Friday, May 11, 2012

Q & A -- time management

**Note:  I find it fitting that this post on "time management" happens to be so late in being posted.  A great indication of how great I am at this time thing.


How do your kids manage time? How do you get them everywhere? With 3 hours of church, another hour or so of activity at church on different day, morning scripture, seminary for the high school before school, special events like this {I can't remember what post this was so I don't know what "this" was}, plus piano, volleyball, tennis, school, homework and so on? I'm tired just reading the schedule.

Well, we are trying to get better at this one.

Always, always trying. And it is tricky, I tell you.

When time management is hard for the Mom, then it is hard for the kids so man alive, I'm trying to set a better example.

But there are a few things that really help our kids manage time well enough that they are productive:

1) We don't let them sign up for everything they want. I know, duh, that one's easy, right? But seriously, it gets so hard to pick between so many good, active things these days. Especially in the area we live where everyone seems to be able to do everything well. We've narrowed down the myriad of sports Max has tried to volleyball. And Elle has chosen tennis.

Keep in mind this is after trying tons of things. We want them to feel like they've given as many things as they're interested in a try. It's so hard for me not to have Elle doing volleyball too, and Max would like to be doing basketball and pole vaulting too, but we're to the point where we need to focus because the one thing they are doing soaks up all the nooks and crannies of their time.

And I'm still trying to be a tiger mother about it.

I'm failing miserably.

The younger girls are still in the "figure-out-what-to-focus-on" phase which means a ton of driving them around. Luckily I haven't been able to get up the gumption to sign them up for gymnastics yet this year...that's a time-sucker.

But really, I digress from the question at hand. On to time-management:

2) We're lucky because our kids leave for school at different times and come home at different times as well, so we can help them manage time more individually.

Max has learned the hard way that he needs to be organized in the morning before we have scriptures. And by saying he has "learned the hard way" I mean he's been in the doghouse a couple times for missing the bus and/or has had to go to school hungry because he doesn't have time to eat breakfast/pack a lunch.

We set up rules when our kids were really young that they couldn't do anything with friends after school if they didn't finish their morning jobs before they left (make beds, practice, etc.) so over the years they have become pretty ok at that and manage that mostly on their own.

3)  This one is a little bit sad to admit, but I think because I fly by the seat of my pants so much a couple of my children thirst for organization enough that they set their own schedules so they can get stuff done to not be like their mother who is running around frantically.  Seriously.  And I love it because they write me notes and help me keep on track when I may forget stuff.

Do you plan on being a stay at home mom when you have all of your children in school full time? Maybe it's a little different because you have so many business pursuits, but my youngest just started kindergarten this year and it's full day where I live and I have been feeling pressure from family and friends to go back to work. Sometimes people make me feel like it's "ok" to be a stay at home mom when you have small children, but when you have older kids it's just lazy or unmotivated.

I think you just have to prayerfully figure out what is best on this one, and don't let anyone make you feel bad for whatever decision you make.  Every mother is so different.  Some are chomping at the bit to get out and work when their kids are gone, others I'm sure, use the time to organize and be a better home maker.  I, for one, feel like in many ways I am working while trying to juggle everything else being a stay-at-home mom.  Lucy is gone for two-and-a-half hours four days a week and my heart is literally racing the whole time trying to catch up on things so that I can "be there" for my kids and Dave when they are home.  I would love to have a stretch of time when I can actually answer some emails and file things instead of having it look like a bomb exploded in my little office and having hundreds of unopened emails making me feel frantic and irresponsible.

Yes, I'm hoping I will get sane again when all my kids are in school.

But oh how I will miss them.

Whatever you decide, do it for you and your family, not anyone else who may or may not understand.

I wanted to ask your opinion about sports vs. weekly mutual activities. My kids are still too young to worry about this balance, but I serve in the Young Women at church. Some of our girls miss months at a time because of sports, band, etc.

When I was working with the youth I felt sad for them when they missed because it's so fun to have that camaraderie and spiritual boost during the week, but sometimes families decide other things need to come first and I completely respect the family's choices about that.  I just always wanted to be sure everyone knew the information, knew we could come get them if they needed a ride, and mostly knew that we loved them and supported whatever they were doing.  If someone was busy in a sporting season we would all go watch them and support them.  Youth just need to feel loved.  I hope the leaders can support whatever decisions we may make with our teenagers when push comes to shove, but we do put a very high value on church activities.  I'm SO grateful for them and how they have helped mold my teenagers into the people they have become.

What are some ways you and Dave make time for each other on a daily basis?

This is a great question because I've been horrible at it lately!  (sorry babe)  Things have hit the fan lately with how much we have been gone and it makes both of us crave those ordinary days when we can just hang out.  Aside from the past couple months where I have felt like Dave and I are just ships passing in the night there are a few things we like to do to put each other first:

1) ALWAYS have a weekly date night (whether at home after the kids are in bed when the kids were young, to going somewhere to talk now that we have built-in babysitters),
2) text nice things back and forth,  It's amazing what a few nice words in a text can do for your day.
3) pray together every night.  I love that we have done that since we were first married.
4) more ideas back HERE.

Would you mind describing your basic beauty routine?

