Let’s face it, life is busy! Everyone seems to be going in different directions all at the same time. As parents getting it all figured out can create any number of small crises to break out.
There's a special element to the calendar process for me due to shared parenting. I have to take into consideration what holidays are mine, what vacation times are mine, what spring breaks and Christmas schedule I am on. Blah, blah, blah! Life can get very confusing, especially just before the start of a new school year.
This is the time of year when I begin putting everyone’s school calendars onto my personal calendar. I scour the school websites pulling up calendars, trying to figure out where everyone’s schedule will fit together this year.
With three of us in three different schools and two different school districts, there are several calendars to consider, not mentioning throwing in Mr. Right’s work calendar, appointments, and other family/personal things of the kind. As a parent who shares parenting with someone outside of our family, calendars are a vital part for us, as I am sure they are for you!
For several years, calendars around here were right on the money. The school I work for and the schools the boys attend (not even the same district) were on the same schedule....or at least within a day or two.
But last year…
… Enter: The Clash of the Calendars! (dun dun dahhhhh!!)
This past year, the boy's spring break was a week before mine and it was my year to have them over Spring Break. Crisis! Now what? It was time for the scramble. Quick! Check and see! Did I have any sick days or personal time I could take? Oh, I hope so! Did Mr. Right have any time off? Would the boys’ dad be willing to drop them off, instead of me picking them up? Oh Gosh! It felt crazy to say the least.
So many things to figure out!
ON and ON it went...everything running through my mind all at once (um, checking calendars at work probably not a good idea for me, too many chances for mini crises). I was supposed to be focused and doing my job and all I could think about was- what to do, what to do?!
Raising kids is difficult enough, but trying to get everyone’s calendar to mesh is like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube! GEEZE!
I don't claim to be an expert...bah! Far from it! But what I can do is tell you how I deal with these sorts of mini crises and perhaps you can find a 'take-away' from it.
The question, for me, when a mini crises arises, becomes; How do I slow down when life feels out of control?
I take time to PITL (pronounced piddle- not the kind a puppy does... but to dawdle or to go slow).
PITL, to pray, itemize, take time, and love.
P: PRAY! Take a deep breath and remember this too shall pass. STOP and remember to breath, pray, and lean on GOD first! Not after you've talked to your spouse about it, or your mom, or your girlfriend, or whoever you talk to! Not after you've done everything you think you need to do. PRAY FIRST! Pray about everything (I try to). In the most hectic of times, it's important to remember we do not have to be super mom/dad. We have nothing to prove. I know, for me, being a divorced parent can make me feel like I have to prove I am a good parent. I don't have to prove anything. Instead, I need to pray for my boys as they learn to accept the limitations that come with real life. So when even a minor crisis comes, I need to remind myself to stop, breath, pray, and lean on GOD first, not after I've done everything I can think of and failed! Not to mention drove myself crazy while attempting to do it on my own!
I: ITEMIZE! One thing at a time! If we're trying to get everything into place all at the same time, nothing will get done. After I pray, the first thing I do is grab my handy dandy task tool on my Kindle! What are my priorities for the crisis? I Write them down. Seeing things in list form helps me see what I need to accomplish and then gives me a sense of accomplishment as I see them checked off the list! For this mini crisis, my second task was to get a hold of the boys’ dad to make arrangements for a different pick up time. This part of PITL is about what to do First, Next and Then! We need to think about what the first step is or the first thing we need to accomplish and then move on from there.
T: TIME! Remember that time is always about quality and not quantity. It's not so much about how much time you spend, as much as it's about what you do with the time you do have. I would spend EVERY waking moment with my kids if it was at all possible. Sadly, life doesn't work that way for us! I have to tell myself, it's okay if I need to work when they are here on breaks, as long as I make the time I do have with the boys quality time. Spending every waking moment with our kids is not required for our kids to feel important; taking what time we do have and making it count, that's what makes them feel important!
L: LOVE! The most important thing I need to remember: my boys love me and all they want to know is I love them. They don't care if we simply sit and stare at each other or if we take a huge trip...the only important thing to them- knowing they are accepted, loved, and cherished for exactly who they are! Knowing I will do everything I can to make our time special and important makes them feel loved! I think I do a pretty good job of that (at least I hope if you were to ask them they would tell you I do). Lots of things let our kids know they are loved and typically it's not the things we think it is!
Praying for my kids, Itemizing my priorities, taking &Time with them, makes them feel Loved!
They know I PITL regularly but that I never dawdle!
I guess in the scope of things it wasn't such a crisis after all! It simply was a minor kink in the everyday chain of events I call life!
WHEW!! I can get so stressed over the simplest of things!! It's great to know I can always PITL!!
Walking by Faith,
*What are some ways you cope with scheduling conflicts within your family? What sacrifices are made? Should there have to be sacrifices or are compromises a better choice?