Life · Parenting

Executive PA required, immediate start

How do you manage your family’s social calendar?

Photo via Marcolm at freedigitalphotos.net

I don’t know what’s gotten in to me at the moment, but I can’t seem to stay on top of the family’s social calendar. I don’t work as an executive PA in the real world for a reason, I suck at it.

Tell me, what more can I do than have reminders on my phone, plus a calendar on the wall that has a column for each of us?

Lately, even though I know one of the kids has to be somewhere at a certain time, I’ve still managed to mess up. Take for instance my middle daughter’s drama rehearsal last weekend. I knew it was happening. I had the times written clearly on the calendar and whilst we were up in town that day enjoying a lazy Sunday mooching around, I even double checked the email. It said 1-3.30.

So why did I deliver her there at 1.30 and wonder why they had already started? In we sauntered without a care in the world thinking perhaps they’d just jumped straight in to the first number in an effort to be prompt and get on with the practice. It wasn’t until I got home that the penny dropped and I realised what I’d done.

This weekend, same daughter was up in town with my husband when I remembered she had a party at 4pm. It was 3.30 and so she just had time to come home, get changed, write the cards (because of course I wasn’t organised enough to get them done earlier) and go back out again. We made it there on time at least.

And at least we made it at all. I actually forgot to take my son to a party once. It didn’t occur to me until much later in the day, when I had one of those awful realisation moments. Much grovelling and apologising was done, following that blunder.

This keeps happening and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve lost the plot. I need to do something drastic to help me keep on top of the game. If this was an actual paid job I was doing, I would have been sacked by now for sure. They can’t sack me can they?

The children have more of a social life than I do

In my defence, the calendar is chock full, literally. I blame the calendar. It was a bad choice this year and even though we all have space on it, it’s not quite enough and when it’s chock full, like it generally is, you can’t see much more than a jumble of letters and words. This is after I scaled down the activities, in an attempt to free up time during the week. How do people whose children do numerous activities outside school cope?

Perhaps I shouldn’t be admitting this in public. I’m no super mum. There, I said it. I’m trying to manage the lives and social calendars of our family of five and making a regular hash of it. One thing these recent blunders have taught me though is that perhaps I shouldn’t have to manage all this on my own. Perhaps the responsibility of getting everybody to the right place at the right time shouldn’t rest solely on my shoulders. The children are getting older, they should start to learn about being responsible for themselves, developing their own time managements skills, helping me out a little.

Teaching children about responsibility and time management

I can’t do everything for them forever can I? At some point they will have to learn to stand on their own two feet and what better way to start that process than encouraging them to think about how they organise their free time versus doing their homework, remembering they have an after school club that day and perhaps getting out anything they might need in advance. It’s not too much to ask is it?

The children are seven, nine and twelve. Fair enough that the youngest might need a little more help than the others, but you pitch your requests for the age group you’re aiming at don’t you, asking of them what you know is achievable. My eldest is pretty good, in all fairness. She has to be organised now she’s at secondary school, but I swear, if she gives me the ingredients list for her food tech class the day before they are due to do the practical ONE MORE TIME, I will go ballistic.

I have a lot going on in my head and contrary to what the kids might think, it doesn’t just involve them. There are work projects, articles and story ideas and concerns about how I can fit everything in to the day. There are elements of parenting older children that are much easier than dealing with babies and toddlers, but at the same time, the demands are still there, they’re just different. It’s not unusual to have to wait until 9pm to finally sit down to some peace and quiet after dealing with the many demands. I go to bed at 10, so it’s not much downtime really.

The plan is to have a daily schedule up on the fridge that everyone can see. I’m going to encourage them all to look at it and make a note in their own heads about what is going on that’s relevant to them. It will also help me to have each day broken down in to a schedule, as ridiculous as that sounds, given that it’s yet another thing that sets out the order of the day. But hey, if my phone and family calendar isn’t working for me right now, I’m willing to try anything. And given my love of all things stationery, what a wonderful excuse to buy something as pretty as this:

Photo via busyb.co.uk

 

Sharing this for What I’m Writing.

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16 thoughts on “Executive PA required, immediate start

  1. You had me at the title – I’ve often thought I would benefit from a personal assistant 🙂

    My 6-year-old is pretty good and keeping her stuff straight, so that just leaves the husband, the 3-year-old and myself 🙂 And keeping on top of everyone’s schedule is a challenge. We keep a retro wall calendar where we are all encourage to “share” so we know what’s coming. So far it’s just the husband and me, but I think we’ll expand it to the 6-year-old shortly once her penmanship improves enough to fit thoughts in the calendar boxes 🙂

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    1. I put the weekly plan on the fridge door where everyone can see it and I’m encouraging them to think about what they have on in the day. It’s all fine as long as we stay on top of it. As soon as someone slacks, it will all start to unravel again!

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  2. My head spins just thinking about all the admin most people have with multiple kids in school, and all their activities and home work. How on earth is anyone supposed to cope with this? Hope your new plan works out lovely x

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  3. My three are still young enough that only Kitty has a social calendar to rival the Queen’s but I can see us there in a few years time – still, any excuse for more stationery!!

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  4. I couldn’t cope without my slightly ‘cliched’ week to view diary that sits on the kitchen surface, even now I’m reminded I should be transferring dates from a letter from school today arrrrrgh. I think our heads get so full of our work dates etc that there’s less room for other stuff. Good luck with your weekly planner on the fridge (everything seems to slide off our fridge! #rubbish magnets :). #whatimwriting

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  5. It’s so hard to keep on top of the activities of a whole family isn’t it? I have a google calendar that my husband and I keep updated, but I still forget things! I think you’re absolutely right to expect your kids to keep track of things too though – it shouldn’t just be your responsibility. Mine are so used to me forgetting things, they quite often remind me… well, if it’s something fun, anyway! Thanks fro linking to #WhatImWriting

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  6. Oh, I feel your pain. And I want your PA too 🙂 If I don’t write things down, there is absolutely no chance I will remember to do them. (And even then it can be touch and go whether I get it right!)
    I think you hit on the source of the problem when you said “I have a lot going on in my head”. Typical creative person problem.
    Your daily schedule idea is great. Fingers crossed it works.

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  7. I really struggle with all the things that we do as a family, it’s the scrabbling round at the last minute that is a pain. I never used to lose anything, miss appointments or forget to return library books before I had children but that is a distant past now and those thing definitely do happen to me. I’d love a PA😉. Xx

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