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Tips for the PA / diary management role ? Unpaid internship anyone?

(11 Posts)
LongStory Sat 28-May-11 15:47:17

Hi folks, I am wondering if anyone could share a few tips with me.

My 3rd child has now started doing activities and all 3 they attend a primary school which likes to 'take advantage of opportunities' - i.e. they're always going on extra trips requiring extra drop-offs/pick-ups. Lately it seems that I am spending a huge amount of time arranging and doing the logistics around these 'planned' activities and play dates (which I think are essential). Other parents are great and we share etc to save on petrol/time, but still the organisational effort is huge. Is it just me who gets super-stressed on the day when you get letters in from school, brownies, beavers and swimming with lots of extra payments, dates, 'non-standard' arrangements etc.. OK I'm a bit lazy, but I work three long days a week and also have 2yo twins, and try to get some necessary time by myself or with friends.

I don't really want to cut back on much (they really enjoy the things they do), but will have to do soon (DS1 going to high school, twins will also be getting more active...) unless I can get a bit more organised about this. At what age might I hope they start to sort things out themselves and use public transport?

The things I have found that worked are keeping a stack of birthday cards and giving other children cash for birthdays. And my DD9 has a mobile phone and uses it quite carefully to organise herself. Facebook 'friendships' with other school mums also makes communication easier. Also a 'kitchen calendar' matrix on the wall with a box for everyone every day, and writing dates down in it as soon as they turn up. Am looking for other tips....

Have playfully wondered about advertising for an unpaid PA/intern to do the family organisation role.

2madboys Sat 28-May-11 16:11:13

I only have two children but I have a plastic folder with sections for months in it. I put all school/activity letters in it and go through the current month each Sunday night when I do my weekly planner (big magnetic thing from Organised Mum). Also use Google calendars on mine and DH phones so that we both know what's going on. Lift share with other parents where possible so we only have to do one journey, etc.

LongStory Sat 28-May-11 18:08:58

Thanks 2madboys. A big weekly planner sounds good - I've looked at the organised mum website - things are great but limited if there are more than 5 of you...

slipperandpjsmum Sat 28-May-11 18:15:31

Is there anyone in the family that can lend a hand? I have 4 and work ft. My MIL keeps a calender to and does some of the club runs which is a great help. She takes complete responsibility for the clubs she takes them to so it lessens what I have to keep in my tiny mind!!

PSeaGull Sat 28-May-11 19:33:41

DH and I use Calengoo. iPhone app that automatically syncs with eachother. We have our own calendars and a joint that display in different colours on our phones. So if something isn't relevant for him to see I put it in my personal one so his doesn't get filled with superfluous stuff. Was a real paper / organisation freak but this has changed my / our lives.

LongStory Sat 28-May-11 20:32:28

ah ... Slippers & SeaGull, thank you for your suggestions - yes I do have a lot of help (really would sink otherwise) but in some ways that just makes it harder as everything comes through me and I have to communicate to nanny, wonderful grandparents and DH plus children and other parents sharing runs etc. But maybe I could ask DH to lead on some activities, and grandparents on others, I think that might help. I wish I could afford 3 iphones!

verybusyspider Tue 31-May-11 10:36:30

I'd love to have the technology to sort this one out - I'm currently experimenting with google calendars but dh doesn't seem to be using his... having a calendar at home is ok but then you have to transfer from that to each of our diaries and we have no good way of keeping track of paper - so far we only have one in school and I work 4 days but I can see how its going to get harder when others start school and more clubs

I'm going to check out organised mum... will be watching for any low tech (cheap) solutions to this!

slipperandpjsmum Tue 31-May-11 20:48:49

Sometimes being the one who has to think about everything thats going on is the hardest part. Similar to I'll cook tonight but can you tell me what we are having and can you pick the stuff up on the way home!

As you say you do have support so delegate! I couldn't keep track of everything if I didn't do it. Those that take them take on the whole responsibility of the club and know that they do. My MIL loves looking for clubs and activities and making all the arrangements for the days she looks after the children (and so do I)!!

givemeaclue Thu 09-Jun-11 17:05:18

could you get the nanny to do it?

buttonmoon78 Thu 09-Jun-11 21:44:16

I have three nearly four and it gets hectic here. I try to only think a day at a time as otherwise I get scared about what has to happen that week!

It doesn't help that dh works away during the week, I have no family close by so it all devolves onto me.

Still, I wouldn't change things!

OverflowingMum Sun 19-Jun-11 22:32:16

hello all! I dont get chance to pop on here very often but just stumbled across this thread (bit late!) and had to post because it so sums up how I'm feeling right now! I have 6 DC aged 13,11,9,6,5,and 3. The older ones are all quite busy with activities etc....5 of them are at school, and I work 4 days/week. We have NO family nearby , and no friends really in a position to help out! Friday is my day off paid work, and this week I spent at least a couple of hours organising dates on the claendar, filling in forms for school trips, writing checks for cub camps, (co-ordinating bank bakance accordingly!), making a note of required costumes for drana shows,finalising arrangements for dd2 bday party,arranging presents for 3 bday parties this wk/end,making a note of up coming inset days to book annual leave from work etc,etc, etc... and no matter how hard I try there will still be something I forget!!
I think slippersandpjmum has it spot on when she says " sometimes being the one that has to think about everything thats going on is the hardest part" I have tried to explain that to DH so often but it is like adiffernt world LOL (he is very good BTW, but the thinking is what wears me down!)
I would LOVE a free PA....LOL grin

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