As if working mothers aren’t stressed enough taking care of the home and family while putting in hours at a job, the end of the school year for most of us brings about added responsibilities and commitments.
For instance, this week we have a pool party, birthday party, and cupcakes to bring to school. In the past few weeks we’ve dealt with graduation, last game of tball, last game of tball party, another few birthday parties to attend and field trips that require lunches and money and permission slips (oh my!)
I recently made a dental appointment for my husband. I’ve become overly organized in my old age, writing things down not just on my calendar that hangs by the phone but on my planner as well. So I wrote it all down, but when he emailed me and asked me to reschedule . . . well, I forgot.
Needless to say, when the office called the morning of the appointment and asked where he was, I had a lot of apologizing (and rescheduling work) to do.
This is what I have learned to do in order to keep the stress levels down in our household during this crazy time of the year.
- Stick to the basics. Don’t make extra dental and doctor appointments unless it is an emergency. Rather, wait until summer comes, or the craziness subsides and normal craziness resumes.
- Keep one calendar in front of the phone and one in your purse. You’d be surprised at how many things need to be scheduled when you are out and about running errands – such as that impromptu play date or dance recital.
- Spend a few minutes at the end of each day looking over both calendars to ensure they each have the same appointments listed.
- At the end of each night, make a list of any items you need to pick up at the store, anything that needs to be taken to school, and all of the things you have to do for that day. As you do each item on the list, mark it off. I’ve found that a planner in the purse is great for remembering what has to be done, but unless I have a working list during busy days I overlook things.
- Use the planner on your phone as well. If you have a crazy day filled with obligations, put them into your phone and have the phone beep reminders as the day goes by. This may work better for you than a list if you have a tendency to forget to check the list.
- Don’t overcommit. I know, easier said than done, but if you are going to bring brownies to the last tball game, don’t also feel you have to do the same for the last day of school party (or offer to make something that you can do in large batches, like cookies, so you aren’t spending hours in the kitchen baking a variety of goods). Or pick up something easy that you can take in and drop off rather than signing up to make something that has to be prepared.
- Choose one activity each week for which you are doing something special. If you agree to attend a child’s play and hand out the tickets, don’t also agree to do something extra the next night. It’s when we tie ourselves up too much that we become overwhelmed, forgetful, and stressed.
- Prioritize. You can’t do it all or we’d call you Super Mom (okay, we call you that already, but you know what I mean!). You may not be able to make every last recital or tball game, or each distinct party your children might be attending. Choose one for each child and do that one. One tip for making your children happy: Ask which party they most want you to attend, and then try to arrange your schedule so you can be at the one that is most important to them.
- Rely on family. If you can’t make something special, such as your child’s last dance recital, ask a family member to do so. Just having someone they love in the audience will make your child happy.
- Give a cut off time each day. At 8:30 P.M. you are done rearranging and scheduling and baking. Sit down and watch television with your spouse, paint your nails, or read your book. If you are spending a large amount of time racing around the last few months of school, by summertime you will crash. Don’t forget to spend some “me” time during these weeks.
- Swap babysitting time. Don’t feel funny asking your friend to watch the kids for a play date while you get some things done – and then do the same for her. By working together, you’ll have much more free time to do the tasks that need completed – and you won’t be as rushed taking care of them, either.
- Remember it is all just temporary. So often we get caught up in the madness of parenting and work that we forget most of the crazy spells are only temporary. This, too, shall pass, so take a deep breath and try to enjoy the magic that the end of another school year and the beginning of summer can bring.