A Cure For Chaos

20170827_161409It’s that time of the year again. The slow trickle of the back-to-school celebrations have commenced! Newbie back-to-school parental units, fret not. You’ll catch on.

This is the time of year that your home becomes more hushed during the day and bedtimes arrive a little earlier at night.

For parents that means the first and last sips of your coffee, tea, wine or beer and that relaxing sensation from that shower, bath, or book will be accompanied by the heavenly AAAH of our mental do not disturb feathers ACTUALLY not being ruffled.

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Much like the changing out of summer clothing for fall attire, our school aged home dwellers must change from vacation mode vigilantes to studious independents.

That means homework takes priority over leisure and outdoor shenanigans may be cut down as an earlier curfew takes the lead.

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That means our big little people will be standing at attention ready to start their day every morning and armed with energy and enthusiasm to finish strong every evening.

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*sigh* Yeah, I didn’t believe that one bit while I was writing it either but I figured it was worth a shot. You know how that whole “Speak It Into Existence” concept goes…

Everything always looks better in black and white. In reality, however, it sometimes looks like chaos.

During the summer vacation, there were probably things that you loosened the reigns on and other things that were easier to keep up because there was no early morning wake up calls or late night homework sessions.

Now that school is back in the equation, it can quickly become exhaustively overwhelming trying to keep your home in order and your kids motivated to stay on track without becoming a nagging, screaming, scowling sea witch.

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Whether you work outside of the home or are a SAHWAH parent, you need to begin your bid for organization early to combat the back-to-school crazies.

Your method of organization may vary greatly depending on the ages  of your children but the need for organization will remain, nevertheless.

I thought I’d share a few things that have remained consistent for me year after year and how I’m combatting my biggest pet peeve.

Most kids are never ready to go back to school. Usually, the only time they, happily, wake up early is the only day mom and dad can afford to sleep in late.

Getting your kids back on an appropriate sleep schedule before ‘D-day’ (or Yay-day depending on which side of the spectrum you stand) should be on your top list of things to do. It helps the morning madness when they have had their practice bedtime/wake up drills.

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Make Space. It’s a new school year. Get rid of the old items taking up space in your home. I don’t know about you but I find it extremely hard to focus around clutter. Less clutter means less cleaning.

Those old books, clothes and shoes can and should be donated. Those papers that you have that you may need one day but haven’t looked at in the last year…GARBAGE! If you absolutely can’t part with them, use bins and folders.

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Bins are your friends and folders are your soldiers. Use them to keep track of assignments, trips, projects, and notices.

Kids are huge contributors to the thumbs down movement for homework, chores, curfews and early bedtimes.

Are your army fatigues washed and pressed? You may be going to war on this one because none of those things are fun but someone has to do it…and it shouldn’t just be YOU!

My sweet not so little dust bunnies are a very soon to be 13-year-old, young lady and a stuck at age 10 for 5 more months, young man and they are chairpersons to the cause.

In the years past, I’ve spent immeasurable amounts of time stuck in repetitions of “Is your homework complete?” “Are your chores done?” “Who left dirty dishes on the table? Or in the bedroom? Or in the living room? And yes, there has even been a cup or two found in the bathroom. WTH???!!

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(Can you tell what my pet peeve is?)

This year, I’m rebelling. I am going to stomp my feet, fold my arms, and put in a lot of pouting and eye rolling work…or, maybe, I can teach them the pros and cons of responsibility vs. irresponsibility.

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Now, I don’t want to come off as superhero Mean Mom (M&M for short) but I do want to give my kids an incentive to be a bit more responsible while maintaining some levels of my sanity.

Let’s be honest. It’s a struggle to maintain the activities of daily living for more than one person. Heck, sometimes it’s a struggle to manage them for just yourself. That’s why the word HELP is a common daily verb in my home.

With all hands on deck, our day-to-day activities are accomplished in a timely fashion without much hassle and headache.

My solution? A chore chart that will help them stay on top of their responsibilities and their math $kills!

I used a similar chart for my two oldest children, who are now in their 20’s. They survived!

