How We Manage When We're Both In Busy Season

Posted on Fri 02/28/14 in Working Parents

It’s hard when we’re both in busy season together. But we’ll make it work, we always do.

This upcoming week is terrifying to me, and the anxiety is creeping in.

Each day’s stressors will come piling up, and then we’ll be at the end of the week so fast, and it won’t even feel like we had any time with our 5-year-old at all. Juggling, and balancing our lives around busy season, is the trickiest part of all. And I bet it’s the same for many of you. This is a skill I’m recently practicing hard to improve. I have a successful future in this industry, so it’s a skill I want to improve.

The reason this week is so daunting – is that it will be next to impossible to work the kind of hours I think I need to work – which usually feels like it brings more stress than just working crazy hours does! (My theory is that working crazy hours may bring self-inflicted stress, but there’s at least an element of personal control. The opposite side of the equation brings with it a different variation of stress – stress that gnaws at you from the inside-out as you panic about not having enough time.)
This upcoming week, I’m not going to be able to work as many hours as I’d like in order to feel comfortable with my output, however I’ve been practicing a response for the trigger of panic. (Panic that stems for me from a wishful thinking that I could have more control). The response is to remember that when there’s a sense of panic creeping in there’s probably an opportunity for me to practice a different kind of control in my life. The kind of control where you own your life, manage your household, and are able to practice (yes, practice) making time for the important things. Because the important things don’t always have due dates.

With both DF and I working in our busy season’s right now, life can get tough.

DF works from home this week all 5 days from 11:30 – 10:00, but The Boy typically has preschool from 9-noon, with both before and after-care. So they’ll have their typical morning half hour show together from 8-8:30 before dropping him off at pre-school, but there will be 5 days where DF will not see his son except for that sleepy am half-hour. There isn’t an opportunity for any “dad-time” built into the week since Dad will be working well-past The Boy’s bedtime EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! It’s crazy, and it’s stressing me out, but since DF’s in busy season too, there’s nothing we can do to change the hours he’s assigned. With his hours being pushed back so late in the evening like this, it definitely puts a kink in our usual routine.

With so little quality time able to come from his dad this week, it’s important that I make sure I’m 100% PRESENT during my time with the boy this week. That’s why I can’t stress out and waste precious moments worrying about the hours I can’t work anyway. It’s much better that I use this as an opportunity to practice having a different kind of control in my life – the kind of control where I own my life, I manage our household, and I make sure I’m present. It’s important that The Boy feel surrounded, and not excluded. In ways, work does have to come before him, so we can have a home and a safe place to play and rest, but he doesn’t need to ever FEEL that. It’s rough when you feel that inkling little feeling that your parents don’t have time for you, that your parents always have to work.

These are the reasons it’s important.

To make this week work, here’s what I’m going to need to do.

Here’s my pre-planning. Sunday is the day for it to happen, and I’m going to involve The Boy in every way possible, while we work hard to prep for the week. It’s always a great sense of connection and a behavior modification tool when you feel like you are a contributing member.

We need to meal plan

2 weeks at a minimum (March 15th is a very busy deadline for CPAs) but 4 weeks would be better. The 30 day meal plan we did last time worked out great and gave us a ton of flexibility during February. I’m going to use the exact same process for March.

With meal planning comes meal prep

There are 10 red and orange bell peppers I bought on sale last week that need sliced & put into a freezer bag for easy access when cooking, as well as 6 blocks of cheese to be grated & frozen.

We’ve gotten off-track with breakfast (probably from eating the same things all the time), so I think I’ll post a list of breakfast ideas on the fridge for DF.

The boy can bag rolled oatmeal into sandwich baggies to help me, carrots & grapes and I’ll even let him raid the pantry for something else small enough to fit in sandwich baggies, so he can choose his own snacks while still helping me out.

Together, we’ll prep a big batch of chicken salad. Chicken salad will make for a nice change of pace for lunches this week, and it’s something we can prep on Sunday that will last through Wednesday.

Determine the weekend chores

Laundry and dishes are the weekend chores in this house, so in order for the week to go smooth, these will need to be done Sunday too. Keep the list short, memorable, and repeatable every weekend.

Last but not least

In the evening Sunday, after boy-o settles in with daddy to play after his work shift is over, I will sit down and draft a short list
and pick the 5 most important home-life balancing things that need done this week.

Thinking ahead into the week regarding what outside things may need done, is a phenomenal practice to fall into that really puts a new spin on combating dreaded anxiety that would otherwise creep in during the week when I realized I forgot something.

I don’t get very much time in the evenings during busy season (I’m not sure I’ll get more than a half-hour each night this week, seeing as I’ll be busy with the boy right up until bedtime) but it’s still important that I “pick 5”.

Do you have a busy schedule and a best coping technique that others may benefit from if you were to share it?

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