In a previous post I talked about lessons that I have learned in the last 3 years about parenthood. Lesson #2 that I am about to talk about pretty much goes hand in hand with facilitating lesson #1.
Parenting Lesson #2: Organise, Organise, then Organise your Organising
Funny how if you say a word enough times it stops sounding like a word… Anyway.
As far as organisational skills go, mine have always been pretty non-existent. My nearly 3-year-old now knows to ask me as we are about to leave the house “Mum, have you forgotten anything?” to which I usually respond “Yes, my phone. Thank you Amelia.” At university, I wrote my final dissertation in 48 hours thanks to a combination of no sleep, a crate of energy drinks and a pack of pro-plus, despite having a whole year’s notice of it’s due date.
But that was then, and this is now. No, I am not cured of my organisational deficiency, but I have found tools and tricks to fool people into thinking so! The most important to me and our household is meal planning. Not only does this take away the stress of “Oh crap, it’s nearly dinner time what have we got in, what have we got in… errrrrr…. yep that’ll do. Sorry guys” it also allows me to budget our weekly food shop pretty accurately which further allows me to budget and plan around our other main expenditures. Fun stuff, huh?!
Wills decided to wake me up at 5am this morning, and while he was having breakfast I realised that my meal plan had run out yesterday, meaning I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to be cooking for dinner tonight (see, organisation at its finest there!). Down I sat with my favourite tools; pens, paper, highlighters. Oh I do love a good set of stationary… but more about that another time!
Sometimes this plan will change for various reasons; if we make plans to go out, have an unexpected dinner at someone else’s house (Yay! No cooking!) or we just decide we fancy swapping meals around. That’s fine, because I use this meal plan to buy all ingredients necessary to make all 7 meals each week, so if we feel like swapping Monday to Thursday, or we don’t use something it’s cool, I just freeze it and use it a later date. Simples. You can download and print a monthly meal planner here.
When it comes to the kids routine is paramount, not just for them but for me too! Take me out of my routine and I’m totally screwed, I just lose the plot altogether. I have a very set routine in the evening which allows mornings to run as smoothly as possible; get all the breakfast bits out including bowls and spoons, followed by everyone’s outfits for the day, all bags packed with necessary items, and a snack bag filled up for the nursery run. Without this, I am guaranteed to forget something which will always result in a meltdown from one of us!
Recently I had a rather embarrassing encounter with a mum from nursery about her child’s birthday.
“Oh hey! Let me check, did we give you an invite for [child]’s birthday party?”
Oh shit oh shit, did we get an invite? I’m sure we did… Did we forget to go? Is this her polite way of telling me we forgot to bloody turn up? Errrrr….
“Yes, I’m sure you did! Remind me of the date? I’m losing track, these kids have better social lives than we do!”
Insert awkward giggle here. Well swerved though, I think…
“It’s Saturday, but her birthday was actually yesterday.”
“Yes!!” (waaay too much excitement there) “Yes you did, it’s at [venue] isn’t it? Yes, we will definitely be there. Tell you what, I’ll grab the details from you and pop them in my phone, I imagine Amelia has hidden the invite somewhere, bless her.”
That’s it, blame the kid. Bad mummy… Shit, I forgot to say Happy Birthday…
So now we have a place for Amelia’s invitations, hung in order of the date we are supposed to attend each one!
I am yet to find one diary method which works for me on its own, so I use a combination of a paper diary, the calendar in my phone, and a calendar on the wall. You can pretty much guarantee that when I go out I will forget either my phone or diary, so using both ensures that any plans made when I’m out get noted down somewhere, and then every morning I try to remember to check all 3 places for engagements!
Seriously, if anyone knows of a diary or method or magic trick which could solve my organisational hell, please let me know!