We all know how difficult it can be to balance all of the demands of raising a family. From waking the kids up to go to school in the morning, to getting ready for bed, the hours in-between can feel as if you’re running a race. Unfortunately, most of us find ourselves over-committed and falling behind.
As a result, most moms are constantly running late. We hope to change that with today’s 3 simple tips.
1. ALLOW 30 EXTRA MINUTES
If you’re anything like us, you have the best of intentions when you wake up in the morning. You get the kids up, dressed, fed and you think you’ll finally make it out the door on time, when one of your children spills orange juice all over the kitchen floor. Or, they can’t find their shoes or their coat or their homework. Whatever the case, something happens and your brilliant plan falls quickly on its face.
When you have children, the chances of something going wrong is much higher than everything working as planned. That doesn’t mean that you have to stay in an apologetic state for as long as our children are at home, nor should people forever refer to us at the “mom who is always late.”
Therefore, in an effort to arrive to your next destination on time, one of the best ways to avoid being late is to allow additional time in your schedule. This can be as simple as getting your family going in the morning 30 minutes earlier to allow yourself some wiggle room in the event that something does happen. This extra time will not only allow you to arrive on time, but you’ll also be less stressed and more patient because you won’t feel so rushed out the door.
On a similar note, don’t forget to add extra time in between events.
People have a tendency to underestimate how long something will take. It goes back to not planning for mishaps, but we often fail to account for hidden time.
For example, your child has a 45 minute music class on Tuesday. The class is 15 minutes away. Therefore, at a minimum, you must calculate 30 minutes of travel plus 45 minutes of class, then add an additional 15-30 minutes of time for unplanned things to occur. This 45 minute class is actually 1.5 or 1.75 hours of your day. Sandwich that event in between school and meals, and you’ve got a pretty full day.
2. PLAN AHEAD
We learned from an early age that one of the quickest ways to save time in the morning, is to prepare the night before.
This means that you either lay out your children’s clothes for the next day or help them choose an outfit to wear. We actually start allowing our children to decide what they’ll wear at an early age by offering two choices that are equally acceptable to us. It encourages independence and tends to motivate the child to get ready because they had a say in how their day was started.
Planning ahead also means that homework is complete and book bags are ready by the door. Make this process part of your routine.
You can apply this same principle to any activity including sports, holidays and vacations. By planning ahead, you can often save time and money, in addition to a lot of unnecessary stress.
3. LESS IS MORE
We’re not quite sure who started the myth that “being busy” was required in order to be successful, but we’re here to say that it’s overrated.
Today’s parents feel a tremendous amount of pressure to prepare their kids for the future by exposing them to a wide variety of extra-curricular activities: music, dance, sports, language, etc. Interestingly enough, according to recent studies, the number of activities your children participate in doesn’t always indicate academic success in the future. However, being over-scheduled can negatively impact your emotional well being, as well as family finances.
Therefore, if you are habitually late, take a step back and consider how many activities you and your children are involved in. Also ask yourself, “who am I really doing this for?” If the activity is something your child is really interested in, great, but if you find that most of their activities are simply a case of “keeping up with the Jones’,” then it may be time to remove some things from your to do list.
Just think about all the free time that our parents and grandparents had. Their parents certainly didn’t spend their days shuttling kids from one activity to another, and they mostly turned out just fine.
There’s nothing wrong with non-scheduled time in your children’s day. This time is necessary for their brain development. It can also be a great opportunity for you to build meaningful relationships with your children; use this time to rest, talk, listen, and connect with your kids beyond their activities.
The real key to “being on time,” is maintaining a simple routine. That sometimes means you don’t attend every party or participate in every sport, but your family will have an opportunity to better connect without all the extra chaos. Therefore, toss out the myths of having a balanced life. Forget being the perfect mom who does it all. Instead, focus on what’s really important.