Thursday, 16 October 2014

Am I really that disorganised?

I used to pride myself on being pretty organised when it came to the kids.

Not to the point where I'm arranging their clothes in matching colours, or booking playdates a couple of months ahead or signing up for things like schools several years in advance. No, that's just scary.

But I write things in a diary, I've never yet forgotten a meeting/playdate/appointment, and I'm generally not late for things.

Recently, standards have been beginning to slip though. Since September I've doubled my working hours, and balls are getting dropped left, right and centre.

Two boys at the same school was fine in America - they had their own personalised backpacks in different colours, wore different clothes and didn't have to take much, other than their homework and lunch.

Now, they have identical backpacks, identical games bags, similar looking music cases and both have violins. Their scehedule, with each playing two instruments at school, is so complicated that I have a chalkboard in the kitchen on which I've written what each boy needs to bring each day.

And still I get it wrong.

Over the past fortnight I have packed piano music instead of violin music, sent Littleboy 2 to school with his brother's games bag, and failed to pack a snack on numerous occasions. I even set myself a reminder to pack a special themed snack for Littleboy 2 (which I'd bought and put in the fridge, but knew I'd forget) but failed to hear the bleeping go off on my phone as we left the house.

I've also on several occasions put the wrong homework in the wrong bag -- potentially a more serious crime as Littleboy 1 can now get into trouble for not bringing it on the right day. As I result I've emphasized to the kids that they now must check their own backpacks before school in case I've got something wrong.

Iota blogged this week about people who let their kids come out of school and simply dump all their belongings on their long-suffering parents. I know I've been guilty of this before. But I feel duty-bound to try and sort out the family kit in the mornings, not trusting the boys to do it all themself.

I'd feel awful if one of them got into trouble for me not signing their homework book or leaving their football boots behind. But at what age can I let it go -- and let them take the rap?


Anonymous said...

When a child in my class says "my mum forgot....." I always gently remind them that the kit, book, violin etc belongs to them and so they can help remember! Don't feel guilty, just put a list on the back of the front door and train the boys to know what they need.

Iota said...

My kids's school has a policy to say that it's their responsibility to check what's in their bags, even if their mum has packed it. I think that's a good way forward. Sounds like you are already operating this policy. I think it's a good idea to build in an extra 5 mins in the morning (or just 2 or 3) for them to check their school bags to make sure that everything is there.

Iota said...

kids's... oops

Was Living Down Under said...

We try to do this at night before bed. We don't have nearly all the things you have to pack but the children know what is to go into their bags and it's their responsibility to make sure it's in there. They also need to make sure I sign the agenda (I have to say we've been terrible at that this year - now that I have two to sign). Also we have a family Google calendar and I write it in the calendar in the kitchen - so library books and signed forms don't get forgotten.

Regarding the fact that all their stuff looks the same - couldn't you get lables in different colours for each of the boys? That way you'd know whose is whose?

MsCaroline said...

I don't know what ages the LBs are, but if they are older than about 7, it's not too soon for them to start taking on some of the responsibility themselves, maybe starting with the instrument (and I agree, maybe 2 different colored tags or labels to prevent mixups - like luggage?). If they are anything like my boys were, they will take their responsibility to remember that One Thing very seriously, and will never let you forget it, so you might as well take advantage of it while you can! Sit down with them on Sunday evening and go through the week's schedule with them. I always used a Mom's calendar with big boxes (the kind that come with stickers) but you could easily get one of those small reusable whiteboard calendars for each boy and use colored magnets (or a marked symbol, to save writing) to place on each day, so at a glance they can tell that the football or musical note on a certain box means they have to have the equipment for that day. As a teacher, I always made a point out of packing everything the night before and staging it by the door- for myself and the kids - except for lunches and drinks, obviously. If you start the night before checking the calendar and make 2 piles before they go to bed, it's just a matter of getting up, dressing, and picking up the pre-piled stuff (plus lunch or snack.) I also use post-it notes and checklists - even now, when I am only responsible for myself and not much else except the dog and an occasional errand! A post-it on the steering wheel of the car - or on the bathroom mirror - can be a huge help. Don't beat yourself up - you're trying to organize 3 people, and it's not easy!!!

About Last Weekend said...

I've seen one kid actually throw her bag at her mother and not even be admonished.
I do worry about my kids not having to tidy up or be organised as we all do that for them. We have a mudroom and everyone just throws their effluvia in there and we shut the door
We have cleaners three days a week and the kids pretty much don't have to clean or tidy - though I make them do it once a week - so they will probably be little piggies when they leave home.

Muddling Along said...

We've had this problem this year - an extra child plus another one at school has increased the number of variables exponentially (reminds me must sort PE kits out)

In our case it isn't helped by school not being terribly upfront about what reception children should be doing when but heck doesn't it make you feel like a naughty child when you get it wrong