The Official Keeper Of The Schedule

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I have been a writer with Chattanooga Moms for the last five years, and I think the most remarkable thing is how my perspective has changed as my kids have gotten older. In the beginning, I wrote about being a new mom and being in the thick of things with that, and all the challenges we faced as well as all the special things about that time. Somehow, slowly, without me even taking note of the change, I have moved into the next phase of motherhood. My kids are 10, 9 and 7. Everyone can get themselves dressed and can get in the car with all their things, and they can even make their own ramen noodles in a pinch.

My role has shifted from boo boo kisser and tear wiper, diaper changer and monster slayer, hand holder and rocker to sleep to my new role: the Official Keeper of the Schedule. It isn’t a glamorous job and it isn’t very fun. It involves making sure the correct uniforms are washed for the correct sports and in the correct drawer to be found on the correct day. It involves an extremely detailed Google Calendar that looks like some sort of computer motherboard from a distance. I find myself needing to use said calendar to also make daily to-do lists on paper because the digital version isn’t quite detailed enough.

I swore that after everything shut down and life slowed down to a screeching halt — and we got a minute to breathe and not be so busy, busy, busy — that I would not return to this fast paced kid schedule. That I would take things slow and not feel the compulsion to fill every empty moment in my life with things to do. All the things.

Somehow, it is just inevitable for us with three kids that we are one hundred percent back to the grind.

In all of this, my husband and I have shifted to become the Official Keepers of the Schedule (and I do realize how fortunate I am that this is very much a shared responsibility in our house). We are the people who make sure the uniforms are clean, that the school project due dates are met, the homework is turned in, the reading is done, that each kid is meeting the goals that they need to meet in school. That if they aren’t on track, we are making the appointment for tutoring. If they are sick, it is up to us to make the doctor’s appointments and figure out what is wrong and hope everyone else doesn’t get sick too.

On top of this, the Official Keeper of the Schedule job includes making it to sports practices and games on time for three different kids in three different places. It also involves making sure birthday presents are wrapped for parties, that tooth fairy money is deposited under pillows in the wee hours of the morning, that costumes for theme days are ordered on Amazon in time to arrive, and to dress the right child in the right costume on the right day.

 

In addition to keeping track of big events, we must also make sure that each child has a water bottle in the morning, that the dogs are fed, that we leave the house in a raincoat on a rainy day and that each backpack has the clothes for practice after school, the project that is due, the homework assignment completed and in the folder and that the cans for the can drive and the permission slip for the field trip are in their bags with a check for the right amount.

All this may sound a little silly, but these little things add up to a big pile of things floating around in my head on a daily and nightly and middle of the night basis. The most disappointing part of it is that it is very much a thankless job, and the only time anyone really notices is when you forget something, or you show up late, or you miss the party, or don’t have the clean uniform ready for the game.

No one is cheering you on from the sidelines saying, “Yay, your kids wore the green shirt on St. Patty’s Day! Nailed it!!” or “Whoa, a wrapped birthday present and you showed up with the right kid to the right party, on time?? Crushing it!!” or how about, “Is that a clean uniform I smell with the matching color baseball socks? You are on fire today!”

The consolation to me is that even though I’m no longer the kisser of boo boos or the hand holder, I get to watch my kids’ eyes light up and look straight to me in the stands when they score a goal or hit the baseball or win a race. I get to have the conversations on the way to school and still get to know their secrets (at least for now). I get the tears and heartache with hard things and knowing they still want me to hug them tight when they’ve had a bad day.

I get to be the person who gives them the best advice I know to give and also have real conversations about how I am human too and make mistakes and do embarrassing things and lose my temper and fail at things too. It has been one of the most rewarding things to let my kids see all the things that make me a real person and that I feel a lot of the same big feelings that they do.

I get to know even if the whole schedule gig doesn’t work out, the really important stuff is in the in-between and in the times that don’t go perfectly. The love and all the big stuff is there no matter what. I try to remind myself that although the Official Keeper of the Schedule is an important job, it isn’t everything. It is ok to sit back and breathe and just enjoy your kids and maybe just skip something every once in a while, or Febreeze a dirty uniform and not feel bad about it. I try to show myself a little grace, and I hope that other parents know the pressure and stress of all this and understand we are all trying very hard and sometimes we just show up late, or forget the assignment, or miss the party.

So I guess I want to send a message from one Official Keeper of the Schedule to another: if you feel like no one notices or that other parents aren’t struggling with all of this, or that your kids maybe don’t have a full appreciation for what a job this is, other parents definitely do.

What you’re doing is important, but it’s ok to not do it all perfectly. When you feel like you can’t keep up, just know your kids still think you are amazing and it’s ok to not be everywhere at everything every time. You are crushing it! You’re on fire! You nailed it!

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