It can be difficult to manage the schedules of multiple families that live under one roof. This is due to the demands of work and the social activities of the parents. Divorced or separated parents may have a harder time communicating and may not be able to get along. These parents can create a chaotic time management nightmare if they move on to new families that have their own schedules, stresses, and time demands. Many of us don’t have the money to hire a personal assistant to manage our time. What can you do?
Documenting parenting time on a shared calendar is the best way to be effective. Each year, I recommend spending one day to create a calendar that documents the parenting time for the next year. Once the calendar has been created, it can then be reviewed by the other parent. If any errors are made, it can be blessed to be shared as the agreed-upon schedule. It can also be shared with grandparents or the children.
You could argue that the parenting time of cohabiting parents is flexible and fluid, and that they don’t need to be rigid about their schedule. Co-parenting non-cohabiting parents is possible if both parents are open to accommodating the schedules and needs of the other. However, just because a calendar exists does not mean that it can’t be modified as needed. Even if parents are flexible, they should try to organize their lives around the parenting schedule. Swapping days should only be done when it is absolutely necessary or will not have an impact on the schedule of the other parent.
A shared calendar and a predictable parenting plan are two of the best things. It allows you to plan your time away from your children over the long-term, even with a new spouse. It is nice to be able plan your time alone, even months ahead.
The calendar can be used by your children to plan their activities. They may decide to meet up with a friend to help with homework when their mother is away, or to plan a night out with a friend when their father is home. Third parties, such as grandparents, may also be of benefit. They might want to organize a birthday party or a visit with their grandchildren.
A calendar also has the advantage of allowing you to review the court-ordered parenting plan before the parenting days are set. There may be divergent interpretations of any written document. To avoid any disputes, it is better to prepare the schedule ahead of time. This will help avoid any surprises or conflicts that may arise when children are picked-up or dropped off.
It takes a lot of effort to create a calendar for the whole year. Your divorce agreement will be necessary. You will need to have your school schedules and a list with holidays. Parenting plans often specify the priority of parenting time. Holiday parenting time is usually more important than normal parenting time on weekends and weekdays. Also, vacation time often overrides regular weekend and weekday parenting times.