By: Jenny Nelson-Veach, Systems Engineer
Two weeks ago we returned Sunday from vacation for 10 days, and I just didn’t find the time to plan out our week like usual. The week felt like chaos, and the number of times I had a mom-fail reminded me what a difference taking 15 minutes can make in a whole week. Every week, except that week, I sit down on Sunday and plan out the who, what, when, and where for our family of four.
I am a Systems Engineer; my husband is a nurse who works four days a week, with one day on call. We have 7yo and 5yo about to start kindergarten. Everyone goes to a different place every day, and it’s summer, so it’s a new place for the 7yo every week. Let me start by saying we share our google calendars to create a family schedule it includes events, my husband’s monthly nurse schedule, appointments, etc. This is how we get the nitty-gritty day to day done.
SANITY NOTE: If you don’t have a family calendar, get one! Make it happen! It’s a lifesaver. If you have one as soon as you make a commitment put it on there, don’t wait.
- Create a Spreadsheet or use the one attached
- Monday through Sunday, One Column for Mornings, One for Night
- Each cell has the initials of each person in the house; evenings have one for dinner
- Leave white space for notes
- I print it out and do it by hand because of the flexibility, but you don’t have to.
- Start by Filling in where kids go in the morning, and times parents have to be at work
- Use your family planner (paper, whiteboard, google, cozi)
- Use arrows to indicate flow
- Write down who is transporting kids
- Text your helpers to confirm availability and time (Note my aunt Diana below gets a text every Sunday)
- Use White space for extra notes and overflow
SANITY NOTE: It doesn’t have to be perfectly spelled out, as long as your family gets it. That’s what matters. Abbreviate. Write Daycare or Preschool on the same page even if they mean the same thing because you are just getting it done.
SANITY NOTE: If you can afford a cleaning crew, get one! We declutter the day before they come, so we need to track in on our calendar.
4. Repeat for the Evening
- who is picking them up, where are they/you going next, what time if needed
- I write down when I need to leave work by and have been known to set an alarm
- My start-end times are more flexible, so I take on those duties, Joel can’t miss work or be late (see the previous blog about sharing the workload based on family needs)
- He gets stuck at work in procedures, so we pick who does what accordingly, and try not to plan for anything important that day in case
5. Plan Dinner for the week while you are at it
- Nothing fancy here, just the outline.
- Use margins for go-do tasks you think of while doing your plan
SANITY TIP: If you haven’t tried shopping online for $5 a pop and driving up to have a nice young person loading your car and offering water and snacks for you kids while refusing a tip, you are missing out.
SANITY TIP: Eat out on the crazy days if you have to, and give yourself the grace, besides it makes your kids happy!
So here is our sample from last week, which I based the examples on (a holiday week with guests in town). If you have your own way already, I’d love to hear about it. If this doesn’t all work for you, and you just stole one idea or SANITY TIP great that’s perfect.
We are a family of four with two boys, 7 and 5. When I graduated school, I was recruited to work for Rockwell Collins at the time and had the privilege of spending 8 years there. After three years as an embedded software engineer, I transferred into Systems Engineering, and it’s definitely my calling. I am 15 years into my engineering career. When we had our first son, we decided to move closer to family in Arizona. Fortunately, there was a lot of opportunities here in Aerospace and Defense, so we have been happy here ever since. My husband is a Nurse, after doing the stay at home dad thing for about a year he found a job 4 days a week (full benefits) at the hospital during normal business hours. We are lucky to have him home with us most night and weekends. We are a partnership, he takes care of the daily house stuff (I help of coarse), but my main job is family logistics, long term projects, fixing things, finances, etc. It works well for who we each are.
We enjoy camping, board games, family video games, adventures, and science project.