Now that school and sports are in full swing and my husband has returned from his three month TDY we’ve run into some daily sticking points as we try to assimilate back into a regular schedule and live together as a family again. Some sticky areas are predictable, some are not….and it hit me that sometimes you just need a new angle.
I knew things were a bit more chaotic at home, but trying to figure out how to get past the chaos and make it smoother took me a little bit. Typically, I try to be organized and have things planned out a head of time, ready to go…ahhhh, the best laid plans. But despite all of the banana-ness in my house the only person seemingly stressed was me. So, I spent a week doing things totally different, very hands off…and just mozied through our days. It was beyond crazy! But, I got what I needed, and I also think that my kids got a refresher dose of appreciation.
Don’t get me wrong, I made sure we all made it on time to the places we needed to be. I also made sure that everything we needed to have was with us….emphasize ‘needed’…not wanted, there is a difference. I took specific note of when I felt most stressed, when my kids were the most rambunctious, and noted which household activities were getting done and the ones that were not.
So, my first step to a better state of normal is an adjustment to our meal schedule and bed times. The kids’ bedtime is now an hour later…which equates to 9-930. This has been a huge success for us because it gives all of us some downtime to relax and spend together as a family before hitting the hay. This is so important, especially since my husband leaves for work at 515 a.m. and doesn’t get home until after 630 p.m. Three nights a week we have activities for sports or boy scouts and we don’t see each other until even later. Staying up later isn’t a big deal for mornings either, we don’t have to be anywhere until around lunchtime anyway.
The meal schedule is shifted as well, for the people. I shifted everything about an hour and a half later than what we were used to, made lunch a smaller meal, and added a big snack in the late afternoon. This way we can all get through the nightly activities without feeling hungry, but still have enough of an appetite to eat dinner. Dinner is always done when we walk in the door on busy nights…big thanks to the inventor of the slow cooker, I’m pretty sure I love you! The dogs’ meal time shifted as well, to lunch time! I honestly think that our dogs’ meal time adjustment has made one of the biggest impacts on reducing my stress level. Usually they were fed during our dinner time, but having my hungry brood and two hungry pups all at the same time was just too much for me to handle without walking the thin tightrope that is strung between ‘sane mom’ and ‘chicken with her head cut off mom’.
This week I’m going to reread some of the Love and Logic parenting tips. Part of my week long mozy through it week of observation also included not making to-do lists for daily activities and seeing how we operated as individuals without direct guidance….now I can confidently say that some kids need lists, some kids don’t, but all need to be coached in better problem solving skills…including myself! I don’t want all of our sticking points to go away, after all, how would I expect my kids to handle problems that just come up. But a less bumpy track is something I can definitely work on.
I’d love to hear what other families feel their sticking points are and what they do to try and make it smoother. Please leave a comment if you’re willing to share.