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A common statement my partner Holly and I hear is, “I don’t know how you do everything you do with four kids.” We had four kids in five years so I don’t really know any different. What I do know is, it’s not easy. We simply have to make it work so we do.
Life for us can get very stressful very quickly. If we let things go, what would normally be a challenge to solve, can become a problem that needs to be fixed. Communication is key and taking care of the basics is essential. We’ve learned along the way what works for us and what doesn’t.
There are certain times of the year when both of us are busy most afternoons and for huge portions of the weekend. We rely heavily on our family. Luckily for us we live close to an extended family. Without them, we either wouldn’t be able to do what we do or we’d have to hire help.
We’ve created a living that enables us to revolve our work around our family. As our children have grown older, our priorities have changed and we’ve been lucky enough to change our working week accordingly. We spend heaps of time together as a family unit doing activities that we all enjoy. Without an organised and structured lifestyle we wouldn’t be able to make it work.
Hacks We Use to Manage our Family
The key to managing anything is communication. The better the communication, the better the result. Holly and I talk about our schedules as often as possible. Some things are non negotiable, which requires the other person to be flexible, while other things are negotiable and we add them to our schedule if it suits the family.
- Map out the schedule
We have a whiteboard on the wall in our dining room, which is an area of the house with the most traffic. The whiteboard is divided into a table of two weeks with columns for every day of the week and rows for morning, afternoon, evening and night. This is great for a quick glance at what the other person is doing.
NB. In my ideal world we’d be using an electronic calendar but that doesn’t work for the both of us at the moment. This system suits us for now.
- Plan ahead
We’re very lucky to have both of our families close by and willing to us help look after our kids. I’d like to think we are just as reliable for them. We’re not always good at giving early notification. Our parents would call us out on that if I was to claim we were. But we don’t do too bad. We aim to provide as much notification for them as we can. There are times though when things come up last minute and other times when our communication is just poor.
- Allow for unforeseen circumstances
If there is one certainty in life, it’s that life is uncertain. Things always come up and even the best made plans can be futile. When unforeseen circumstances appear, we both make the conscious decision to move on from negative feelings to finding a solution as quickly as possible. This makes life a lot easier and enjoyable for everyone involved.
Good communication is an essential hack for any family. Communication goes beyond what you say. Keeping a schedule is a good way to communicate your plans and movements. Plan ahead and don’t sweat unforeseen circumstances.
What hacks do you use to manage your family?
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