Categories
Family

How I Keep My Polyam Family On Time

After a year of lockdowns, and an abundance of time on our hands, 2021 has come in deciding to shake it all up. These past 4 months have given us more things to do and take care of than the time to do them in. So how do we manage it? Google. Prayers. Dry erase calendars. And bullet journals. But mostly Google.

New things

Late last year I started a new job. A quiet, fairly cozy office job that gave me two things: income and time away. I love my family, that should go without saying. However, I am a hard introvert. I require alone time to recharge from peopling. This new job gives me that. It gives me a break from the all day peopling of being a mom and girlfriend and metamour 24/7. It allows me to be me for several hours a day. Granted, there is still a lot of peopling involved in my job. And there are days I come home utterly exhausted, wanting nothing more than to sit in my bedroom in the dark and quiet for a good hour. But overall, this job and the time away it gives, is a huge blessing. I am a happier and a more present mom, girlfriend, and metamour.

The girls started new school schedules this year as well. Two days each week in person with their peers. Plus, Sass added after school clubs to her day. And both have decided they had had enough of social distancing and not seeing friends during the worst of the Pandemic. They have both been social butterflies (within a small group of equally covid-conscious friends.) Now all of this requires coordinating drop offs and pick ups for the both of them at various times. Thank God for Lovey taking all of this on. And thank God for Bats, who has been available and willing to sit with Munchkin when these pick ups happen during nap times. 

Unexpected changes

Bats, as ya’ll know, moved in with us this year as well. With that comes learning and adjusting to a new person’s schedule. Finding ways to adjust your own schedule to make sure everyone has time with each other in the various configurations, and by themselves. The move also came with a fairly large project that required it’s own scheduling. It was not something any of us were expecting, but that all of us are excited for when it is finally finished.

Boyfriend left his previous jobs at the end of 2020 and dove headlong into a new one. He has also been spending more time in his Dad role with his own kids, something he hadn’t had as much time for with his previous jobs. And getting to see how much happier he is this year has been so nice. It’s enough to make a girl fall in love all over again. But of course, with everything between the two households, finding time for just me and him has been tricky.

So how do we manage all these different schedules now? Google. And the All-Mighty Dry Erase Calendar.

For the love of planners

In my former life, I was an avid planner user. I loved shopping for the perfect new planner every year, and finding the perfect new pens to go with it. Going to the office supply store, or my local Target, and flipping through all the options to find the one that had the right mix of monthly and weekly pages, the right aesthetic, the right size… It was so much fun, and something I looked forward to every time. (I know, I’m a bit of a nerd.) 

In January 2020, I decided I was going to try my hand at Bullet Journaling. I was feeling extra creative after watching way too many Youtube videos of people designing their spreads. Not to mention the mountain of ideas I had from scrolling Pinterest boards dedicated to art of it all. 

Things were going great. I was drawing and coloring and tweaking and, most important, actually using this beautiful planner. And then… Coronavirus. My last spread was for April. I even got cheeky and themed the month with little Coronaviruses all over each page. Poor thing never had a chance. 

This year, I think I’ll pick it up again. We’ve gotten busy. I’m starting to feel that creative itch again. So we’ll see. Maybe May will see the revival of my beloved bullet Journal. To be used in conjunction with my current method: the All-Mighty Google Calendar.

Trusty calendars

Now, if you’re not familiar with Google Calendar, where have you been? (Just kidding!) It is easy, convenient (doesn’t everybody have a gmail address now?), sharable, and it let’s you color code every little thing. I love color coding! Each person in the house has their own color. Even sets of people have their own color. For example: the kids. This little group of 3 humans has 4 colors! Between Lovey, Bats, and myself, we have 5 colors! Its fabulous! Makes it so easy to read at a glance to see who has what going on when. 

Of course, this all carries over to my Dry Erase Calendar too. The poor thing was being used most of last year. It made it further into 2020 than my poor BuJo. But eventually it got tired and just fell off the wall. And none of us had the mental energy to put the big empty calendar back up to remind us that we still couldn’t do things. But this month! This month it made it’s return!

April 2021 looks a lot different than April 2020. Our lockdowns and restrictions are lifting. We have vaccines! School is mostly back in session. We are making plans again to do things with our close friends and family. Our household has grown, and our polycule too. Life is slowly returning to a new version of what it was before. So it’s time to dust off those calendars, remember those passwords, and make those plans!

