Time Management for Parents

Why write an article on time management for parents? Well, in my experience, the nature of parenting pretty much means that the children come first.

While this is still true in my life, I've learnt that if I can organize myself properly, then I just might be able to put the children first and have time to myself!

Being Too Busy

When I wasn't coping very well with my busy schedule, I found that the one area in which I slipped up very badly was not being patient with my children.

A busy person doesn't have time to be patient and I was stretched far too thin. I was trying to be career woman, supermum, domestic goddess and 50's housewife all rolled into one and although I could keep a veneer of coping in public, at home, it was a different story.

I felt like I was always grumpy with the kids and always rushing them. It came to a head one day when I was teaching my daughter that one of her friends at school was called Maddy for short (not Matty as she was calling her). I was saying to her "Maddy, Mad - dy, Maddy is Mad, Mad Maddy" when she responded - "Maddy's not Mad Mamma - you are".

From the mouth of babes!! It's amazing how something so simply put can stop you dead in your tracks. I asked her whether she thought I really was mad all the time and her answer was the same (although I think she felt bad saying it). And I really had to agree with her - I actually was always grumpy and it was my fault. The whole reason for my grumpiness was because life was one big rush was and the cause of this?

I wasn't managing my home life very well.

Equation For Not Being Grumpy Mum

In my mind not being grumpy means having the time to pay attention and listen to the kids. It works for me like this:

Patience = Time Available.
Time Available = Manage my time.
Time management = Organized self!

So that's why I wanted to write a special section on time management for parents. Organizing myself and therefore my time is absolutely essential in my quest to not be grumpy mum and I'm pretty sure that other parents would be struggling with the same things. I've also written an article on Time Management Tips For Moms - this also has some more great tips on time management for parents

I know that the equation should really read Great parenting = Patience + Hardwork + Love + Lots of other stuff but that other stuff is sometimes out of my control. Patience/Time Management/Self Organization - that's something I can control and I can improve on.

So, this is what my life looked like before I learnt applied my handy little tips on time management for parents. If you want to skip straight to the tips and not read the woeful story below then click on this Time Management Tips for Parents

Weekdays - Before Learning Time Management for Parents

During the week, life was a complete rush. We would get up, I would rush the kids through breakfast (urging them to hurry while I was making their lunches) then scramble around for some clothes, the hairbrush, a hairtie, throw some clothes on myself and run out the door grabbing an apple on the way. I'm not kidding you when I say that more than once, I arrived at work wearing either my slippers or my birkenstocks depending on which time of year it was.

I would drop the kids off at school or their caregivers and try and rush out the door because I was invariably late for work. Once at work, I actually was very efficient (remember I'd been trained well!) but the turmoil started again as soon as I left work for home.

I'd walk in the door after retrieving the children from the various houses they had been farmed out to after school and would then wonder what was for dinner. If nothing came to mind it would be takeaways which would just make me feel worse - actually twice as worse because I felt guilty for not cooking dinner and lets face it, takeaway food isn't really that fulfilling.

Then it was homework (sometimes - we let this slip a bit when we were both working), bath and bedtime. By this time it was 9.00pm and my husband (if he was home) and I were absolutely exhausted. Too exhausted to do the dishes so I usually just left them.

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Weekends - Before Learning Time Management for Parents

The weekends would roll around (yay!) and after the mad rush of Saturday morning sport where getting out of the house involved frantically searching for soccer boots, tennis racquets, tennis shoes and finally car keys it was time to clean up the house. My husband and I would divide up the chores and tackle them with minimal enthusiasm. I would undertake my parts usually while being annoyed that I had to spend my precious weekend cleaning the house. Now, that put a grumpy damper on the household.

So, now, was it time to relax? Well, easier said than done.

Kids being kids - they were like little Piranha's (not my expression, one coined by Nigel Latta) - always wanting my attention. Like most working parents, having worked hard all week I definitely wanted to have fun with the kids but I also wanted to have some chill time. Problem was, I could never seem to get an uninterrupted half hour. I found the kids just wanted me to watch them, play with them, read to them - it was constant!

Weekend lunches and dinners were takeaways even though I absolutely loved to cook - I was finding was that I was too exhausted to even face cooking.

After all that, far too soon, Sunday evening would roll around and we would get ready to begin our hectic weekly cycle again.

So what happened?

From where I am now, it is amazing to think that we survived living in this mad mad world. Once I started applying the time management principles to my home life I realised there were lots of areas where I could improve. I talked to lots of parents and asked them how they coped with the morning rush and I would corner the time management guru's we had at work and ask them the questions. Most of the gems I found were simple ideas but as you already know, these simple ideas made a world of difference.

I share them with you on the next page - Time Management Tips For Parents

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