I’m really struggling to help Eliza get into a good weekday routine.
E gets home at about 3:30 PM and the goal is to have her in bed by 8:00 PM. That’s four and a half hours to eat a snack, do homework (usually with Jonas pestering her), do chores (feeding the cats + emptying the dishwasher), study English and French spelling words, practice soccer, play, read by herself, eat dinner, take a shower, and have me read to her for at least 20 minutes. That’s not enough time, and I’m sure you’re not surprised that all of those things can’t fit into a day (practicing soccer–going outside even–is rarely happening and more often than not it’s too far past bedtime to read to her when she’s ready for bed).
Falling into a good routine is hard, but I’m sure it’s just beginning of the year growing pains. Even so, it’s no fun. There’s been a lot of forgetting her journal de classe (homework folder / agenda) at school and school work is not coming as easily to her this year. I’m know E is feeling frazzled. I’m feeling it, too.
I’ve found that she does better when Jake or I can do most of these things with her or can supervise closely, but that’s not always possible. With baby Ava here until after 5:00 most days and Jonas running amuck and work things to work out on my brain, I feel fragmented. Also, that whole fixing dinner thing. It’s easy when Jake gets home early and we can tag team, but that hasn’t been happening lately.
I know Eliza’s schoolwork and overall happiness are suffering because we’re trying to pack too much stuff in, and I’m having trouble figuring out a system that gets us through the “need to do” stuff smoothly so there’s more “want to do” stuff. I’m going to try timing things better: have her do her spelling studying while I’m cooking dinner, for instance, so that I can talk her through it while my hands are busy. I think the solution will be in multitasking in the right places and focusing fully in the right places. We’ve just got to work on trial and error a bit to find out exactly what those right places are.
If I’m being honest, these past few weeks have made me cautious. Eliza would love to add in more extracurriculars on top of soccer and Jake and I would love to have more kids, but I feel like we’ve got to get what we have down first, if that makes sense. I’m a little worried about what an evening of multiple kids needing homework help and driving around to some sort of weekday practice would look like. At the same time, I’m working on reminding myself to be thankful for those four and a half hours. Because of working hours or extracurriculars, a lot of families have to figure out how to do all that in two hours.
All in all, this is a hard stage in which to be a parent and to be a kid.
If you have kids, how to you make your school vs. family vs. extras work? What do your weekdays look like? If you don’t, how did your family make it work when you were a kid?