I know many people find the end of the year a busy time in the lead up to Christmas and the end of the year festivities, but for our family in this stage of our life, I think February and the first six weeks or so of the new school year is a more challenging time of the year.
I love February though – it is summer, the year is still new so has the feeling of fresh starts and after having a break in January I am feeling well rested. But a lot happens in February:
- School transitions – some years more than others this brings with it more settling in for the kids. This year is a relatively simple one for us as we have University, Year 10, Year 8, Year 5 and Year 3. All pretty standard years with the exception of university and the 18 year old is self managing this.
- School meetings – we the four kids across three schools. Each school runs start of year general information nights and some also run parent teacher interviews.
- Welcome social functions – the schools all also have a great social environment and have start of year social functions where you can get to catch up with parents you already know and meet new parents
- After school activities kick back in – after six or so weeks without the running around of after school activities and weekend sport, it can take a little adjusting fitting it back in to family life. Preseason trainings also have started meaning we have a little more to do until the end of the term.
This year a key habit I have chosen is to invest time into the school communities, taking on roles to in each to do this. This has meant that as school has started and I have had all of the above going on, I have also kicked off these roles.
The first two months of these roles are the biggest in terms of time commitment. It is in these months that we do the ground work to set us up for the remainder of the year. In February there were many meetings and there are a number planned for March as well.
I felt in February the amount of time I was spending on school involvement was too much and started to get a little worried about having over committed myself. But when I took a calm reflective approach, I realised it is the start up phase and I need to ride out this peak. It will settle down and I need to manage my other commitments for the next month to make sure that my involvement in other activities outside of the family doesn’t spread me to thin.
It is easy to say yes to things that I normally would and keep trying to do it all while the school stuff is having a peak, but I know this will have an overall negative impact on my patience and energy levels. So I have said no to a number of social events that I would usually have said yes to and I will be very conscious about anything extra I take on in March.
And to me this is where having a single goal really shines. My goal is my decision filter and I keep reflecting back to what I want to achieve this year and make sure I am allocating time in the right places so it will actually happen.
|Habit||Connection to goal||February progress|
|To make three phone calls a week to family and friends||I am terrible at making phone calls. For friends and family that are not near me, this is a great way to stay connected and I have to change my attitude towards making calls.|
The best way to change my attitude is to act, so I am going to set a target of three phone calls to make each week.
I also think there will be a natural flow on effect from making phone calls to seeing people in person more too.
|This is still not coming naturally to me. This month I am going to try scheduling the calls in my calendar for the week and see how that goes.|
|To be an active participant in a parent body at each of the three schools||Over the last couple of years, my focus has been more inward and I haven't been as heavily involved in the kids' schools as I used to be. |
This has left me feeling less connected, so by stepping up my involvement I hope to increase my feeling of connection.
|As noted above, my school involvement for last month and for the next month is pretty high. After this is should ease off a little and be more manageable.|
|To volunteer my time (min 3 hours a month) to a local organisation||I find great joy in giving to others. My life is full and we have everything we need, many others are not so lucky. |
I want to find a local organisation where I can give my time to help others in need.
|This is something very important to me, however I know January is time for family and February is full of back to school stuff. My aim is to kick this habit off in March.|
|Host a family or friend catch up once a month at our home||I find welcoming friend and family into our home a great way to connect. I did more of it in the last quarter of the year and enjoyed it.|
Once a month does not sound that much, but combined with the other habits I am trying to establish, I am wary of overloading myself.
Hopefully I can do more, but I don't want to undo my last couple of years work on slowing down by establishing a habit that I end up finding causes too much work.
|If I am honest I really took a soft option this month and just had a couple of friends over for morning tea. My intent with this habit was to be a little bigger than that, so I don't think I achieved it in February.|