Featured Organized Mom Jennifer Fink
How do you keep your children’s schedules together ?
It’s a constant juggling act! My main tool is a calendar. As soon as the kids bring home any kind of schedule (baseball, show choir, etc.), I transcribe the dates and times onto my family calendar. I also then tack the schedules on the bulletin board near the calendar, just in case I need to go back and double check the location of an event or need to call a coach.
Do you use a particular day planner ?
Nope. My “day planner” is my big Lang calendar, which hangs in the kitchen. Every family event — and my work deadlines — are transcribed on to the calendar. If I need a babysitter, I’ll list the name of the sitter once she’s lined up under the event; that way, I know I’ve got that handled. I also include such things as “return library books” and “schedule eye appts.”
When we’re headed to a 4-H meeting or some other meeting that will include discussion of future events, I’ll literally take the calendar off the wall and bring it along.
Do you own a blackberry?
Nope. I just got a cell phone again a few months ago!
What is you most used ‘time saving tip’ when it comes to running your house?
Prioritize. A lot of the things that we think “have” to be done really don’t need to be done at all — or if they do, they don’t need to be done nearly as often as we think. The more things you take off your to-do list, the more time you have for the things that remain.
Do you have a favourite quick meal for your family?
Frozen pizza. It might not be the most nutritious meal in the whole world, but it’s quick, easy and requires virtually no clean-up! Plus, the boys love it.
Tell us the truth ? What would we find in your car right now ?
The better question — what wouldn’t you find in my car right now? Off the top of my head, there are 3 jackets, numerous books, a random garbage bag (I have good intentions!), a travel mug that needs to come into the house, one Field and Stream magazine, an empty McDonal’ds fry container, a first aid kit and a handful of tiny plastic ninjas. Also pens, random change and lots and lots of dirt.
What advice would you give to other moms who feel the pressure of trying to be ‘super mom’?
There’s no such thing as “super mom,” only “good enough” mom.
It’s absolutely impossible to be super in every aspect of your life, and trying will only set you up for a lifetime of frustration. Think about it: a lot of goals we have as moms are mutually incompatible. We want a clean house — and we want a safe, welcoming, nurturing environment for our kids. Well guess what? A spotlessly clean and decluttered house is not a welcoming, nurturing environment for kids.
So prioritize: Which do you value more? And then LIVE by those values. That means really internalizing the fact that you value your kids more than the house. That means embracing the chaos and mess as evidence of your children’s growth. It does not mean gritting your teeth as you look at the mess and mentally berating yourself for not managing to have House Beautiful.
What is your number one goal for the year ? How do you plan to reach it ?
For my kids to feel safe and secure. That might not sound like much of a goal, but their Dad moved out in July, so our family is going through some serious reorganization issues. I remain committed to my professional goals, but right now, that one goal — helping my kids feel safe and secure — supersedes all others.
To achieve it, I’m making every possible attempt to keep their lives as normal as possible (keeping them in their regular activities, etc.). I’m also facilitating contact/visits with their dad, reaching out to family and friends and paying attention to their needs.
At the same time, I’m taking steps to take care of myself — counseling, giving myself time to journal and relax, and working on building my writing career. I need to be able to provide for my sons, and I’m determined to do just that.
Jennifer L.W. Fink is a freelance writer and mother of four boys. She homeschools the boys while writing for a variety of national magazines, including Parents, Boys’ Life, Ladies’ Home Journal and Pregnancy. Learn more about her crazy life at www.bloggingboutboys.blogspot.com.