People ask me all the time how I do all the things that I do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. The truth is I do my best to get by, one day at a time, and, sometimes, one minute at a time.
As a busy mom of 4 very active kiddos, working a full-time job as a nurse during the day, it is imperative that I have a system of keeping up with “all the things.”
By “all the things” I mean practices, after-school activities, appointments (doctor, dental, orthodontist, teacher), fundraisers, ballgames, cheer competitions, budget, meals, etc. This list could go on and on.
Sometimes I wonder how I do it, too.
If I’m being honest, there is no way I can remember all the things on my own, so I have to have a system. And the simpler, the better. Here are a few tips:
1. Get a Planner
A planner is a must-have for anybody with a busy schedule, but especially a mom with lots of things to do.
There are lots of great planners to choose from, but since I’m in Baby Step 2 (thanks, Dave Ramsey and Total Money Makeover), and I’m on a serious budget, I opted to get a $5 planner from Walmart. I fancied it up with some page divider labels and got to work.
As much as I love the Living Well Planner by Ruth Soukup and all of the Erin Condren planners (they are both FABULOUS), they will have to wait until later. And my little planner works just fine. At least for now.
Things to include in your planner:
- Appointments- (doctor, dental, orthodontist, specialists, therapies, etc). Make sure to list time AND PLACE with address if you aren’t sure of the location, just in case.
- All school activities and meetings
- Kids’ practices
- Sports or other games/competitions
- Church functions
- Work functions, if desired ( I keep a completely separate planner for work)
- Hair appointments
- Animal care- (vet, grooming)
- Meal plan- do this weekly or monthly
- Budget- monthly
- Daycare closings/Babysitter’s scheduled days off
Of course, you will have to set your planner up in a way that works for you. Mine, or at least parts of it, get pretty messy sometimes, but there’s only so much space, and I can promise you that my schedule takes up every bit of it.
2. Must Have- Giant Wall Calendar
Y’all….this is the secret sauce. I never realized how much I needed this in my life until I had one.
My husband bought me this giant calendar a few years ago for Mother’s Day. And, to be completely honest, I worried about how it would look on my wall because it is HUGE. It actually measures 4 ft across and 3 ft high. I wondered how much I would even use it.
Turns out, I use it continuously. Every. single.day.
Not only that, but everyone else uses it, too. They can look on the calendar each day to see what activities are going on the next day, any special plans, and what’s for dinner.
This thing literally holds together the little bit of sanity I have left some days. Not sure how I survived motherhood without it. Not very well. I can tell you that.
Using these 2 simple things together simplifies my life in so many ways.
- I can actually keep up with what’s going on.
- I know what’s for dinner so I can lay food out ahead of time and don’t come home trying to throw something together when all the meat is frozen.
- Husband and kids ask a lot less about what’s going on (they still ask, just not as much. But now I just say “it’s on the calendar”). They roll their eyes and go look.
It’s really very simple. Just keep your planner handy when you’re out. I carry mine everywhere. It’s at least in my car.
Write down everything important. Anything that you don’t need to forget. Trust me. You will forget. Quit telling yourself you won’t.
On the last day each month, use your planner to update your large wall calendar. Also, you must remember to update it each time you write down something new. A good rule of thumb is at least weekly.
I know what you’re thinking. You are busy. I get it. You’re probably thinking to yourself that this takes up too much time, and that’s something that you don’t have much of. I promise I understand this feeling way more than I want to.
I can tell you, though, that this literally takes minutes to do, especially once you get started doing it. And it saves SO MUCH TIME. No more calling around to find out what day/time something is. No more searching on Social Media or digging through texts. And no more missing important events because they slipped your mind.
I absolutely DO NOT have life all figured out. Most days I’m a hot mess. But this is one thing that I have figured out that works for me.
And if you are a busy mama who feels overwhelmed with so much to keep up with, give it a try. What do you have to lose?