When Things Don’t Go As Planned

We create planners to help families whose children have special needs, but even the best-laid plans go awry. Here's what to do when plans don't work.

We all dream of perfect days. Days when our Mom Game is on point. When the kids are active participants in all the amazing activities, interventions and meals we have so meticulously planned for their days. 

I have Pinterest boards full of perfect days. Sometimes I even fill my planner in with these grand ideas but, most of the time, few of my efforts turn out picture-perfect.

Months of therapy can be missed by one unexpected illness. Afternoon activities can crash and burn if naps are skipped and attitudes are poor. Meals can be tossed on the floor in seconds if I misread the signals of what she might be craving that particular day.

How do I work in (and around) the “unplan-able”?

When filling in my Glory Days Co. planner, I start with the nonnegotiable. Unless something major takes place, these are the areas we lean in and show up. For us, that’s therapy and doctors appointments. If illness strikes or something unexpected happens, we do our best to make it up later. 

For example: Rory’s missed months of intervention due to COVID-19. Now that we’re back, she’s doing an intensive month. We’re going in daily to help make up for lost time. This is a sacrifice for the whole family, but it’s worth it.

Next, I pick a day for social activities and then I pick three special things I want to do with the kids. That might be a craft, baking, educational activities (something off the #momgoals Pinterest board).

These are the things that are subject to easy change. If we’re feeling overwhelmed or our day is off, these are what I say no to first, in hopes I will bring ease to the day. This is where I pivot most. I will say there are some times that I push through. If it feels like a necessary memory for my children, I do my best to make it happen.

Trying to plan meals and feeding time 

Meals. Oh, the drama. I think food probably causes us the most stress, and it’s where the daily plans go awry quickly. Using my planner daily meal planning space saves me loads of stress, no worries if you don't have one. You can download our here --->  daily meal plan sheet  If I can get time to prep all the meals and snacks, it takes the hangry child meltdowns off the table. Plus, I no longer have to stare endlessly into the fridge and it makes it possible for others to step in at mealtime.

Managing expectations

Lastly, I’ve stopped putting unrealistic expectations on our days. I never try to accomplish more than three things in a day. I’m not interested in fighting with my kids in the name of promptness. If I need something for myself (coffee + food) and that means we miss out on picking up paper plates from Target between therapy, so be it.

Having three children has taught me that “There is a season for all things” is SO real. We’re in a season of unpredictability. The best-laid plans will most definitely go awry, but you still make them. 

That picture-perfect afternoon picnic might just have to become dinner on the deck. Rolling up to therapy freshly showered and your kids in matching socks might not happen some days. You’re still a great mom. You made it! That’s what matters showing up. Trying. Staying flexible.

Just remember: When things don’t go right it’s fine to move things around or say no to your original plans altogether. You can always try again tomorrow.

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