We have four boys in our house aged 4 to 12. Between school and various activities, they obviously keep us very busy. Maintaining schedules and having everyone where they need to be and when they need to be there is often challenging, especially when Hubs is traveling for work or working late. There are a few things that we do that work for us though.
1. Cozi app. This free app has the best calendar on it. I have each person color coded so we know just by the color who is doing what. Also, it can be shared by the whole family. Husband and I can each access the calendar and add or edit events. I also don't have to remind him 5 times of activities since he has the same app on his phone. Cozi can also be set to send reminders. You can use this app in many other ways, but this is how we use it the most.
2. Just say NO. We limit the number of activities/ sports/clubs, etc. that each child can participate in. We have tried to let them do Cub Scouts, karate, baseball, and everything else their little hearts desired, but it was just way too much. For all of us. Now we limit each kid to one activity at a time. This still normally keeps us very busy and them able to try and explore new things, but much less overwhelming. During winter, we may have one in art class and two playing basketball. Now it is baseball season, all four boys are on teams, so there are no extra art lessons or other activities. They don't always love this rule, but it makes it manageable for us, and normally allows us at least one night a week "off ".
3. Find and utilize friends! This has been so important to me. There was a LONG stretch of time where my husband was working in England and I was a single mom. I made sure that my kids ended up on baseball or basketball teams where I knew the coach or they had a good friend on the team to help me get the boys where they needed to go. Now that we are back to tag teaming, there are times husband has to work late or travel, and try as I might, I can't be in two places at the same time. We quickly made friends with teammates who are willing to help when needed. And we are also willing to help them in return. I know this is hard. It sucks to ask for help. But, we are all in this parenting thing together. Plus, carpooling is better for the environment, right?
4.Just keep swimming. I started taking Dory's advice just last year. We were in the process of relocating from North Carolina to Ohio. Husband had already moved to begin his new job, we were selling a house, I was working part time, involved in PTO, kids were finishing the school year and of course, playing baseball. It was hard. As life is. There were days I could not even LOOK at my Cozi calendar to see what needed to be done because it was so overwhelming! So I got out of bed everyday and just did it. There was no time to think, or worry, or stress... we just kept swimming. And we made it through.
There are not quite so many things on my plate in this season of my life. But some days are still hard...many days are still hard. I remind myself often of that wise little fish, and JUST KEEP SWIMMING. And keep lots of wine on hand!