Slow Down, Superwoman!
by Marsha Hubler
SUPERWOMAN’S “DAILY JOURNAL”: Today? A disaster. Overslept; late getting kids up and dressed for school (Chloe had a melt-down; would NOT wear her brand-new sweater); kids gobbled down pop tarts for breakfast; no time to brew my “needed” coffee; couldn’t find Brian’s history book; kids missed the bus; drove them to school; made a quick run to the store; rushed home…called the dentist for an app’t for Lydia; forgot to give Poochie his pheno—he had a 30-second seizure. Early lunch: While I made Bradley’s sandwich (he is tall enough now to reach the counter top), he pulled off the roast thawing out (Poochie had an expensive feast); picked up Mary Lou at school at 12:30 for her doctor’s app’t at 1:00; were late; home at 2; threw a cake together for tomorrow evening’s church social; icing didn’t mix right, so…no homemade icing; have to buy some first thing in the morning. After school: I took Brian to soccer practice; cooked supper—no roast (grilled hot dogs); ate a quick supper and did the dishes; hubby worked overtime, so I picked up Brian from practice at six. Evening: homework with the kids; did three loads of laundry; bathtime and bed for the kids while hubby came in, gobbled down his hot dogs, and flopped in his chair; kissed hubby good night when he headed to bed; 11:00 PM – tried to stay awake for devotions…. zzzzzzzz.
Sound familiar? If you’re in this phase of life, you might identify with Superwoman’s dilemma. If you’re in the empty-nest years, can you recall when twenty-four hours weren’t enough in each day? Or when everything went wrong that could? Even if you’re approaching retirement years, your daily schedule might still overwhelm you, often with “little” things that can mess up your perfect plan for the day.
I remember those days when hubby and I had 12 foster kids over a 12-year stint, and I served as principal of a Christian school, yearbook advisor, and volleyball coach (also tried to write on the side). Without a plan to be organized and to incorporate time-saving ideas, we had nothing but chaos, experiencing one schedule crisis after another.
So, how can superwomen avoid such days of “disaster”?
Often, we can avoid bad days by analyzing what went wrong and looking for time-saving ideas that will take the edge off “panic.”
Many of the following ideas are not new nor brilliant. You could already be using some of them. However, making a concerted effort to incorporate a few more just might make the day run smoother for anyone struggling with daily life.
Have children help with chores. Toddlers can put toys away. Older kids can learn to cook, help clean the house, and do laundry. Besides, as adults, most kids will have to “run” their own homes someday. Help them get ready!
The night before, have the children lay out their school clothes, get books, lunch money, lunch boxes together, and place their arranged backpacks in the same spot near the door for the next morning.
When the children come home, have them place backpacks in that same spot by the door so they know where their school stuff is at all times.
Limit the children’s TV and electronic game time. Minutes can turn to hours, and before you say, “Boo,” it’s 9 PM, and the homework’s not done.
If you have any TV time at all for yourself, do “little jobs” (e.g. throw a load of laundry in the washer during commercial breaks).
Meal Time—a BIG time waster!
Set the timer on your coffee pot to turn on automatically every morning.
Use a crockpot to prepare the next evening’s meal. Even frozen meat will be done if the meal is started the night before and cooked the proper length of time.
Take one day to plan the next week’s menu, then bake or stir-fry several casseroles for the coming week all on that one day. (This is still a real time-saver for me.)
Bake casseroles/cakes/etc. in inexpensive disposable aluminum pans. When in a real time pinch, eat on paper plates so dishwashing is greatly reduced.
If possible, plan to run your errands all in one trip. Taking Johnny to soccer practice? On the way home, pick up that icing you need for the cake and fill the gas tank.
On hectic days, every minute is precious. This next suggestion might sound silly, but it does save time: Make all right turns. If most of your stops are on a business strip, precious time can be wasted while waiting to cut across traffic or waiting at stop lights to turn left. Yes, you eventually must turn left to head home, but one turn is better than five or six.
Remembering Appointments/ Special Dates
Most smart phones have calendars and “reminders” you can set when entering all appointments and special dates.
What if your phone is off or out-of-range at the wrong time, and you miss an important reminder (e.g. “Bake cake for church social on the 25”). I had a notorious habit of writing notes (on “real” paper) but then losing them. Now I write important dates on stick-up notes and post them chronologically on the wall behind my stove. When stir-frying that tuna casserole, I take more than one look at that “calendar of upcoming events.”
The kids have school or club projects? Start planning and gathering materials early. There’s no way a three-foot board display of ocean life can be pulled together in one evening.
Trash or recycle junk mail immediately. If you let it pile up and throw it all away after a few days, there might be an unseen bill hiding in there!
Incorporating many of these ideas into your schedule just might earn you the well-earned title of “Superwoman!”
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