Sound off!

How do you guys keep your family plans straight? Are you a digital calendar user? Prefer traditional notebook planners? Or some combination of everything? Share your tricks below!

If you haven’t subscribed to our newletter, you can do so below. I’ll send you some printable stickers to add to your planner for all the Queer Holidays coming up.

Categories
Family Polyamory

Easy Holiday Planning So You Can Actually Enjoy Yours

I don’t know about you all, but Holidays are kind of a big deal for us. Gifts and Quality Time are my love languages, so naturally I get very into showering my family with both of those any chance I get. And the biggest opportunity is the end of year Holiday Season. So come November 1st, I am in full Holiday Planning Mode.

Our growing up traditions

In the before-times, when it was just Lovey and I and the girls, the planning and shopping was a simpler affair. Growing up, we always made Wish Lists, for our family members and of course for Santa. It was something I kept up into my adulthood, even if Santa stopped leaving goodies for me.

So naturally, it was something I wanted to bring to my own little family.

Lovey on the other hand had a more conservative Christmas past. His parents didn’t believe in the big commercialization and consumerism. They focused on the religious backing of the holiday. Which meant, for their family, church service, a meal, and 3 gifts each.

My poor little gift giving heart simply could not let that continue once we were together.

The perfect gift

A big part of the holiday planning, for us, is the gifting. The shopping, the wrapping, and the behind the scenes stuff that happens first. Like making those Wish Lists and collecting Wish Lists from our kids.

Once we had received them from both of our girls, Lovey and I would write out our budget and what items we would like to find, as well as who those items would be from. When they were younger, we would label gifts for the girls from their sister. We do the same for Munchkin now. But as they got older, Sass and Crumbs got into the spirit of picking out the perfect gifts for each other. So they get a budget and we take them shopping separately.

We also like to include extended family in all of this. (Did I mention gifts were my love language?) So that means we were shopping and planning for grandparents and aunts and uncles, too. And nowadays we add Boyfriend and Bats into the mix. That is a lot of people to keep track of!

So many events, so little time

Of course gifts is only one aspect of the holiday planning. There are also parties, dinners, kids’ events to take into account. Even if you are not personally hosting or throwing any of these, you still need to know when they are and if you’ve RSVP’d, right? And, if you’re a person of faith, there are also potentially church services and activities to boot!

For us, thankfully, parties are not usually on the calendar. There were the occasional work Christmas parties, but since we both left the work world where those are thrown, we have not had to worry about them. We do get to worry about remembering kids events, though! Every grade in elementary school seems to have its own holiday show planned so we were often going to school on two separate occasions. But again, there was no planning on our part. We simply showed up when and where we were told.

Dinners on the other hand! I used to overlook these in my holiday planning as our circles were smaller and less complicated than they are now.

I enjoy cooking and planning a big meal to share with those I love. However, I also have separate circles for all of my humans. Two, to be specific. One we are openly poly with, and one we are not. Planning and scheduling these sometimes can get a little hairy. But we always seem to make it work.

So by now, you’re probably wondering how on earth I manage to track all of this. And how you can too.

A better holiday planning system

For the longest time, all of my planning was just done in a spare notebook. A different page for all the different things I need to keep track of. This proved tricky more than once when I would need to keep certain things secret from certain people, or when I received Wish Lists. I needed a better system. So I started using a notes app on my phone. But that only worked really well for gift tracking. And none of the other stuff. That all stayed in the stray notebook that kept wandering off.

I finally figured out I needed something I could add loose pages to, something with pockets for all of those gift receipts and scraps of notes, something with categories and a touch more organization so I wouldn’t forget important details. And a calendar to put all the dates and parties and activities on.

Photo of the pages available in the 2020 holiday planning workbook.

So here it is! My printable workbook to organize all your holiday planning. In its 15 pages, you’ll find wish lists and gift trackers for partners, metamours, kids, and everyone else. You’ll also find budget sheets, a menu for those holiday dinners you’ll host, and a shopping list. And, of course, a blank 30 day calendar (with stickers!) to help you plan out all the events, shopping, cooking, and celebrating. Print, (hole)punch, pop it in a binder, and you are all set to plan the holiday season. And actually enjoy the holidays too!

I know the holiday season can get stressful. I hope this workbook can help alleviate some of that stress for you. It has certainly helped me.

Happy Holidays everyone!