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512px-White_Wall_ClockIt’s that time of year, again, when my family must make serious schedule adjustments. Our local farmers markets open the first weekend in May. I have 3-1/2 weeks to blend (like a mad woman), package, and get everything (read: everyone) ready. The first month is always a challenge. Getting up when the owls are still hooting isn’t my favorite thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love owls — just not at 4:15 a.m. on a Saturday. After several years of this, you’d think I’d be used to it. Not true.

My husband will take the lead role: primary care-giver. I’ll leave before anyone is awake, return in the afternoon, and fall asleep by around 6 p.m.  Then, on Sunday, I’ll wake up and do it all again — a little later — more like 5:00 a.m. (That’s actually not so bad.) Yep, the first month is tough. Our children, accustomed to mom’s rules and ways of the world, have to learn dad’s rules — which are a little different. Not bad, just different, and not in areas that truly matter (bedtime, bathing, etc.).

I’ve written about this before: I don’t want to know everything they do in my absence. That might make me crazy. Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. I’m okay with that.

Here are 5 tips for those of you experiencing “the changing of the guard”:

  1. Communicate the change, with the children, several weeks ahead. Not everyday. Here and there, make sure they know what’s coming.
  2. Stock the pantry with healthful snack options. Trust me, this will make you feel better. It’ll also help your partner.
  3. Ensure that there are “easy meals” ready to go if your spouse isn’t a cook. (Mac-n-cheese, ravioli, spaghetti … you get the idea.)
  4. You’re not in charge when the guard changes. Allow your partner to take the lead.
  5. A wall calendar is your friend! Color code appointments based on each family member. This is a great tool any time, and especially when your partner needs to take the reins. A quick glance let’s everyone know who has to attend a birthday party or some other appointment. It reduces frustration and conflict.

Do you have other tips? Share them in the comments!

Kori is a blogger at Kori Miller Writes and Back Porch Writer. She hosts a radio show on Blog Talk Radio, each Tuesday, at 9:30 a.m. CST.