I assumed that a Type-A personality, such as myself would rock the socks off being a Mom. I planned to be organized, I planned to be prepared, I even planned to plan. My Pinterest was full of ideas on my board lovingly referred to as “Baby,” because we had yet to choose a name.
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Despite that late decision, I already knew what that kid was going to eat when the baby food months came around, how I was going to make it and how I was going to store it. I even knew how to potty train the kid and the exact number of onesies and cloth diapers I would need.
I basically had what I thought were the blueprints to be Mom of the Year.
WIC ended up supplying me with plenty of baby food, so making my own wasn’t a necessity. Plus, I figured out he had a couple of food allergies, which also put a slight kink in things.
Despite my determination to save the planet with cloth diapers, I have blown through more disposable diapers than I can count. To think I even researched the little hose that connects to the toilet to spray out the cloth diapers. I guess Hubs’ laughter at that research was warranted after all.
And, potty training, well, we’ve been trying for over a year. I will say we are getting closer, but we’re still not there yet. Even after having tried every trick in the book, in the other books, on Pinterest, on Google, and the Mommy forums. But, it will come, and I will miss our discussions of potty presents and pee-pee M&Ms.
The hardest thing, though, harder than potty training, harder than planning a trip to Disney, harder than moving states away via a military moving company, has been to get my family on a schedule.
Hubs and #1 march to the beat of a different drummer and even with all the world’s plans, calendars, email reminders, text alerts, post-it’s and check-in phone calls, they’re still going to do their own thing.
Even if I don’t like the fact that they don’t get out of their pajamas one day, or spend the entire day having ‘screen time,’ or go to the store and come home with even more toys, or forget to put dinner in the Crockpot leaving our only option to conveniently be ordering pizza.
So, here I am, with what I will fondly refer to as attempt #2019 to get these boys on a family schedule. You may notice that corresponds with the year, but I assure you, I’ve tried to get them on a family schedule that many times, or so it seems.
I started with what time they will wake up: 7 AM. My husband scoffed. My old work schedule meant I didn’t have to be in until 9 AM at the earliest, sometimes noon, which meant the boys slept in, too. Regardless, I felt like 7 AM was a good time to start the day.
#1 is not apt to wake up and immediately reach for breakfast, so the first hour of the day is a good time to quietly play and wake up. He usually enjoys a rousing show of PAW Patrol or PJ Masks at that time, too.
I put breakfast on the family schedule at 8 AM. By then, #1 will be asking for pancakes and chocolate milk, or waffles and orange juice, or the chocolatiest cereal known to man. He takes quite awhile to eat, but not so long that the 8 AM hour can’t also be used for getting ready for the day.
By 9 AM, I am really hoping they’ll be moving.
- Sunday: Now, that’s easy, because church starts at 9 AM. Other days may be a little more trying as set times aren’t required.
- Monday: I listed errands so they could take care of any items we forgot to pick up over the weekend.
- Tuesday: A craft, something simple but interesting so Hubs will actually want to do it. If you or your Hubs need suggestions for these crafts, check out my shop.
- Wednesday: There is a great little story time at the local library filled with books, songs and activities. I’ve seen another dad there before, so I’m hoping that spurs a friendship and Hubs will continue going.
- Thursday: Play group with kids from the church. On the off chance that it’s cancelled, play time at the park will suffice.
- Friday: Learning, whether that’s an alphabet/number workbook or playing on ABC Mouse.
- Saturday: Mama’s forte, as we’ll go on some wild adventure.
Lunch is at noon: pretty simple. Usually dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, mac ‘n cheese, or peanut butter sandwiches. Another reason I’m Mom of the Moment and not Mom of the Year. Perhaps I’ll dive into some healthier, more appetizing meals now that I have you guys to impress as well.
Nap time is from 1-3 PM, whether or not #1 naps that entire time is another question. Regardless, this kid needs two hours of sleep after he’s been awake for more than five hours, and post-lunch seemed like a good time for sleeping. At least, that’s what I’d prefer.
By 3 PM he’ll be raring to go again and will wake from his sweet baby slumber in search of some toy that was mentioned in passing three days prior, that suddenly he can’t live without. I’m sure you know what I mean.
He’ll get a snack and get prepped to head to the gym with Hubs on the days the gym has childcare (Monday-Thursday). Fridays he’ll have to do any chores he hasn’t already kept up with throughout the week, to make sure he gets his ‘paycheck’ of allowance on Friday night.
I left the Saturday and Sunday pre-dinner slots open because you never know what might happen on the weekends. Usually, it’s grocery shopping. Who am I kidding? It’s always grocery shopping.
Dinner is at 6 PM. I got these meal times ingrained in my head from all the summers and off-seasons teaching at residential camps. Meals were 8 AM, 12 PM, and 6 PM. You ate or you went hungry and raided the kitchen late at night. Same deal goes in this house: 8, noon, 6.
Just like the morning activities, these vary depending on the day.
- Sundays are Facetime with the grandparents. Thanks to technology, #1 can tell them all about the new toys he sweet talked us into buying for him, the status of potty training, his favorite movie quotes from Toy Story, and how five months ago, the giant spiders at Disney World scared him and he had to hide under the seat (The Bug’s Life 4D show, in case you’re unfamiliar), because, you know, that’s still important.
- Mondays I have labeled as Family Home Evening. This is something our church practices and basically gives us time to spend together while learning a little lesson about good values and biblical stories.
- Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are Family Playtime, which means Hubs and I sit in #1’s room and he “shows us around,” as he calls it. It’s actually rather entertaining.
- Wednesdays and Fridays are for screen time. On Wednesdays we usually catch up on whatever is on the DVR and on Fridays we’ll watch a family movie together.
No, I do not bathe my child every day. Does that make me a bad parent? No. #1 gets a bath on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights, or as needed throughout the week. This family schedule is not going to keep me from washing away the germs or remnants of a massive blowout as needed, but it will assure that he’s keeping those ears clean regularly.
Book and Bed
By 9 PM I am aiming to have our munchkin snuggled in his bed while Hubs and I read him a book. Chances are that book will have to be read at least twice, if not three times, and Mama will have to keep singing “one more” song, but I’m okay with that, cause he’s just adorable when he asks.
Mama and Hubs’ Version
We’ve got similar schedules as #1, but obviously, we’re not going to bed at 9 PM. The goal is to be in bed by 11:15 PM, 12:45 AM at the latest. Strange times, but that’s based on the Sleep Calculator site I’ve been using. Read more about it here.
The only true differences in our schedule is that nap time and post-#1 bedtime is for working on this site for Mama, and homework for Hubs. At some point, our paths will cross and we’ll hang out, usually in front of the television or whilst playing a rousing game of Words with Friends. We’re parents, what do you expect?
Implementation of the Family Schedule
Now that I’ve detailed the plan, let me share my implementation tactics. I made this pretty little template (available below) – feel free to make yourself a copy.
Then, I went to the Dollar Tree and spent, yes, $1, to purchase a dry erase sleeve. We already had a few dry erase markers at home, and those, paired with a randomly found Command Strip, had this bad boy hanging on our fridge.
I explained to #1 what the family schedule said and how it worked. He spent the first bit just scribbling on the dry erase sleeve. Once that was out of his system, I let him mark off the things we’d already accomplished that day. Now, when he wants to know what we’re doing, he runs to the schedule. And, since he can’t read yet, it helps when I have to make any last minute changes. Come on, you know you’ve fibbed to your kid, too.
Try Your Hand at a Family Schedule
I hope this schedule works for your family. Let me know how it goes in the comments below.
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