The calendar meeting

IMG_3137In any household of more than one person, there will be a lot of moving parts. There are things that have to happen, and then things that you might want to have happen, but need input on from other people.

Everyone in my household is plunging into our “busy” time right now, with spring sports going, end-of-year concerts and the like beginning, and the conference season swinging into full gear. To keep everyone on the same page, my husband and I try to have a calendar meeting every week or two to look at what we have going on and coming up. For various reasons, though, we hadn’t had one of those meetings in a while. Partly it was due to vacation, some of it was due to my husband leaving on Sunday night for Europe a few different weeks (we often do the meeting on Sunday night) and some was my annoyance that I always seem to be the one initiating the meeting. But I guess I am the planner in the family, and things go better when we have the meeting and — this is key — don’t leave it for date night, because then we spend the entire time that is supposed to be romantic discussing household logistics.

Anyway, we finally got our calendars and sat down on Friday night to go through them. That is the sort of fun people we are. It took an hour, and that was more because we lost intensity around early June than that we were actually done. I realize early June might sound quite a ways in the future, but it’s only about 6 weeks, and I have a lot of weekend speaking events coming up, and since we know our 7-year-old’s baseball calendar, I can already see that there are games during the 2-year-old’s nap, when my husband would be on solo parent duty, and I’m trying to give fair warning.

A few good things came out of it. We booked a Friday night in May (sitter arranged!) to go to an outdoor concert with one of my husband’s favorite country music acts. We coordinated a week in May when the two of us will meet up in Washington D.C. for an event. We figured out how we can both be at the elementary school one Thursday morning for a meeting about one kid. More immediately, we discussed the plan for this past weekend. Our 9-year-old had a friend’s birthday party at the Y, and we saw that family swim (with water slides) was right before that, so we made a plan to get everyone there. My husband, while looking at the YMCA pool schedule, saw that swim lessons were starting this weekend. We had totally missed the sign-up, but the 7-year-old and 5-year-old are rusty, so he got the 5-year-old in, and put the 7-year-old on the wait list for a lesson that would be right around the same time. He showed up on Sunday at the Y and got them both in, so now that is done, and while it will make the next 6 weekends even more, um, full, it probably needed to happen. We both got to run both days this weekend, and I even did a 7.25 mile long run  (not that I’m training for anything — though the calendar planning got me thinking about doing a June half marathon).

And when we had our in-home date night (steak, artichokes, and a bottle of good wine) on Saturday night? There weren’t too many logistical discussions. Some, but not too many. That’s the goal of the calendar meeting: closing open loops, so logistics don’t crowd everything else out.

How does your family stay on the same page?

Photo: Flowers that did bloom this spring (unlike the magnolias…)

12 thoughts on “The calendar meeting

  1. We use the Cozi app. The whole family has access to it on their phones–and can out in important dates as soon as they get them. My after school sitter also has access so she can see that if Anne has piano at 4, and neither my husband nor I will be home, she needs to get her there for me. We (but usually me) can also assign who will be at a certain event so we can divvy up who gets who where and when.

      1. I use the cozi app too. it took a while for my husband to get on board but he now loves it too. first i put all family events in the cozi calendar and just printed it out weekly and by month. he got used to seeing it on the fridge and i always kept referring to it. he would email me appts ans th en i would input. of course errors can happen. finally one day he just said i should upload it myself. i helped him download the app and he now uses it as much as i do.

  2. Now that my husband and I work together, we do a big planning session almost every Monday morning. First we go through the family week and include meal planning and schedule juggling and then the work week. On occasion, we will roughly plan a few weeks or months out (for either family or work) depending on the season. Lent and Easter are a very busy time for us personally so we sat down at the beginning of that season and made a list of priorities for the next 40 days and then still did the weekly meeting for the details. Last week, we hit the 60 day mark until we take the family to Ireland for the summer. We’ll still be working there, but there are things that need to be tied up here first, so did the same thing- priorities first, then details.

  3. We used to do exactly what you and hubby do when we were in the season of life. Our boys are now 20, 18 and 18 so mostly we just look at the calendar on Sunday nights for the week ahead.

  4. Ahh, the fun logistics meetings of busy parents everywhere. My husband gets a glazed over look whenever we start discussing who needs to be where and when. I too am the planner, and also get frustrated that he shows so little initiative for keeping our families schedule in check but alas, it is what it is. My husband has a rotating work schedule, so I have all his days off written down three months in advance or so, so that forms the basis of when events and appointments get planned. I pretty much just set reminders on my calendar app on my phone, but if anyone has a better suggestion, that would be great.

    1. @Monica- we’ve gotten better about putting all school days off and half days on the calendar well ahead of time. The random ones become a good option for getting some one-on-one time with the bigger kids, if we plan ahead to have them clear. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with just using the calendar app. Simple is good. I just use a paper calendar – it can’t get more low tech than that.

  5. We used to do this as a family. I used to call myself a professional juggler. Hubby worked shifts and I worked around his shifts to minimise our need for paid childcare for our 3 children. Every week was different. I took early retiral in December but hubby still works shifts and we are now raising our 13 year old grandson. Our “meetings” are a lot shorter but now we have to include my elderly parents appointments.

  6. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what app, calendar tool or planner I use, if I don’t have the ‘weekly planning meeting’ with myself, it’s not going to work. I’ve been a little slack lately, so thanks for the reminder (so much nicer if it’s a regular thing, with a glass of wine, rather than on the fly). We don’t have kids yet, but my husband can’t even cope with meal planning in advance, so I’m not looking forward to the amount of nagging I’ll need to do to keep the wheels on with kid activities!

  7. My husband and two teenagers have a weekly Sunday night family meeting where we go over the schedule for the week. I also write the schedule (color-coded) on the 7-day whiteboard hung in the kitchen. We end the meeting with “honorings” in which we each share at least one thing we appreciate about the other.

  8. We have a diary that is week to a page and sits in a recipe holder in the kitchen – I have taught my kids to enter stuff too – the motto is that if its not in the diary, its not happening – it has made them responsible for their activities. We go over it at tea on Sunday nights to work out logistics . We also use a app on phones for the 2 kids that have left home.

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