This is part of what helps me manage time:  I don't have a beauty routine.  But I know that is not a good answer and I should take better care of myself.  I grew up with my mother for my example in beauty regimen:  "greet-the-day-running-and-hope-that-you-don't-run-into-someone-you-know-at-the-grocery-store-because-you-didn't-have-time-to-brush-your-hair-that-morning."  She could pull that off.  Me, not so much.  Especially the lack of sleep part.  So I'm trying to change my ways. 

What are ways you give to yourself each day or each week or when you can? :)

I feel really indulgent when I sit for a minute and catch up with family/friends (at lunch/on the phone, or on their blogs) and when read a book like this one I just finished.

Seems like I'm not the only one wondering about your family bedtime routines! {I guess a few people asked this after a post a while ago...not sure what spurred it.}  Do you put all the younger kids down at one time or do you take the time to read to them all separately? How long does it take you before they are all fast asleep and what are their bedtimes? Also, what time do they start their nightly routines?

The bedtime routines all include: reading, brushing teeth and prayer. The younger kids start early (like at 7:30) and the older ones don't finish until close to 10:30 or 11:00 (yes, on school nights).

When the kids were younger we worked bedtime like clockwork because we could.  I could read with each child individually before I tucked them snugly into bed.  We had our evenings scheduled down to the minute and by 8 or 8:30 or so the house was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.  But now we have kids coming and going all night long.  Volleyball, tennis, church stuff and carpools and go until after dark.  Kids need constant help with homework and everyone (the three younger girls) want to read together at the same time.  I do my best to take turns and help snuggle up whoever needs a little extra attention.  It's interesting that the same child is the one needing the most attention most of the time...anyone else find that to be the case??

But even amidst the big-kid cacophony of noise and motion, the actual bedtime routine remains: read, brush teeth and prayer hopefully with a little time to pull ideas and thoughts out of their brains here and there.

Just wondering how you set your personal goals (what format do you use)? You seem to accomplish a lot in you day, just wanted to pick your brain on how you set future goals, personal, family goals, etc..

I have found (through much trial and error) that the best way for managing my day is through my calendar on my iPhone.  I use a calendar called "Calvetica" that my brother introduced to me that syncs automatically with my computer and gives me as many alarms and reminders as I program into it.

But really, the goal thing is what makes all the difference, and during the periods of my life where I set aside time to think deliberately about setting those goals it makes a golden difference.  My dad is the master goal-setter and has taught me from the time I was young to take out time to make "lifetime goals" (the big-picture goals), "ten-year goals," "five-year goals," "one-year goals," "one-month goals," and on to "one-week goals." some day I will include pictures of my big three-ring binder (that has been useful in the past and has gathered dust lately needing desperately to be used to get my life back in order!)  But until I find the time to do that, check out my dad's theories HERE.


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In summary, as you can probably tell, I am not so hot at time management.  But I'm trying.  And sometimes that's the very best I can do.  I will end with this very wise comment a reader sent a while back (I'm sorry I didn't write down the name, just saved what she said, so thank you whoever you are!!)

"A favorite quote came to mind while reading your post: 'When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.

Shawni, but wherever it's from, it's stuck with me: After time apart, your first interaction with your children will set the tone. I think of this when I wake them up in the morning, greet them at the door after school. That is when I really try to look in their eyes, smile, and listen with love."

How true it is that when we put God first, everything else falls into it's proper place.  How grateful I am for a loving God who will guide us if we will only let Him in.

One of my favorite quotes:

"Oh God of second chances, here I am again."

He'll be there for us no matter how many times we come to Him again, and again, and again.  He wants to help us raise these children of His that He has entrusted into our care.

7 comments:

  1. that was such a fun post, i love getting to know you and your life a little better.

    Can we ask, what time you wake up, and what time you go to bed?

    My little ones are all asleep by 8pm, then i finish cleaning, doing what i need to and the usually watch a show or read, and it bed at 10:30ish.. i hear thats super early LOL I usually have to be up at 6:30ish.. what about you?

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  2. Great post Shawni.
    Good reminders.

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  3. I have always been one to set physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, financial and family goals each year.

    Yet I've never really thought about setting lifetime, 10-year, 5-year, month and weekly goals. Brilliant! Thanks!

    Just an idea for your blog:

    You already have a FAQ tab for photography questions...maybe you could do an overall FAQ for your blog? Or a FAQ for parenting stuff and/or home management?

    It would be helpful to readers to see what questions have already been asked. It could also potentially save you time in the long run. (Less questions in your inbox or less Friday Q&A blog posts where you have to write "more of that HERE" ;)

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  4. This quote at the end is from Pres Ezra Taft Benson - and one of my favorites. It's longer than what you even quoted and wonderful!

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  5. This quote at the end was from Pres Ezra Taft Benson. There is more to this quote than given and is wonderful! - one of my favorites.

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  6. In our last ward missing youth night was tantamount to missing church, so there really was pressure to be at every youth activity. Now that we live in Germany, due to time and distance weekly youth night is not possible. While my daughter does miss the mid-week boost, it really has made it easier on the family as a whole. I appreciate that we have more time together.

    It has been refreshing for us to step outside of the USA church mindset and see that while the gospel of Jesus Christ is the same, the functioning of the church varies from place to place taking into account the needs and culture of the people. Wards across the world are still producing good Latter Day Saint youth even if they can't attend EFY and mid week activities.

    It took a cross Atlantic move for me to gain this perspective, but I am grateful to now have it. The programs of the church are a blessing and great tools to aid in raising our families, but they are just that; tools, not commandments.

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