If you’re a parent, you have a lot on your plate now. Period.
If you’re a mom in a home right now, the psychological responsibility of managing all the scheduling and curveballs and decision making typically falls on you.
Traditional gender roles have men handling the outside of the home and women managing anything inside the home: schedule management, and community relationships.
TRADITIONALLY, while men go out in the world and make money while taking care of the yard and the vehicles, women TRADITIONALLY handle food, hearth, home, birthdays, daily schedule, getting children where they need to be, hosting events, earning supplemental income, and generating the “Honey Do” list for all the things that fall in their husband’s territory of maintenance or using tools in his domain.
I put TRADITIONALLY in all caps because the world is changing. Gens Y & Z actively push against these stereotypes, along with a notable portion of Gen X-ers, and that’s fine. What’s important to note here is — regardless of who in your home is over family scheduling — there job is getting SIGNIFICANTLY more difficult.
There world is shifting in an unpredictable way right now. Routine is gone — and not by the choice of those involved. Government and businesses are making decisions with massive trickle-down effect.
Yet they must be managed in order for things not to fall through the cracks, and there are two sustainable paths forward to help you get (and keep) your life in order:
Option 1: AR (Augmented Reality)
AR is the direction the market wants you to go. It wants you to go this direction so much — and are so convinced that this is the future — that companies like Amazon are on congressional record as taking losses to underbid competitors to get Alexa into your home over a competitor’s.
AIs like Alexa and Siri are evolving to be the personal assistants so many wish they’d always had, and I think they are a great fit for a specific type of person:
Notice I did not assume your gender there. Only your role.
If you are the person in your home who focuses on bringing in income and is the “Honey Do”-er, then AR might be a great fit for you because your job is not to think about the list, just check everything off it.
Alexa, Siri, or the AI of your choice can help you aggregate everything your partner needs you to do in with your schedule and get it all done.
Option 2: LARGE, ERASABLE ANALOG CALENDAR
Now let’s talk about:
Feminine roles have the juggling side of this game. You’re the one who needs to buy all the right things at the store, manage the calendar of who needs to be where (and when), remember all the birthdays, synchronize everyone’s schedule, manage extracurriculars, register for everything on time, keep in touch with the vibe in the neighborhood, and so on and so on and so on.
This role of psychological responsibility within a partnership or family generates a lot of anxiety when things grow uncertain. (And I think we cal ALL agree that things are presently VERY uncertain at the moment.)
Perhaps, you think an AI assistant would help you manage all this psychological responsibility better, but I’ll submit to you that an AI is the opposite of the answer you need if you are juggling 10 balls in the air right now and starting to miss a few catches.
You need an old-school wall calendar right now. And NOT a small one.
You need a LARGE wall calendar that shows you AT LEAST 2 months at a time.
So buying two erasable vinyl calendars like this might do the trick.
The goal with getting two so large is:
- You can write in a readable size
- You can erase, when needed
- You have a place to write things that need to be added later
- You can see what you need to see at a glance while passing by
- You can see into the next month
- You have a column to list things more than 2 months out for later updates
When you’re the person in the family juggling balls that are shifting daily, the LAST THING YOU NEED is for your balls to be flying around in an invisible AI cloud and only having forgotten items reappear when it’s time for you to catch them.
That is anxiety-inducing, and chances are you already have more than your fair share of anxiety going on.
You don’t need more.
An analog calendar like this helps you keep what you need in sight, while keeping you free to make adjustments on the fly when you need to.
To accomplish this, there is one more aspect you need to take into consideration:
After observing many calendars at work in many homes, I have a suggestion on optimal placement. You may, of course, put your calendar anywhere that works for you, but the most organized homes I see tend to put it about the same spot, so that is where I’ll recommend you give it a try.
Do NOT put it in a public space where it becomes a conversation piece for visitors. It goes best in a space you pass frequently and guests do not. (This includes the entry, if you can avoid it).
DO put your calendar in a walking area between your living space and your vehicle.
This is often an area everyone walks past quickly, especially if you have a garage, but it’s a place the mental juggler passes frequently as they do all the things that make juggling look easy.
Passing this spot frequently means they can:
- Double-check their schedule to make sure they’re not missing anything
- Adjust something that has changed since the last time they looked
- Visually confirm they are on track (which reduces anxiety)
The happiest, most-functioning homes do this and it seems to work very well.
So, if you’re in a place where your stress is high and important things are falling through the cracks in this crazy world, I make this suggestion to you:
- LARGE, erasable wall calendar
- Stack 2 months on top of each other
- Locate your calendars on the way out the door (not in a living space of the home)
- Put it someplace you will see it frequently but guests will not
- Glance at it each time to verify you’re on track
- Decrease anxiety while knowing you’re not missing a thing
Doing this will lead you to stressing less, remembering more, and handling more efficiently.