If you’re like me, I am all or nothing and I thrive on routine as do most children. I, as an adult get overwhelmed and find myself snacking instead of chipping away at tasks! So how can we conquer endless projects and task lists as well as feeling like we are connecting with our children?
And as far as we go as parents, I think we need to ask ourselves what our goals are. Every year on the 1st day of school I think about what we accomplished during the summer. In the years past, I have found myself beating myself up with guilt because I didn’t achieve what I had hoped over the summer (organizing iPhone photos, cleaning out that closet, etc)!!….So, in an attempt to get things done, I find myself in a balancing act. Here are some ideas to help you/me/us be more productive…
- MAKE A LIST: I am a huge list person so making a list of all of the projects I want to accomplish this summer helps me get mentally organized. I also am a little “old school” and still love to write things down and check them off as I accomplish them.
- CARVE OUT TIME TO BE HOME: I think a wonderful boundary that helps my kids to unwind and recalibrate is to spend a day just playing around the house. I think we can tend to over-schedule our kids so some quiet time at home is much needed (and allows us to work on those projects).
- ALL HANDS ON DECK: Pick a project from you list and have the kids help (like organizing the garage—or have them riding their bikes out front while you do it—which is what usually happens in my house ☺).
- CREATE A CO-OP: get a group of friends and switch off watching all the kiddos. 3-4 friends usually works out great! Pick a day/time and then you have a window you can count on every week to get those tasks done. Rotate houses so you will have the kids just every 4th week (if there are 4 of you in the co-op, etc.).
- DINNER MOVIE THEATER: My kids LOVE when I make dinner and let them sit on the the floor with blankets, and watch a movie while they eat in their jammies. During the school year, we typically do this on Friday nights. During summer…any time works!
- THIS BOOK: THE LIFE CHANGING MANGA OF TIDYING UP by MARIE KONDO This really inspired me to learn how to purge and simplify. This was a great way of getting myself mentally organized so I could focus on my list of other tasks.
- MENTAL PREPARATION: Sometimes it’s hard to motivate so I find that I have to give myself time limits to do things…especially if it’s something I’m dreading…For example when I had to clean out my junk drawers, I gave myself a 20 minute time-limit to do it. At 20 minutes, I checked in and found I wanted to keep going. Sometimes the tasks seem overwhelming, but if you put a limit on it, it’s more manageable.
- DON’T WAIT. GET ‘ER DONE (Aka Clean Up As You Go): One of my friends calls this “Return to Ready.” In other words: don’t let it pile up. Get stuff put away, cleaned up so next time you want to do xyz, things are ready to go.
- CLEAR SURFACES: I put everything in a pile and clear of my surfaces (countertops, etc). The pile gets divided and the kids help me put things away. If I don’t do this, I find I can get paralyzed by clutter. Same thing in the car– we get home, I make the kids get all of their goodies (by goodies I mean toys, trash, snacks, shoes, etc) out of the car and put away.
- PAPER PLATES: who has time to do dishes during the summer. I don’t do this every day (so don’t judge! ;)) but it’s nice to give ourselves a break now and again so we can get back to our lists and not have a pile of dishes waiting for us.
Long story short: have realistic expectations for yourself and your kids, simplify and most importantly,…remember to h a v e f u n.