Written by Jeanette Morris
During football season, I basically run the household alone. My coach leaves early in the morning and returns around 8 pm. This means I am responsible for everything that happens during those daytime hours with the kids. My number one tip for handling everything as stress-free as possible? Be organized!
It can be easy to let things go or do them at the last minute because you are working solo and have no time. However, it will save your sanity if you take the time to organize and prepare before the start of a hectic week.
Creating Weekday Schedules for Kids
When our kids were younger and all playing sports during football season, I had to be very organized to get them to practice and games on time with all their sports equipment, uniforms, water bottles, and snacks (soooo. many. snacks.). This led to me looking at our family schedules every Sunday evening to avoid forgetting a sport or activity!
Sunday Schedule Planning
Going through the family calendar on Sundays and planning what is happening next week took away a lot of the last-minute stress. Here are some of my favorite ways to prepare for a productive and happy upcoming week:
- List out the groceries and supplies needed for the week ahead. This includes all the snacks, water bottles, and sporting equipment you can’t forget. Also, double-check that you’re not in charge of snacks that week! There’s nothing worse than remembering an hour before practice and frantically running around.
- Get all the laundry done needed for the week ahead. Take into account any sporting uniforms, school clothes, play clothes, and nighttime pajamas.
- Check all homework folders and sign anything needed for school. We all know kids are prone to springing on random papers at the last minute! Double-check that no bigger tests or projects are due that upcoming week. I’d recommend asking this question to your kids every single Sunday.
- Prep anything that can be done ahead of time, including breakfast, school lunches, weekday dinners, daily outfits, etc. A bit of front-end organizing saves a lot of time during the week!
- Write down where your kids need to be for practice, when it starts, and how long it lasts. Usually, my kids were at different locations with different start and end times (the joys of being a parent!). I would drive around dropping and picking up kids for 4 to 5 hours every weeknight during football season because my coach was busy coaching his team. As he helped me pick up some of the kids after their practices ended, I would send him a text daily telling him which practice to go to and who to pick up. Never underestimate the power of good communication!
I would go over the calendar on Sundays with my coach and show him what he needed to be at or how he could help me pick up kids when he finished practice. Throughout the week, I would send him reminders of different tasks or events.. This allowed us to stay on the same page and show a united front for our family. It also helped make us a great team! He tried to attend every practice he could and was at all their games, if possible.
Reminder: Be direct with your coach because he has a lot of things on his mind. If you want him to be somewhere, you need to tell him the details and how important it is to you and the kids!
Coordinating Your Saturday
My four kids would have four games on Saturdays at four different locations! This is where extreme planning comes in handy! Here’s how to handle multiple children’s schedules and activities without losing your mind and patience.
- Map out how you will get to each kid’s game and how to get from game to game. You’re never too old to print out Google Maps :)
- Set timers on your phone to remind you where you need to be and when.
- If you have timing conflicts, find trustworthy friends on teams of your oldest children and ask them to help you. I like to stay with the younger kids.
- Involve your coach as much as possible. Inform him of the schedule for the day, but keep your expectations low as he works through the weekend.
List Making and Planning
To-do lists are your friend but don’t overwhelm yourself with them! I always put the 2-3 most important tasks at the top of my list and try to get them done throughout the day. The rest of the tasks I accomplish on the to-do list is a bonus. Remember to be flexible and patient because having kids means things can change at the last minute (sickness, weather conditions, etc.).
Reminder: Lower your expectations for getting things done, and remember your kids are just kids! They will give you attitude and misbehave sometimes. Make sure to give them and yourself a bit of grace, flexibility, and patience.
The more organized my home is, the more peaceful my kids and coach feel. Which, in turn, makes me feel calmer. Taking the time to have a family calendar with everything on it alleviates potential stress and last-minute planning.
Lastly, be realistic about your commitments during football season! This is not the time to sign up for anything extra or volunteer to help. Be realistic when your coach is super busy during the season. It’s ok to say “no” to all the extra things being asked of you, like team mom, room mom, PTA, etc. There’s a time and a place to take on additional responsibilities, and you can do this in the future. Don’t overbook your calendar - it will only stress you out!
You may always feel like you don’t have the time to get organized, but you don’t have the time NOT to be organized! Learn to make time for things that will make your life easier throughout the week by planning ahead of time, priorities the most important events, and following a schedule.
Jeanette Morris has been a coach’s wife for 24 years at 6 different high schools. She had 4 kids in 5 years and was a stay-at-home mom for 17 years. She has taught and coached high school and is currently on staff with FCA.