Our [Revised and Refreshed] Family Command Center

May 2, 2023

Strangely, I haven’t written about Command Centers in a long time around here. In fact, the last images I can find that I posted were here and here. But something about the first day of the month in May being a Monday always makes me excited for a fresh start! Or is that just me?

In case we are just meeting for the first time, let me lay out the factors at play in this life of mine:

  • Four kids between the ages of 10 – 16 all in different schools across two large public school districts (who have various rotating schedules with their other parents, and no, their schedules don’t completely match)
  • Each kid has between 1 – 3 activities of their choice each week, including sports, tutors, bat mitzvahs, birthday parties, musicals / plays, as well as various doctors / therapies
  • Four cats (that require feeding and care, and are on a three-meals-per-day diet with microchipped bowls. Don’t ask, but Dr. Together does work with the company that manufactures them, so hey, discount on cat technology, I’ll take it!)
  • Two adults (who both travel, including Dr. Together on multiple week-long international trips per year) who have their own Outlook calendars for work, and who both like a lot of physical and social activity (soccer, tennis, triathlons, swimming, book clubs, and the occasional very large house party)
  • Also, it appears all the humans need to eat three-four meals per day. #crockpot
  • And . . we have one amazing and flexible babysitter to help with a lot of kid after-school driving, among other things

So, how do we “juggle” it all? First of all, let’s just say it is a very fine balance, and there is no illusion of perfection around here. However, a few things have helped as of late:

Skylight calendar hangs on the wall in our family room

  • Shared family Google calendar, in which the older kids are responsible for adding in their own activities
  • Separate Google calendars with each of the kids’ co-parents for shared items and custody schedules
  • A Skylight that combines all calendars so the kids can get a digital view of what is happening each day (I wasn’t sure about this at first, and really wanted Shannon’s Echo Show, but we are a Google family (with small doses of Microsoft) and, alas, a large digital screen by Google doesn’t exist!)
  • A Friday Family Lookahead gathering led by Dr. Together and me that reviews activities, wishes, requests, meals, and such for the week

And for reasons unknown to me, I still love two other visuals (actually, the reason is known to me. I love a digital calendar, but the monthly views remain atrocious). Those two visuals are handwritten, and I’ve included images below. I can’t function without a sense of the entire month ahead. This one is also easier for the younger kids in our house to take in.


A whiteboard calendar with key family events. Yes, May is a LOT.

A big picture view of the entire YEAR!

All items in the visual calendars are safely lodged in Outlook or Google, but I still love a big picture visual. Yes, it’s double work, but I’m okay with that. The monthly view is helpful on the whiteboard, but sometimes it doesn’t meet the need for a very long-term view. We usually just put the big stuff on here – such as birthdays, vacations, and such. Also, it is cute on the wall!  (#etsy) I could probably consolidate the two, but hey, there is always 2024!

Together Time: How about you? Do you have a Command Center? How do you handle multiple calendars?

PS Our good friends at The Bossy House do a lot of super cool things with Command Centers.