If you’re not feeling Schedule Stress right now, I bet you know someone who is feeling it hard. Schedule stress is exactly what it sounds like – there is so much on your schedule that it causes extra stress. We’re not talking about just having a lot to do, I mean specifically that your schedule is so full that you can’t always even figure out how to make it work. Like, all of your kids have different places they need to be at the same time. Sometimes you even have somewhere you need to be at the same time as all your kids and your husband. Sometimes you literally can’t do it without help. It’s stressful. And it’s pretty typical for the month of May.
Last week in order for both Matt and me to be there to watch Izzy’s final middle school tennis match, I needed BOTH of my parents to take my other kids to different things in entirely different directions. For most of my married life, we didn’t have grandparents close by to help out. It has definitely made things easier this school year, but as the mom, I still carry the mental weight of the schedule stress even when I have an army of people helping carry it out. (Like, I’m the one behind the scenes coordinating everything and keeping the trains running. And that’s okay.)
I’m not sharing this to complain. I’m sharing this, because after all these years of mothering through the month of May, I’ve figured out a few things that may help you navigate the schedule stress you’re experiencing.
Write everything down. Diagram out the busy days! Today is one of these days for me. It’s not the craziest Saturday we’ve had this year, but it certainly helped to plot it out and clearly see. If you’re a visual person too, give this a try! We ended up crossing two things off that were just going to be too hard to make. And that’s okay!!! (And if you’re wondering, I’m writing this during “dad + kid time” … and since Mother’s Day is tomorrow, you can guess what they’re doing right now without me. 😂)
Be prepared ahead of time as much as possible. Assume things will go wrong last minute. Never, I repeat never, wait to do something you can get done right away. This one tip alone will reduce so much stress. For instance, wash those soccer or baseball uniforms immediately. That way they’re always ready for the next game. Teacher’s appreciation at school and you need to bring in a little theme gift every day, probably for multiple teachers? Prepare all the gifts at once, as soon as possible!
Don’t give in to the urge to let everything go. Push back the other way on bedtimes especially. It’s so tempting to give into relaxing the bedtime towards the end of the school year. Sometimes it feels easier to just avoid putting the littles to bed for a little while longer… but buck up and do it anyway. Chances are these little ones are being dragged around with your crazy schedule and they need more sleep to get through it all without losing their minds. Push back the other way and put kids to bed earlier than normal. Yes, earlier! Do it whenever possible, because it’s not going to be possible every night during the month of May. This will give you extra time to prepare ahead for what’s coming or sleep a little more yourself.
Sometimes you can not do it all, and that’s okay. Stop feeling guilty for things out of your control. If I had any one wish for fellow moms, it would be to stop feeling guilt for the things you can not control. Guilt is sometimes healthy: like feeling guilty for losing our temper. Healthy guilt reminds us to do better and usually goes away when we’ve apologized or made things right. Unhealthy guilt is useless and stupid.
- All your kids have activities at the same time and you have to pick one to attend? Not your fault. Guilt is useless. Try to remember and pick a different kid next time.
- Something out of your control comes up last minute and you need to cancel plans with a friend? Guilt is useless here.
- Finding it impossible to please everyone? Yeah, stop trying and definitely stop feeling guilt about it!
During this time of crazy schedule stress, things are going to come up nonstop. Last minute changes are part of this crazy month. I’ve attended more than 3 soccer games this week that got jammed into the schedule last minute because of rainouts on previous weeks. I’m not going to feel guilty because I can’t control the weather! You shouldn’t either.
Practice healthy communication with your husband, kids, friends, other family. Toss aside the uselessly stupid guilt about your schedule!
This is your life. You get to pick what’s in it. If the stress is just too much, simplify things down until you can tolerate it, or better yet, feel joy in it.
I get that this month is the culmination of lots of things that have spread out through the year, so even if you keep your life simple, this month could still be surprisingly hard. In this case, follow the other steps above and give yourself grace to do it all imperfectly.