. We have our conversations about our day during dinner and while we’re getting ready for work.
What it boils down to is flexibility, teamwork and constant communication. Before committing to things like client meetings or other after work obligations, we ask the other person if they can support. The answer is usually yes but it’s nice to ask. We’re definitely not perfect and we don’t have this system down but it seems to work pretty well for us.
What tips do you have for balancing life, family and work?