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Now that all five of our kids are in school, our family schedule resembles a MetroNorth timetable; there’s always someone inbound and someone outbound.  In and out, back and forth.  Someone needs a ride, a haircut, a gift for a party, a visit to the dentist.  A friend recently asked how I keep track of it all.  The answer, as with most questions I get is, “sometimes better than others!”  With so many balls in the air and kids on the go, some are bound to drop. Balls, not kids, that is.  But, I’ve become a fairly good juggler and on most days, keep most balls up in the air and most kids firmly grounded.  Here’s how:

  • Write it down. Right away.  Whether it’s a class conference, first day of little league or last day of school, put it on your calendar pronto. As in immediately, when the details are hot off the presses and before that piece of paper with all the critical details gets lost in the clutter, put out with the recycling or perhaps even burned in the fireplace. I speak from experience in all three scenarios and can attest that the best way to keep your family’s future plans from going up in smoke is to put them on your calendar the first chance you get.
  • RSVP.  Right away.  I used to have a file labeled “Remember Me”.  I filled it with birthday invitations I feared would fall off the fridge and baby shower invitations I didn’t want to lose.  Well, I didn’t lose them.  They are all still right there in that “Remember Me” file, completely forgotten!  When you get an invite — be it online or in the mailbox, don’t file it. Don’t stick it on the fridge or in a basket.  Respond. Right way.  The day you receive it.  And if you say yes, put the date and all critical details on your calendar.  As a bonus, add a calendar reminder to buy a gift the week before so you won’t be scrambling on the way to the soiree.
  • Share your calendar. With your husband. Your sitter.  Even with your kids if they’re old enough. I recently made the mistake of sharing mine with my boss, which I don’t recommend but, at least he now has an appreciation for all I am juggling!  Our family has a monthly calendar so we can all see the big picture and then I print a calendar each week that includes not only the details of the theater class, play dates and baseball registration but also our weeknight dinner plans. This helps us all to better manage the flow of inbound and outbound traffic while eliminating the panic (mine) and whining (theirs) of what’s for dinner.  And that my friends, will be my post for next week!