It’s the end of a lovely day. Sunshine, beach splashes, not-too-many-fights. I managed to cook something most of the family ate, that didn’t involve anything fried. Kids uniforms and clothes are lined up for the next day. I can see some of the floor in the kids room, and all of the floor in the lounge room.
So why can’t I sleep?
I’m lying in bed, my body coursing with energy. And then it hits me like a child’s sleepy fist in the middle of the night.
I’m worried that I’ve forgotten something. Even though I’ve ticked off my to-do list for the weekend, tomorrow is another day. It’s the start of another week. With all of the ‘things’ I need to remember to do.
Of course, the world won’t fall apart if I forget just one thing. But it’s hard not to feel like it’s a finely stacked house of cards. Forget a child’s lost hat, an upcoming birthday present or planning school holiday care and it all could come tumbling down.
The best way to assuage this fear is to have a list. But lists aren’t always easy to keep up-to-date. Especially when things pop up while you’re driving (mufti day next week) or in mid-conversation at work (taking time off for school holidays).
Here’s how some friends deal with the leaky bits of the emotional load.
Read more about parenting:
- Why we must support – not shame – parents who are trying their best
- What becoming a parent really does to your relationship
- Six ways to nail the school cake stall when you’re pressed for time
There’s an app for that
Several friends swear by their apps. The main three apps my friends use are Google Keep, Trello and Cozi. If you’re a phone person (and who isn’t these days?) the benefit of having an app manage your to-do list is that your phone is never far away. These apps have been designed to make the list something you can tick off, and share (think groceries or dates your partner needs to know about). Google Keep also has voice recognition.
Now we’re adults (theoretically) no one can get cross if we write on our hands. It may not look the best in a client meeting, but if you work in a creative industry you might get away with it. Nothing says, “remember me!!” like a thick Sharpie inscription on your wrist.
Write stuff, everywhere
Have a paper diary, hard copy monthly calendar, post its, whiteboards and a stack of highlighters. Nothing happens that’s not written down, and repeating it in a million different places will help you remember to do it! (this is what I tell myself anyway, you may want to refer to the first suggestion above for more helpful advice).
This option takes strength of will, a healthy dose of optimism and a certain amount of throwing caution to the wind.
Choose a category – eg school, finances or family relationships. Then you shift that baby sideways.
If you chose school, we’re talking mufti days, homework, carnivals, mother’s day stalls. Anything that even remotely smells like crayons or clag glue is on their shoulders.
In order for this to work you need to be strong. You cannot weaken when you suspect that a child may turn up in school uniform on mufti day. It is no longer part of your emotional load!
I’ve just written a note in black sharpie to download the Google Keep app. And a post-it note to start delegating.
How do you manage all the things you need to do as a parent?