This is an example of what the completed chart could look like:

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Grab your chart here!  Print it out and customize it to suit your needs.

I include duties that are non-negotiable non-payable requirements. These are things that MUST be done, like it or not. While they will not earn an allowance for them, duties can affect the amount of their payout at the end of the week.

Chores are those things they can help you do around the house to make it run smooth…that you don’t mind rewarding them for.

Bonuses are those extra odd and ends that they can do. In my home, if one washes the dishes, the other can get the bonus for sweeping the kitchen floor or emptying the dishwasher. (Hi-five that teamwork action 😉).

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Penalties will pretty much speak for themselves. After the first 2 weeks of being penalized, my beautiful doves prefer not to use it at all. (Responsibility download complete).

Best wishes to you and your scholars for a successful and less stressful school year!

 

 

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The Balancing Act

Life is a huge circus and you’re the tight rope walker.

-Liz McKenzie

At any given time, any one of us can be juggling a cluster of life’s necessities in one hand – education, work, family, religious and social obligations, etc – and the residual effects of life’s necessities in the other hand – happiness, sadness, stress, contentment, fatigue, etc.

In order to remain functional, you have to compose a modus operandi that will keep you from becoming a casualty of your own gravitational pull.

Finding the right balance between the various aspects of your life is critical to the progression of your purpose.

You manuever through milestones towards your goals but not without a teeter here and a totter there.

If any one element demands or steals more of your time, the other areas will be starved of the energy required to keep you balanced.

1. First things first. You have to want balance. You are who you say you are and you can do whatever you set your mind up to do; whether it’s to fail or succeed. Therefore, making a conscious effort to seek a healthy balance in your life puts you in a better position to obtain it.

2. Identify your life components. In order to understand where you’re off-balance, you need to be familiar with…well, YOU. What are your daily activities and your obligations, your needs and your wants. Where do they rival?

3. Prioritize. Now that you know the who and the what’s put them in their place. It’s not always easy to tell your wants to take a backseat to your needs. It’s even harder to distinguish which need you should tackle first. I wish I could pinpoint it for you but, unfortunately, only you can sort through that stack.

4. Break it down. You won’t find balance in one lump sum and you won’t be able to magically pull it out of a hat. It takes time, patience and work! Set short and long-term goals to facilitate habit and to monitor your progress. So you can celebrate, of course!!!

5. Speaking of break, don’t forget to take one. Physical and mental fatigue are vultures when it comes to balance. It’s okay to walk away or find a mental retreat to help rebuild your momentum.

6. Share the load. Even Superman needed help. Enlisting people you trust with tasks that can be executed without your physical presence frees up a lot of time for you to tend to another part of your garden.

7. No is a real word. Sometimes, maintaining your balance means saying no. You can’t be everywhere at once or do everything everybody wants you to. Your stamina won’t stand for it and your balance will suffer. Choose your participation wisely, not every situation pairs well with your goals.

8. Activate your social namaste. All work and no play makes Jack and Jill B-O-R-I-N-G! The key is finding the right people to relax, relate, and release with. Spend time with people who invigorate and nurture and support you. Stay away from negative vibes!

9. Family Ties. Your family is one of the reasons why you strive for more in life. Take time to give them your undivided attention. Memories last forever so make some.

10. Don’t forget your needs. I saved the best for last! You are pivotal to maintaining your balance so, naturally, you need to cater to yourself. So what does your happy dance look like? Massage, meditation, exercise, hobbies, connecting with your spirituality. Whatever it is, make time for it.

11. Leave the guilt behind! I felt it was important to throw this in because it was one of my personal offenses. It’s almost shameful to hear me say that when I used to “steal” time for myself, I FELT GUILTY!! What kind of fraggernackle bull cocky is that? Why the heck should anyone feel remorseful for taking care of themselves and doing what makes them happy? You’re not stealing time, it’s yours! Drop the guilt!! You don’t it. It serves no purpose to you. It’s a fake supporter to your cause!

I hope these tips are able to assist you on your journey to stabilizing your balance.

I am always eager to hear what works for you so feel free to share!