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 / Updated  / Source: Weekend Today

As part of the special series, “Take Back Your Weekend Today,” family scheduling expert Molly Gold of Go Mom Inc. visited the Penningtons of Holly Springs, N.C. Like many busy families, their weekends always seemed to revolve around chores, errands, the kids' organized activities, and office work from home. There was never time for the six of them to just relax and have fun. Gold observed a typical weekend, and then offered them some strategies and solutions for “taking back their weekend.” Here's some tips for your family:

My role as a family scheduling expert is to advise the Pennington family of Holly Springs, N.C., on how they can better manage their family schedules to enjoy weekends together, rather than be trapped by a manic schedule of household chores and activities that consumes what little time they have. This feature shows moms how to play an active role in putting structure in place to achieve a more balanced, relaxing weekend. How did the Pennington's do it? Take a look below:

ScheduleUse a portable, mom-oriented calendar system, such as the GO MOM! Planner, to create one central calendar that condenses all family member schedules. Think of yourself as the gatekeeper. You have the power to both commit and protect time to produce the best outcome for you and your crew. Each time an event arises for any family member, first check your planner prior to committing that individual. Evaluate it for hot spots that need readjusting to lighten the load when possible or simply call in additional resources, such as carpool, to help you get it all done. Keep it in an accessible location when you are home and keep it close each time you venture out.

OrganizeConsolidate all information centers into one location, or create them where they previously did not exist. Along with your planner, initiate the use of a wall organizer with cork and wipe board features for your partner and kids. Educate them that this is their base of operations and while you will maintain the calendar for them, in conjunction with your planner, it is their responsibility to communicate with you about their lives. Encourage them to use the wipe board to jot reminder notes for you and provide enough push pins to allow important invitations or school work to be highlighted for all to see. Take it one step further and assign each family member a personal in/out box, adults included, and instruct them as to how the system works together. For mom, a mobile file system will make harnessing information easy when not at home and offer an efficient system to accommodate the paper that comes with life.

GrowAfter creating your organization center, you'll find easy ways to delegate and outsource both inside and outside the home. Use an age-appropriate chore chart to get your kids on board and have an open dialogue with your partner about how to best manage the work load within your respective roles. When appropriate, don't hesitate to use home cleaning services, on-line grocery shopping, and any other service that will make your most hectic days a little easier. When moms learn how to create a organization center, they will understand why each individual schedule truly impacts the others. Then they can live their lives intentionally, both committing and protecting family time to be spent by choice. Family scheduling is a fundamental step towards experiencing family life in the way most everyone would like ... joy-filled and together.