1. Shelley Byrne

    I have a few things that work for me, and it’s come down to communicating organization plans and sharing the load, something I’ve had to learn a bit.

    I have downloaded the Cozi family organizer on mine and Paul’s phones. We used to occasionally BOTH pick up that gallon of milk we were needing, etc. Now I have literally been in the parking lot of the grocery, pulled up the list and seen it as Paul has marked it off from having bought it.

    Also, when I do my major grocery shopping, I now use another function of Cozi to note which meals I now have all the ingredients for. When I plan dinner for the night, I can go on my phone and see exactly what dishes I have all the ingredients for without having to search through the pantry, freezer and fridge. I keep a Christmas list and a to-do list on there, too.

    ALL appointments, Paul’s work schedule and anything that has me going in early or staying late for work also go in Cozi’s calendar function. This way Paul knows exactly what days to ask off for vacation, we don’t forget a Cub Scouts meeting, etc. We both can pull this up on our work computers and from our phones, so it’s never far away.

    We’ve started requiring daily chores of Drew to build responsibility and take a little of the load off of ourselves. Now when he comes in from school the first thing he does is check to see if there is a load of dishes in the dishwasher he needs to put away. He knows not to touch the sharp knives (I’ll take care of those) and that anything that goes where it is too high for him to reach goes on the kitchen table for me to put away. This also gives me planned time with Drew as I’m cooking dinner and he’s emptying the dishwasher that we can talk about our days. That kind of conversation doesn’t always happen around the dinner table, but it seems to naturally take place there.

    Paul makes my work sandwich and lays out Drew’s clothes for him. He’s up the earliest, and he takes care of these chores for me when it is still quiet. These two chores make a BIG difference for me! When I get up and get Drew up I can concentrate on making sure Drew is ready and out the door on time, and I’m not tempted to grab fast food for lunch because something hasn’t gone according to plan and I didn’t take time for myself while I was helping Drew. Paul also brings the mail in when he gets off work and puts it on the coffee table, where I immediately sort it when I get home.

    We have put as many of the bills as we can on auto-pay, and those that aren’t are on a schedule that I stick to on the 1st and 15th of the month, no matter what.

    Weekend meal-planning was a problem, too. It seems I can handle dinner most nights, but handling three meals a day on the weekends was problematic (especially the two Saturdays a month both Paul and I work and with Paul also working two Sundays a month) and nobody wanted the same grab-and-go breakfast options we have during the week. I now pick up some form of doughnuts/pastries and some form of fruit for Saturday mornings. Family members can choose if they want to be on the healthy side or not that day, and I don’t have to cook Saturday breakfasts. It feels like a weekly treat. I also intentionally plan one weekend lunch or dinner to take advantage of the Crock Pot, and I pick a convenience meal for whatever the busiest weeknight is: whether that means hot dogs we can just heat up, frozen lasagna we can throw in the oven, soup/sandwiches, breakfast for dinner or another Crock Pot meal. I also stock frozen pot pies in the fridge at all times. We all eat them, and if I’m delayed at work, everybody’s got something they will eat that has a protein and some vegetables in it, at least. Frozen dinners aren’t always the healthiest, but this limits how often we have them and keeps us from eating out as much while still giving me a break on the crazy nights.

    Also, everybody in our family has “quiet time” on Sunday afternoons for an hour or two at our house. Lights are off. Bedroom doors are closed. TVs are off. If you don’t feel like a nap, you can read, but you must be in bed. Saturdays are often work days or errand days, so intentionally slowing down on Sundays works well for us.

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