Tips & Tricks For Creating The Perfect Schedule As A Busy Stay at Home Mom (or Dad!)
Posted on August 22 2020
The truth is, being a stay-at-home parent has always been one of the most challenging (and underappreciated) jobs in history. But in 2020? In the middle of a global pandemic? The challenge has only increased. The world is in complete chaos, but that doesn’t mean your household needs to be in chaos.
You can’t control what your child’s school or daycare is going to do. You can’t control which restaurants and stores are opening and which are closing, but you can control your household.
And one of the best ways to gain some sort of control is to create a schedule and stick to it. The first thing you need to do is write it out and place it somewhere visible, where you can’t ignore it. Heck, make copies and place it around the house. On the fridge, the television, the front door, your partner’s forehead...there is no right or wrong place.
After writing it out, you need to put focus on your must-dos. Schedules often fail when one feels overwhelmed by them, so it’s important that you spread everything out. Don’t try to do too much. Instead, break up your schedule into categories.
Write out all the things you must-do every single day. Maybe that includes making lunch, dropping the kids off at school, naptime, homeschooling, making dinner, etc. This is your daily to-do list, and the simpler it is, the better. You want it to be structured, but uncomplicated.
From there, you can expand to your weekly to-do section. This might include laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. These are all things you need to do in the week, but they don’t have to be done on the same day. In fact, I’d argue they shouldn’t be done on the same day. As mentioned previously, when people become overwhelmed, they tend to shut down.
Space. It. Out.
SPACE IT OUT.
Another important thing to remember is that there is always next week! So if you find yourself writing out your schedule for the week and you think, “Uh, how am I supposed to do all this?” examine all the items on your list and think about which ones can move to the next week. You might be surprised. The stay-at-home parent might be a superhero, but even superheroes need a break sometimes, so don’t take on more than you can handle.
Another reason schedules fall a part is because, people try to squeeze something that is not scheduled into the schedule. Don't try to do too much. If something new comes up, take the 5 minutes to see where this new task fits in. Move something out and make real space for it. There is no need to screw up your entire plan for some, non-essential task. Often times we will stop doing our planned task, to do this task because it's short and easy and we get a small high off of the accomplishment, but that small win, leads to an overall day or weekly loss when you are playing constant catch up afterwards.
You know what else superheroes need? Sidekicks. Where would Batman be without Robin? What about Oprah without Gayle? You need a team!
Depending on how old your kids are, you can involve them in certain chores around the house, so it might benefit you to add a special section to your schedule. A list of things that don’t need to be performed by you directly.
Taking out the trash, helping with dishes, cleaning toys off the floor and the list goes on and on.
You know what will work best for your household, but the most important thing is balance. The goal of creating a schedule is to make your life easier, so it’ll work best if you view it as a fun activity as opposed to another thing you have to do. Find a way to make it entertaining, get creative with it.
And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t accomplish every single thing. Some days (weeks, months...years) will be harder than others. Do what you can and try to improve the next day.
Final thing: REWARDS! We all love rewards, and creating a schedule gives you an opportunity to reward yourself. You can implement a reward system into your schedule. So let’s say you cross off everything on your to-do list for the week, you can reward yourself on the weekend.
Obviously the reward is entirely up to you. Some people might want a margarita on the back patio, while others might want an hour or two of quiet so they can catch up on a good book. It doesn’t matter what it is, just as long as it’s legal. 😉
Treat yourself. You deserve it.
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