Thursday, June 20, 2013

Free Printable Planner for Disorganized Moms Like The Spaz

I started this blog back in 2007 and one of the most pervasive themes in it is that I have needed to get my crap together. Forever.

Before I had kids I was not nearly this disorganized. Or perhaps, it just didn't matter quite as much. Before kids it's easy to swing by the seat of your pants. You can pick up and go at a moments notice, no big deal. And stuff! Before kids I had so much less stuff. I could pack all of my belongings in a 1995 Mitsubishi Mirage and still have room for someone to sit comfortably in the passenger seat.

Those days are long gone, but my organizational skills have not improved.  Nowadays I'm juggling a very messy house, a t-shirt business, another t-shirt business, a brand new sign business, three busy kids, all their various activities, a loving - and demanding - partner, and the seemingly impossible task of feeding them all.

As the kids get older, the necessity of being organized gets more and more pressing, but unfortunately, my skills do not get better. I've purchased planner after planner, attempted to use Google calendar and Outlook and whatever new and improved app I might be able to put on my phone. But alas, I am no more organized.

The other day I was perusing some blogs and found this free printable planner for bloggers. Now, this wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but it really sparked my brain to rethink the typical planner. The way planners are divided into weeks or days and not both on the same page, the way life is divided into several different categories that are all important and need to be thought of simultaneously. It gave me the push to come up with a system that I think might just work for me.

I used the monthly calendar from Beckie's aforementioned planner on Infarrantly Creative but changed the planner section up a bit. I didn't need the blogging stats stuff and I wanted my planning sections to be more defined to keep me on track. Since I have four basic areas of my life that I'm always juggling, those four areas are on the left side of my planner page. Home, Work, Family, and Self. In these boxes, I will list my goals for the week and any notes pertaining to those goals.

Then on the right, I have an area to write my To Do list for the day and a small area at the bottom to write what I'm planning to do for dinner for that day. My favorite part of the To Do list is that there are seven of them stapled to each weekly planner page. So I never turn the page and forget what my weekly goals are, I just make my To Do list for the day and then when the day is up, I tear it off and forget about it, while never losing sight of what those weekly goals are.

This was one of the biggest issues I've always had with every other organizational system. Either it was organized by week and I never had enough space or a decent enough template to deal with the way my life really worked, or it was organized by day and once that day was over I lost focus on what still needed to be accomplished. Make sense?

I printed up a bunch of these, sliced my little To Do lists with a paper cutter, stapled them on to my weekly planner pages, three hole punched them all, and stuck them in one of those standard pocket and prong folders you're forced to buy in bulk every August before school starts. I'm fairly sure those pockets are going to go to good use as well.

And just because I'm a super nice girl, I thought I'd go ahead and let you download and print it up as well. Maybe you can use it? Maybe you can't. Maybe it will spark your brain to create a planner that suits your life even better!

For each week, you'll need one "planner" page and three "to do" pages, each having two lists on the page. Just trim the edges on those To Do lists and staple them into the spot on the planner page making seven To Do lists per week (including the one that's already on the planner page). That's right, SEVEN, because life doesn't stop on Saturday and Sunday.


Planner Page - PDF
To Do Lists - PDF

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Better late than never - here's a post for my Bug

I failed so miserably at that last attempt to blog about my kids. I didn't even make it through three kids. Damn.

I did start on Bug's post. I started and stopped, started and stopped. Because Bug is more of a challenge to me. Bug is so different than the other two. Munchkin and Goober are ready to take on the world, head first, while Bug is reserved and cautious. Munchkin and Goober have little fear of failure while Bug would rather stay safe in his comfort zone than possibly fail at something.

Bug has always needed more nudging than the other two and he is quick to quit things if the going gets tough. And that's partially my fault.

I've heard people say that your first child is your practice child and as much as I hate to admit it, it's really true. I have grown up with Bug. We've learned so much together. When Bug started playing flag football at 6 years old I let him quit. It was such a nasty, wet, humid, stormy, muddy, dirty summer and neither of us wanted to go to practices. Bug would cry that it was so hot and I couldn't help but agree with him. So I let him quit.

Then when he was in cub scouts we found ourselves in a pack that was sadly more concerned with the politics among the parents and den leaders than about the kids. Bug wasn't having any fun and I didn't want to deal with the ridiculousness, so we quit. We could have found a different pack and tried again, but instead we just quit.

I haven't often forced Bug to stick with things and that hasn't helped him much.  I have made many mistakes with him.

Bug is my genius. His brain is amazing. The way he thinks is so different than my other children. He understands principles of physics - things that make my own brain hurt - and he gets it. He has theories and invents things and wonders how things work.

But Bug can't be bothered with all those other subjects our society deems to be important - like English and Social Studies. Trying to get his brilliant brain to focus on something so tedious as grammar and the capital of Peru has been our biggest struggle. So much that I got a call from his Language Arts teacher about a week before school was ending to let me know that Bug would not be passing her class.

Sadly, on the Monday after school was out and most kids were going to the beach or sports camp or vacation, I was driving Bug to school to start summer school.

I don't know if any of you ever had to take summer school. I did. I had to repeat Algebra II before my senior year of high school. My Algebra II class was held in a classroom at another high school and taught by a teacher. For 6 hours every day we learned Algebra and took tests. It took a full two weeks, Monday through Friday, to complete one semester, or four weeks if you were unfortunate enough to have to repeat the whole year. We were allowed to miss one day per semester in case of illness.

Things have changed. For Language Arts they put Bug in front of a computer and he had to go through all the lessons on his own. He had 8 days, from 8:30 to 3:30 to complete it at his own pace.

At 2:30 on day 2 (TWO) I got a call from the front office at the middle school letting me know I could come pick Bug up because he had passed Language Arts with an A.

I don't even know where to go with that. Is he a super genius or is summer school a joke? Either way, he's on to 8th grade in August.

Bug's struggles with the public school system is really fodder for a whole other post, or book. It is with Bug that I have realized that the school system, while great for most kids, really doesn't work for certain types of children. My Bug is one of them.

I'm trying to correct my mistakes with Bug. Recently I encouraged him to get back into Boy Scouts and so far he really enjoys it. My own qualms with Boy Scouting needed to be put aside for the betterment of my child, (I'm sure you can guess what my own issues might be) and I'm pretty sure I've made the right decision. It's great to see him find some success and some good friends and feel like a member of a group that encourages him. His new scout leaders are great people and his fellow boy scouts all seem to be great young men that are going places and proud to be themselves.

We'll get him through school. My brain is flooded with the possibilities for him. He is exceptional.