As my kids get older, one of the key things I do is plan…and I recognize that when I fail to plan; I should most certainly plan to fail aka be overly stressed out with half fed, tired kids.
Some weeks are filled with things to do; doctor/dentist appointments, work commitments and deadlines, business meetings, extra curricular activities, play dates and dinners among other things. Thankfully, not every week is this busy, but when it is,there are a few things I do to make it as stress free as possible…
When invited to events, I have started to go through a mental checklist of questions :
1) Will attending this event bring us any real benefit?
2) Will this detract from other priorities?
3) Will we become stressed trying to make this event possible?
I am very intentional about the answers to those questions but if they are all positive and we do intend on attending that event: I SCHEDULE IT ON MY CALENDAR, lest i forget.
Then I start preparing for activities ahead of time. If we have a swim meet that we must attend, then I begin by packing extra clothes, towels, snacks and water so we are not running back into the house to get it all 10 minutes after we should have left. If i am planning on having someone over or need to take something to a party; then I ensure I have all necessary groceries prior to that. No greater stress than starting to make something and realizing I’m out of salt (yes that has happened before but the lesson was learnt).
Finally, on the actual day of the event, I start mapping things out mentally and physically.
I begin by thinking of everything that has to be done prior, the actual time of the event, the distance from our home, the current condition of our home (i never leave the house dirty because coming home to an unclean home is VERY stressful to my soul). After I get those things mapped out mentally, I begin working backwards from the time of the event to figure out when things need to be done.
Simply plug in your start time and work backwards.
Playdate: 3 pm (30 minutes from home)
Need to Leave: 2:25
Shoes On: 2:15
Clean/Straighten House: 1:30
Feed kids: 12:30 (gives us enough time to comfortably eat and clean up the table and kitchen)
Make lunch (and extras for dinner): 11:00
Kid showers: 10:00am
Ensure that meat(if being used) has been taken out to defrost: 9:00am
Because I tried to organize to the best of my ability, we are not rushing around trying to get everything done at the last minute. This makes SUCH a big difference to us because it erases some of the stress of attending events especially when we are short on time (and sometimes patience…#momlife)
My #1 tip is to clean/straighten the home prior to leaving, especially when you have kids because you never know how outings will turn out with them. It is discouraging to walk in from an outing in which you had to deal with toddler tantrums, etc and not have a quiet, relaxing, clean environment to unwind in. Chances are this will lead to even more frustration.
If you have other tips that lead to reducing stress during busy days/weeks then please leave them in the comments below!