Featured Organized Mom – Melinda

Organized Families is excited to share tips with you from a real mom. Melinda blogs at Coming Clean: Confessions of an Imperfect Parent read on to learn how she keeps it all together as a busy mom.

mldHow do you keep your children’s schedules together ?
I’m a big list maker. For my nine-year-old, I have a list of basic things for him to do when he comes home from school, including homework, putting away his laundry, putting his lunchbox on the counter (so I’m not searching for it frantically 10 minutes after we were supposed to leave) and setting the table if it’s his night.
For my daughter, who is 12, I’ve learned that rigidity with pre-teens just doesn’t work, so my requirements for her are a little more basic. (I have more important battles to fight!) Before she can be on the computer (her favorite thing), she has to finish homework, tidy her room and read a little bit from a devotional book.
I don’t give my kids a lot of time to unwind after they get home from school. It doesn’t work for us. They get off track and then it’s a homework battle at 9:30 at night when my patience and energy levels are on empty. Plus, they both have sports practices, so they really need to get homework and other responsibilities done right away.

Do you use a particular day planner ?
I use a planner called “Hot Chocolate.” I buy all their notebooks, too. They are so fun and funky that I’m more likely to make lists and keep on top of my schedule. I need all the incentive I can get!

Do you own a blackberry?
I don’t. Although my daughter told me today that I “need” to get one. She claims my current cell phone is “so lame.”

What is your most used ‘time saving tip’ when it comes to running your house?
I’d say, “Don’t procrastinate!” Leaving dishes in the sink, for example, makes them so much harder to clean the next day. The more you let things pile up, the longer it takes to dig out. I don’t always follow this, but when I do, it makes my life so much easier.

Do you have a favourite quick meal for your family?
I’m big into healthy. I buy Boboli Whole Wheat pizza crusts, use Organic Ragu, pile on the cheese (soy cheese is healthiest) and add our favorite toppings. Instead of regular Pepperoni, I use Turkey Pepperoni. It’s a crowd-pleaser every time. And my crowd isn’t so easy to please.

Tell us the truth ? What would we find in your car right now ?
Ooooo… You asked me this question at the right time! I just cleaned and vacuumed my van a few days ago. Right NOW, you’d only find a few Encyclopedia Brown books that my son likes to read when we’re on the road. LAST WEEK, you would have found a treasure trove of goodies, including a bag of rotten celery that somehow didn’t get brought in with the rest of the groceries. My house is always far more clean and organized than my van!

You seem like a mom who understands the importance of not expecting perfection. What advice would you give to other moms who feel the pressure of trying to be ‘super mom’?
I spent many years being crushed by that pressure. But, for the most part, I’m free now. Understanding God’s unconditional love for me helps me to remember to do the same with my children, which can be very difficult sometimes! When I was trying to be “supermom” I felt so isolated. But as I began to share my struggles and let my guard down, I found SO many moms who were having the same fears and struggles. I found community and support. That also made a huge difference.

What is your number one goal for the year ? How do you plan to reach it ?
From a professional standpoint, my number one goal is to write my first book. I’ve set aside 1-2 hours a day to work on this alone. I’m getting up earlier in the morning so I can be sure to keep up with all the other things that need to be done for the family. I’ve also shared my goal with others so that I can gain support and encouragement along the way. And, most importantly, I’m praying ALOT! ;0)

Melinda is a mother of two, ages 12 and 9, as well as a writer and speaker. She writes frequently on parenting topics, as her children and her experiences with them provide a great deal of meaty and humorous material. You can visit her blog “Coming Clean: Confessions of an Imperfect Parent” at http://www.parentingconfessions.com

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