There is an important part of prepping for back to school that moms overlook. You are so focused on getting the kids ready that you forget about getting you ready. Find out how to plan your day when kids start school so you don’t make the same mistake this year.
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This is hitting me especially hard this year. I have been a stay-at-home mom for so long that I forget what it’s like to have any semblance of free time during the day. That’s all changing because my daughter starts kindergarten this year and my baby starts next year. That is quite a precipice.
On the one hand, I’m super excited to get to shower daily without interruption. Of course, on the flip side of that, it is scary. I’ve been a mom most of my adult life. It has defined me more than I care to admit. How do you move forward?
It starts with a plan. You and I can’t wait until school starts and hope it works out. Instead, we have to make a plan now to move forward in this next stage of life. Let’s make it as easy as possible with these steps for how to plan your day when kids start school.
Step 1: List Your Tasks
The first thing you need to do is list your tasks. This goes beyond a regular to-do list. Think about the stuff that you already do on a daily basis and add in things that you want (or need) to start doing as well. These should be things that you want to do in addition to the tasks that you have to do.
No matter how big or small the task, list it. Here is an example of a list of tasks to give you some inspiration:
- Put Away Dishes
- Get Shower
- Help Kids to the Bus
- Do Laundry
- Help Kids with Homework
- Make Dinner
- Load Dishwasher
- Family Time
- Get Kids Ready for Bed
Step 2: Design Your Ideal Day
Once your list of tasks is complete it is time to design your ideal day. This is what your day looks like in a perfect world where everything always goes to plan and you accomplish every task on your list easily. Here are a few questions to help you plan:
- What time do you wake up on your perfect day?
- How much time to you spend cleaning your house and what does it look like?
- Will you spend any time outside of the house or does your day primarily take place within the home?
- When do you fall asleep on your perfect day?
Use these questions and your list of tasks to plot out your ideal day. This is easiest if you write down the times of day hourly on a sheet of paper, starting with when you want to wake up and ending with when you go to sleep. Then arrange your tasks along those hours accordingly.
Step 3: Evaluate Your Ideal Day
This is the hardest step of the entire process. Look at your ideal day and evaluate it with the eye of a skeptic. Are you trying to fit in too much? Is there any room for relaxing or is every hour filled to capacity?
On the flip side of that, are you slacking? Do you have 2 hours allotted in the morning for putting away dishes? If so, chances are, you are not challenging yourself to truly be your best.
Take a hard look at your what your day looks like and think of adjustments you can make for your day-to-day life. Maybe instead of breaking up cleaning into individual tasks throughout the day it is better to designate a cleaning hour and call it done. Perhaps you gave yourself 4 hours of reading time at the expense of balance to work/homemaking. These are the things you need to think about and evaluate.
Step 4: Create Your Basic Daily Plan
The last step in this process for how to plan your day when kids start school is to create your basic daily plan. Think of it like the skeleton of your day, supporting any supplemental tasks and errands. Ideally, there will be room for a bit of everything while creating the flexibility to change day to day without completely throwing you off track.
Example Basic Daily Plan
Don’t feel like your basic daily plan needs to be hourly and rigid. I typically break mine down by times of day. It also allows me the freedom to make changes as necessary (such as for field trips, grocery shopping, or doctor’s appointments) without totally ruining my flow or important tasks I need to complete. Here is a quick example for you:
- Mornings are for me because I kind of totally hate them. Aside from getting the kids ready for school and on the bus, I focus on me. This is when I start my coffee, workout while it brews, then meditate and shower. When all is said and done this only takes about an hour of my morning, leaving me free to handle small tasks such as putting away dishes and starting laundry before I start writing.
- I get a ton of great light in the afternoon so that is when I do any crafting that needs photographed. It is also the perfect time to finish up any additional cleaning tasks I need to before the kids get home from school. Once they are home, it is time to help with homework and start thinking about dinner.
- The evenings are the time of my day that revolves around my family. I usually make dinner while the kiddos play.
- Sometimes I read, watch TV, or hop on social media while I do it. Then we eat dinner and spend some time together. This can be playing a game, which we love, or sometimes reading together or watching a movie. Whatever it is, I try to focus on them during this time.
- After the kiddos go to bed but before I crawl into my own, I tie up loose ends from my day or work on my blog some more. I like to finish off my day reading a book in bed before finally closing my eyes.
The key for how to plan your day when kids start school is to focus on key points and tasks instead of rigidity. If you try to start with too specific and tight of a schedule, you will be more tempted to give up when you falter or fail. Instead, adjust your schedule as your practice it more in a way that pushes you to try harder and rediscover yourself. Don’t use this new schedule in a way that leads to burnout. That doesn’t help anyone at the end of the day.
Also keep in mind that this basic schedule should be for during the week and not weekends. If you still want a schedule for the weekends create one that is different from your Monday through Friday. Weekends are inherently different from weekdays and your time will reflect that.
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I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.