I’ve been in some pretty stressful situations in my life, but I wasn’t prepared for this…
We’ll be moving to Hawaii soon, and given the high cost of living, my wife began looking for a job transfer out there. Surprisingly, within a month of applying, she was interviewed and accepted for a position near where we’d be living. Needless to say, things began moving lightning fast. She’d move with my youngest son, I’d be managing a single parent household with my other 2 kids and doing a few other little things in preparation for our departure.
A little background: I’m in the military, completed both the enlisted and officer training, deployed to war zones, work in a job where the stress levels can go through the roof in an instant.
Not trying to sound like the next America Ninja Warrior or anything, but simply that I’m no stranger to stress, fatigue or uncomfortable situations. I normally tend to put out some of my best work under these circumstances.
However, the last 30 days have tested my mental and physical stamina.
Those little things that need to be done:
- Listing and selling our home (drywall repair, painting, cleaning from top to bottom for photo prep)
- Listing and selling our car
- Getting pets up to date on vaccinations for Hawaii quarantine requirements
- Attend son’s Boy Scout meetings and Jiu Jitsu classes
- Daughter’s violin lessons
- Working within time constraints of before and after-school childcare
- Doing normal military work duties (work, meetings, briefs, formations)
- Prepping breakfast, lunches and dinners for 3
- Arranging and movement of our household goods and vehicle
- Help with homework for both kids
- Finding out what we need to sell/donate around the house
- Dealing with a pre-teen daughter and whining six year old son…daily
I mean, it was tough enough keeping up with that schedule when my wife was here, how the hell was I supposed to get it done when she leaves? I felt like I was drowning the first two weeks.
Changes needed to be made. After putting my kids to bed one evening, I sat down at the kitchen table with a pen and notepad and began scribbling lists of ideas. Being a spatial and kinesthetic learner, these are my best methods to form ideas and results. I took a look at everything from a tactical/productivity standpoint. What do I need to switch around to get max results with least effort?
The next day I sat down with the kids, explaining that changes need to be made and how we’ll move forward in a way that makes life easier for all. Better planning means less stress, less rushing last minute in the morning and a good, calm vibe in the house.
Of course, attention spans ran out quickly, but I tried to “Barney-style” the process:
- 12 year-old will have to take a few more daily responsibilities when she gets home from school. Washing the dishes, setting the table, vacuuming, walking the dog, preparing her own lunch for the next day.
- 6 year old didn’t have such an extensive list. He works off a reward system, which amounts to 30 minutes of xbox, tv or ipad after all homework and chores are done. It was mainly putting his clothes away, making his bed, sit at the table for homework, helping set the table.
- All meals will be prepped the day prior
- Laundry gets done Sunday and Wednesday
- Homework will be finished within 2 hours of getting home (some exception for projects)
- No more than 30 minutes of tv or games (only after all chores/hw done)
- Lights out by 9:30pm, wake up by 5:45am (I’m awake by 4:30am anyway, kids hate that I’m a morning person)
This was a huge lesson in productivity and effective planning for me.
You see, having my wife around and sharing parenting duties was great. When she left, I definitely felt the pressure. Things are going smoother now, we’ve since found a buyer for our home, sold the second vehicle, donating a ton of stuff to Goodwill and counting down the days until we’re living the aloha life, like my boy here:
Got any tips on productive parenting? Comment below and share!