Pivot the Plan: Burrito Brawls and Back-to-School

Mar 7, 2021

I don’t often use this space for personal posts, though I’ve tried my hand at it once or twice. Letting you all into my (sometimes not so) Together World is occasionally instructive, and it’s also good therapy for me, too.

This week’s grand confession? My own two children – who’ve been exclusively remote schooling for almost exactly one year – will re-enter their elementary school in two different timeline phases and on two different schedules. Bless their school staff for figuring out these logistics for a 1000+ kid elementary school, and good luck to us trying to keep up!

And let’s not forget to add to the above a wild game of Throwing Burritos going down one floor below me (side note: purchase this game, but be ready for destruction), two online classes beginning in one hour, racing thoughts of school lunch prep (do we even have lunch boxes?!?), the release of the second edition of my first book, and an ever-growing laundry pile on my bed. . . and I’m down with a case of Pandemic Panic. Again.

Eternal Laundry Pile and Loose Minecraft Socks

I’m grateful my kids received spots in their classrooms, and I’m so happy to have choices that all parents deserve. But my friends, we had hit a groove. My kids were feeling good, I was continuing to teach and write, we were fed and healthy, and we’ve got regular Family Zooms, date nights, and the February Film series on the books.

And now we are going to blow it all up. My calendar is officially (and once again) . . . TORN.TO.SHREDS.

I didn’t cry, I didn’t make a spreadsheet, but I did enact Operation Pivot the Plan. Here’s how my brain broke this whole puzzle down:

  • Determine when I actually have to worry about it. Not everything needs to be figured out right this second. I actually still have a month before they enter school buildings, so I’m going to put lunch box shopping and other logistical planning on my Weekly Worksheet for NEXT WEEK. Punted for now, and I can focus on teaching. And my team. And dodging Burritos.
  • Communicate with appropriate people. I need to discuss school drop-offs and pick-ups with a neighbor and my fifth grader’s co-learning group. I need to perform schedule surgery with my co-parent. I need to change a standing weekly time with my partner. I need to thank my kids’ teachers.
  • Dive into my calendar (later). Next week, I will get very practical. I will enter every single drop-off, pick-up, remote Wednesday, half-day, and full day for the rest of the year into the kid Google calendar. This will help me see when I have childcare gaps, when I need to move meetings, and when I can help other parents and families who are figuring out the same challenges.
  • Take it week by week. The planner in me has been very challenged by this past year. But I’ve also thrived on variation – as long as I can see it coming. I’m pledging to look at each week as its own little puzzle, laying out everything I know, and shifting other things accordingly.
  • Stay focused on what matters. I’ve become better and better at brutal prioritization this year. Each week I basically ask. . . How do I keep my kids thriving? How will I keep building my business? How am I managing my own energy towards both? Just about everything else has been put aside for now. That includes delaying the deadline for my third “big” book, pausing some mentoring I used to do, winging it with my Girl Scout troop, and a LOT of Chick-fil-A and Chipotle dinners.

How about you? Any Pivoting the Plan in your world?