It’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”:
- Communicate the change, with the children, several weeks ahead. Not everyday. Here and there, make sure they know what’s coming.
- Stock the pantry with healthful snack options. Trust me, this will make you feel better. It’ll also help your partner.
- 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.)
- You’re not in charge when the guard changes. Allow your partner to take the lead.
- 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!