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Overwhelmed by a hectic schedule?

Tips from busy moms on how to balance it all

As all busy moms know, our schedules have the ability to drive us insane! With a never- ending line up of sporting events, appointments and more, keeping a family balanced can sometimes seem next to impossible.

Luckily, veteran moms have discovered a few tricks along the way to help tame the madness when your schedule is overflowing!

Keep yourself organized
Incorporating tools to help organize your tasks and events is an excellent place to start getting ahold of your schedule.

"We use many tools to stay organized," says Rebecca Lang, a working Saugerties mom of three. "I have a shared digital calendar that my husband and I both use. I also have a wall calendar that I use."

Lori Traver, a High Falls mom who is all too familiar with a jam-packed agenda, agrees and suggests, "Have a visible schedule. I had a dry erase calendar on my kitchen wall so that everyone knew what was going on. Don't forget to keep it updated."

While some of us live off our calendars, others find it hard to get into the habit.

"I tried the calendar on my phone and it didn't work so well," says Claudia Ramos, a Hopewell Junction mom of three who works full time. "My Notes app is awesome and I use it all the time to keep lists of groceries, things to do, appointments, or little reminders, like 'You got this girl!' I also pay bills and buy most of my things online to save time."

Make meal time a breeze
Planning meals ahead can be a lifesaving tool throughout a hectic week.

"The best thing I could've done for myself is make a weekly dinner menu," says Traver. "I shop for the week with just the items I need and I don't have to think about what to make that night. I save time and money because I am less inclined to buy something I don't really need and I'm not frantically trying to figure out what to make."

Lang seconds the convenience of weekly meal planning, and says it is one of the best resources for moms seeking structure in their week.

"I make tons of lists, meal plan for weeks at a time and stock my freezer with meals," says Lang.

READ MORE: See how meal prepping can work for you

Reach out for help
No matter how hard we try to be Wonder Woman, sometimes a helping hand is all it takes to keep a healthy balance.

Lang says, "It really does take a village and I am blessed to have that."

"My parents and my sister are truly a blessing for me," says Ramos when recalling her most significant supports. "They are there for me whenever I need them."

When it comes to seeking advice on how to survive a busy week as a mom, remember the experts are other moms!

"Don't be afraid to ask for help from other parents," says Traver. "We're all in the same boat so parents can be the best source of help to each other."

De-stress the kids
Believe it or not, your kids are just as likely to get stressed about their busy schedules as you are.

"I try to limit the amount of activities that they are involved in," says Lang. "Everyone has some extra activity, but we are choosy. If something isn't working for us, we stop."

When your kids are young, the constant flow from one thing to the next can be stressful on it's own, especially when the activities are appointments and errands. But that doesn't mean you can't incorporate fun activities to keep them interested!

"We have a thing with them on Fridays," says Ramos, describing her techniques to entertain her toddler daughters. "We go to Starbucks and I get them their favorite cake pops! That's the best thing on my calendar every week."

READ MORE: Help your child choose an after school activity

Make time for your spouse

Do you feel like all you do with your spouse these days is balance children and schedules?
"It's difficult with a family," says Traver. "Sometimes your spouse gets put on the back burner. Sometimes he doesn't even make it onto the stove! That's not fair to either partner."  

So how do other moms do it?

"We try to have at least a few nights a week where we connect and spend time together," says Lang. "We also occasionally get out on a date night thanks to helpful family members."

And if you do find yourself kid free for a moment, take advantage!

"When both my sons went to overnight camp through scouting, my husband and I had a full week to ourselves," says Traver. "It was like when we were first married."

Maintain flexibility
Overbooking in fear of missing out is a common pitfall moms fall into when they feel they just can't say no.

"I try not to leave anything off the schedule because each person's activities are important to them," says Traver. "If a no is needed, I have no problem uttering that word."

When you fall victim to a tight schedule, sometimes plans get missed, shortened or nixed completely. Traver encourages moms to be flexible and patient while establishing a rhythm.

"It's okay if you can't do everything," says Traver. "It's also okay if the kids are given fast food, baseball field food or cereal for dinner. They're getting fed, they're socializing and they're being physical."

Leave some room where spontaneity can rule the day!

"Our weekends are mostly spontaneous," says Ramos. "I like to check on my friends and family, see what they're doing, and always try to go to a kid-friendly place!"

READ MORE: Health benefits of "me time"

Enjoy “me time”

Although scheduling time for yourself may seem impossible, moms require self-care.

"I allow myself a break," says Lang. "If I want to plop on the coach one night instead of cleaning, I will. I've also recently joined a women's soccer league which has been a great stress reducer."

Making time for yourself does not always have to be difficult suggests Traver, who often utilizes the downtime she gets while her kids are at sports practice or music lessons.

"I'd catch up on paperwork, go for a walk or catch some much needed z's," says Traver. "Sometimes it just became me time."

Michelle Peterson is a freelance writer living in Poughkeepsie with her spouse and two sons.