This fall we have two in our family going to school (or back to school actually). First my eldest daughter is starting her very first school year and going to a co-op Preschool. She is super excited and has been telling people she’s going to preschool since February. Second, my husband is going back to school for his masters (he already has a PhD in another discipline). I will admit it’s a bit odd (when I really think about it), my child is going to school while my husband is going back to school. But then again all except the last 9 months of our married lives (7 years at the end of this month!) he’s been in school, so we’re also very used to it. The commute to get to his new school on the other hand will be interesting, along with did I mention I’m going to be working as close to full time as possible? Yes, I give you permission to call us crazy. 🙂
What I’ve been thinking the most about this new chapter of our lives is “Is there anything I can do to make it easier?” We anticipate our finances to be super tight (time to revamp the budget and really stick to it). We expect our schedules to be off the chart busy (better make sure we plan some family time and weekly date nights) and a bit all over the place. And we expect to be doing a lot of “extras”, extra work, extra studying, extra household chores during what used to be our “down time” (after the girls went to bed). I think the biggest challenge is going to be trying to keep a good perspective on this short (likely 2 years) period of our lives, so we don’t burn out, while also being realistic about what we can and cannot do (beyond the necessities).
So, me being The Mom and planner extraordinare (at least in this family), this is what I plan to do:
- Cleaning schedule. Our family has flirted with this idea. We even went as far as setting one up. But when someone else (other than the person who set it up) is responsible for 80% of the cleaning, it doesn’t really get followed much. But this fall, I will be at least 50% involved, so time to revive the house cleaning schedule
- Calendaring and schedules. For the last 3 months, my husband and I have been spending a couple minutes on Sunday night going over the next week or two’s schedule along with planning out our meals. This has been such a good thing for us. We start the week on the same page and there aren’t any surprises about what each person has to do. We’ll continue this, but we’ll have to really stick to only 2 calendars (one on google for me with handy e-mail reminders for upcoming events and one on our written calendar – that my husband mainly uses and also where we have our meals planned).
- Get back in the fold when it comes to meal planning. I’m going to start helping out with meals again; planning, buying, prepping and making. Hopefully this meals a little less starch and a little more vegetables! 🙂
- Revamp the family budget with the extra school tuitions and the cut in pay (from working less).
- Stop eating out, period. As a family we don’t eat out much, but occasionally we find ourselves tempted by going out and give in (because of poor planning or we’re out for the day). But if we plan a little more ahead and we make sure we aren’t out during meal times, then we could save a bit even on our very occasional eating out.
- Stay away from places like Target unless the trip is necessary and then stick to the list of “need to buy”s. It always seems like certain stores we (*cough* I) visit seem to suck a few more dollars out of the wallet than was intended. (Can anyone say “Dollar Spot”?)
- Guard that date night like it’s life or death. The worse thing that could happen during this busy time is for my husband and I to grow apart. It would then trickle down to every part of our lives and our family. So we need to guard that night and how much we burn ourselves out during the week so that we can still enjoy that time together.
- Think about the dreams and goals we have for our girls and our family for this next year. I’ll have some one-on-one time with my younger daughter while her sister is at school, so what will I do with her during this time? How do I want to make the time I have with my kids special and formative for them?
- Stay plugged in with a small group. With our changing schedule, it’s likely we won’t be able to continue in the same small group we’re currently in. This could easily lead to” just dropping it for now” and not picking up anything in it’s place. So instead, maybe we’ll co-host or co-lead one in our home… with a potluck before hand (dinner for the night, check; not have to go anywhere for small group, check; fellowship, check). That idea is still in the works.
- Develop good habits. Ok, this one I’ve already started. I won’t say I have the best discipline in starting something new. So that’s why I started these way back, to give me time to make a new habit. These habits include:
- Going to sleep on time (so far, I’m 50-50 on this one)
- Daily bible reading (95% on this one)
- Daily journaling (total fail on this one, will need to jump start this one again)
- Exercise (5% on this one, need a new plan to try)
- Eating healthy – fruits, vegetables, fiber, less cheese (love my cheese!), salads (50% on this one, hopefully will change with me in the food buying-prepping cycle)
So that’s my starting list of things I’ve been thinking of and plan to do. Now my plans need to move to “In Progress” and hopefully I’ll be a little more ready for the fall (which for us starts in about 2 weeks). 🙂