Managing Monday’s: the Calendar
August 29, 2011, 6:28 am
Filed under: back to school, humor, Parenting, Teenagers | Tags: , ,

When Scott and I were dating (back before hand-held electronics, cell phones and “i” anything) he had this giant book with a leather cover that looked like a Bible. It was his ORGANIZER. It was his ‘brain’ as he called it. I thought it was kinda cute until Scott had the audacity to tell me he had to schedule a date with me, or he would forget, or double book himself with all the other things he needed to do. I was indignant, and let him know in no uncertain terms that I was not a $&$3^+}{^€ appointment in his book, I was his fiancé, and he better damn well remember when we had a date. Twenty-five years later, I must sheepishly admit, I now feel the same way about my calendar. If it is on the calendar, it most likely will happen, if not, well, then it’s a crap shoot at best.

There are few things that strike more fear in my heart than calendaring. How do you keep track of four kids, a husband, yourself, and all the commitments that each of you have made, and make sure they all get where they are going, on time. It is a daunting task whether you have one child or six. As mothers, we are usually delegated this thankless task. There is no one cheering you on, and no one congratulating you when you get it right. But, miss one appointment, a pick up, or drop off, and you will hear about it for a long, long, time.

I have tried many things to keep my self organized and sane, and have now devised what works for my family after many failures, and missed cues. This is not foolproof because we are working with teenagers, and forty-something adults who sometimes do not communicate well. It has also changed with the development of electronics that communicate with other electronics, even when humans, do not. I give you the following ideas with some hesitation, and with the disclaimer that you will need to tweak this to your needs, and of course, if you leave your child somewhere or miss your appointment for the million dollars you were to inherit I will not be held responsible. I will however, meet you for a glass of wine to console you after the fact.

Our family life is centered around the kitchen, therefore, the main large paper calendar is in the kitchen displayed for all to see. Each family member is a designated color, and if it is a family event, there is a special color for that. The concept behind this is to minimize the amount you need to write and everyone can quickly look for their color and check their schedule. Even when the kids were in elementary school, they could look for their ‘color’ to see if they had something going on that day.

With the emergence of calendaring on-line with Gmail and iCal, I have advanced to doing it on the computer in the same fashion. It is much easier to change and update, than on the paper calendar. I then email it monthly to each of the kids and Scott. Everyone has access to it on our family computer in the kitchen as well. The paper calendar then becomes the place for major information, family dinners, family events, school holidays, vacation days, and all things that affect the entire family.

On Sunday nights we have a family meeting, go over the weeks events and try to make sure we are all on the same page. We talk about who is going where, try to get a handle on how we can support each other and then hope for the best. I check the calendar every morning, make sure we are covered for that day and try my best not to blow it. Grace, humor, car pooling and an ability to adapt are my life savers. I am also very appreciative of cell phones and coffee. It is easy to be overwhelmed, but a few colors, a willingness to communicate over and over, and a plan have made my missed appointment, or forgetting a child, the exception, not the rule. Good luck and Happy Calendaring!


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