As life passes by, we somehow take on more responsibilities. If you’re like me, you often think you can’t possibly handle any more. But then something comes along—another child or any other obligation—and just like that, you’re put to the test again. Wouldn’t it be reassuring if you had a baseline rhythm that helped you in these moments? Today I’m sharing my weekly family calendar along with six benefits to the calendar that is sure to help you establish a rhythm in your household, or even get your rhythm back if you’ve experienced big changes lately!
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This post is all about the benefits of a weekly family calendar to establish a rhythm in your home!
Allow me to share my story with you. After each childbirth, our family grew busier, yet my husband and I managed. We had a rhythm that was familiar to all of us. I could transition between kids’ activities smoothly and even keep a few back-ups on hand if circumstances called for it. Cooking happened strategically and traveling was chaotic, but we did it, and everything in between was manageable.
But everything changed when we welcomed our third baby. It felt like we had no rhythm. I couldn’t think quickly on my feet anymore. Transitions between activities – what was that?! Sometimes I spent all day thinking about what meal to make, only to realize the day had passed me by and I still couldn’t come up with anything!
I am a solutions-oriented person and I usually adapt well to change, but this time was different. I couldn’t quite understand it, but I needed something to help me get back into my grove. After all, I needed to show up determined so the rest of the household could show up, period! If I remained flustered and confused, that energy would trickle down to our kids. While I understand giving myself slack during the postpartum period, I started moving well past that and I still didn’t have it together.
I spent a lot of time reflecting on how to proceed. Knowing we had our hands full with family, work, etc., we didn’t need our old rhythm back; we needed a new one.
After thoughtful reflection, I concluded that our rhythm needed to include a visual of what we as a family could expect throughout the week. Then, it dawned on me. At my previous job, the first thing I did when I came into work involved creating a plan for the day. I kept sight of my goals, and I was more likely to accomplish them and sometimes even more.
I realized we needed a weekly family calendar. This is not a minute-by-minute schedule; it is a guide—my rhythm for the week. In this calendar, I write our guided play activities for each child, trying my best to balance the needs of each child, which reduces the mom guilt – yes, that mom guilt! I include our plan for meals, appointments, etc. If we don’t follow it 100%, that’s okay. It’s there if I freeze up so I can still be present with my family and work and be less occupied thinking about meal plans or what activity to do next!
It sounds so basic, right? You might wonder how this could help you. Great question!
Let me tell you the six benefits of my weekly family calendar, which you can download for free in the resource library:
1. Balance children’s needs:
If you have one or more children, you can thoughtfully prepare playtime ideas, crafts, and activities ahead of time. This allows for variety, keeping the kids engaged all day. This also enables you to plan for activities that help children developmentally instead of resorting to screen time. You can even include cleaning up as part of your child’s daily rhythm, and if you want to get some tried and true steps for that, be sure to take a look at Seven Sure Steps that Encourage Toddlers to Clean.
2. No stress about daily meals:
This has been a lifesaver for me. In South Asian families, food is always table talk, and perhaps that’s the case for all cultures. With this calendar, I know what to expect the next day, and believe it or not, seeing the meal plan written on the calendar makes you crave what you have planned! It also allows you to make sure you have all the ingredients when making your grocery runs. It’s a total win.
3. Keep track of religious holidays:
Unlike western holidays, as Muslims, we rely on a phone app or calendar from a local mosque to remind us of upcoming Islamic holidays and events. Inputting the events into the calendar allows you to remember what’s upcoming and prepare for it.
4. Reduced mom guilt:
We all know how real mom guilt is. It’s there in almost everything you do or don’t do. We can’t escape it, but we can reduce it. When you use this calendar, you will find that it clears your mind, allowing you to focus on other areas—no more thinking about what meal to make, what activities to do on the spot, or even missing appointments by accident. We have all had close call moments of forgetting our children’s doctor appointments.
This calendar is your reassurance. When you see the children feel more engaged, and when you think you have it together, you feel good, and you should!
5. Priorities are in check:
We all have our priorities outside of our children. Keeping those priorities in check with the adults in the household makes it easier to achieve tasks. Priorities may change weekly or stay for a while – that’s for you to decide. Sometimes we keep our priorities to ourselves, which may impede us. When priorities are there for everyone to see, you’re more likely to achieve them.
6. Everyone is happier:
You may consider this to be the essential factor. When everyone is content, things feel easier. It’s not just the children that benefit; it’s not just you or your spouse or anyone else. It’s everyone. This weekly calendar benefits everyone. If you’re like me and you don’t need a minute-by-minute planner, you need a guide that helps set your rhythm so you can truly show up, then you’ll be happier for it.
Ever since we implemented this calendar, there has been an energy shift within our home. You can almost feel it, and it was as quick as that calendar went up. Our children were suddenly back on a familiar path, my husband still can’t believe all it took was a calendar, but most of all, it brought ease back in our lives and immensely reduced my mom guilt. We have all been happier because of it.
You may wonder how you could find the time to pre-plan for this calendar in your already busy schedule. Let me assure you it will only take 1/2 hour of your time. I have dedicated every Sunday evening to plan for the week. It’s not practical for me to do this every morning as I did at my past job. What’s most important about this calendar is that you don’t have to be married to it. It’s a guide. It’s not absolute, and it may change. We keep our calendar in a high-traffic area within our home, so it’s always fresh in our minds.
I know firsthand the hard work we put in as moms. The mom guilt is real; the cultural expectations are real; everyone needing you when you’re most vulnerable is real. If you’re healing from any birth or significant life change and you need help getting back into the groove of things, I wholeheartedly recommend starting with this weekly family calendar. It will allow you to let go of daily stressors and focus on other areas of your life. It will help you find your rhythm again.
In the end, surely after hardship comes ease (The Quran, 94:5). <3
I encourage you to give this calendar a try and let me know how it worked for your family!