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Nikki Lamberg shares mom-tested tips for keeping our calendars under control as the busy fall season approaches.

I love the “back-to-school” time of the year. It represents a fresh start, new beginnings, and new goals. I love walking down the school supply aisles at the store, albeit not with all four kids at once! But there is something to be said about buying a fresh supply of pens, sticky notes, highlighters, and whiteout tape.  

Quite possibly one of my favorite new items to purchase is a paper calendar. I’ll admit to being the mom who loves to write things down and cross them off. And with a family of six, our calendar also requires some color-coding to keep track of it all. 

Back-to-school also means new schedules for school, sports and other extracurriculars. It means signing up ahead of time during those lazy summer days for future volunteer days at school, PTA meetings, and carpooling. It all sounds great and exciting, until the time comes to actually complete these tasks. 

If we aren’t careful, we can become inundated with a calendar full of “stuff” we don’t want to do, and obligations we don’t want to keep. How do we keep this from happening and make sure our sanity doesn’t leave the same time summer does? 




When deciding on what to sign up for, we must be mindful of our family dynamics, our personal and logistical capacity to accomplish it all, and what is reasonable and what is not. Perhaps you are a mom who loves to volunteer. That’s great! I do too. But I know with four kids and a full-time job, signing up to be the lunch recess supervisor likely isn’t going to be my best choice. It isn’t fair to set that expectation for myself, and it isn’t fair to the school to commit when I know I can’t be consistent with that commitment. If there aren’t one-time only options on the list of volunteer opportunities, or if I’m not sure what my work schedule will be at that point in time, I ask the teacher to let me know as these opportunities arise. 

I also try to focus on areas where perhaps I could volunteer for activities that more than one child of mine might be involved in. For example, our children’s school goes to a pumpkin patch every fall. It is a combination of 4 of the younger grades and requires a lot of parents to help. I love this one because it gives me an opportunity to volunteer at a place we love, while hanging out with my kids and their friends. I also get some great mom-time in! It’s a win-win-win for all. 




In addition to volunteering, there are the extra-curricular activities the kids want to do. While I want them to have an opportunity to try them all, that’s just not realistic as the kids get older and more of them start to get involved in things. Thinking about the entire family, we need to decide what extracurriculars are priority, and where everything else falls into place. How will these work with my husband's and my work schedules, and how will we be able to get the kids to and from practices? Sometimes this takes a little creativity, and sometimes it involves some picnic dinners in between activities, but we all work together to make it happen.  


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Mom-tested tips for keeping the family's fall schedule from taking over your life. #CatholicMom


And last, but likely more important than the volunteering and extracurriculars themselves, I would advise to schedule in some specific family time in your datebook, instead of leaving those days to chance and happenstance. Schedule these occasions into your calendar, just like you would sports practices and volunteering. Because if you don’t, I am here to tell you, they will not happen. 

 So here are my takeaways:  

  • Be mindful of everyone’s schedules and requests.
  • Schedule family time just like everything else. 
  • It’s ok to say no! Instead, say yes to the things that are most important to you.  

Good luck! And may your fall season be as exciting, fresh, and stress-free as your summer was. 



Copyright 2023 Nikki Lamberg
Images: Canva