1. If you pack the kids' lunches the night before, guaranteed in the morning you will feel like the SMARTEST PERSON ON EARTH.
2. Dinner doesn't have to be an event every night. Sometimes it's sandwiches or cold Chinese food.
3. Give them ten minutes. When they want to play and you don't or don't have time . . . invest ten minutes in play and that will usually get them going to play on their own.
4. Or: ask THEM for ten minutes. Set the timer, tell them to play by themselves until it beeps, get stuff done and then keep your word and play when the time is up.
5. Some friends are the ones you always have to reach out to and make the plans with. Others are the ones that will always be reaching out to you and making the plans--it doesn't mean anything about the friendships' values, it just works out that way. (This applies to Mom's friends and kids' friends.)