Articles for Tips from REAL moms

Another busy mom shares her tips for keeping her family’s schedule and home together. . Today’s featured busy mom is Isabel Isidro Mom of three balancing parenting and co running a business.

Isabel Isidro is a mother of three boys, ages 7, 4 and 2. She is also the co-founder of PowerHomeBiz.com, a 10-year old site for home business owners and solo entrepreneurs, and runs WomenHomeBusiness.com and LearningfromBigBoys.com. She just tries to live and learn each day – not always succeeding, but always trying.

How do you keep your children’s schedules together ?
My kids are 7, 5 and 2 — and they all go to school. The two youngest are home by lunchtime while the eldest spends the full day in school.

We have a strict schedule in the house, and the kids know it. The younger boys take a nap in the afternoon. They play or relax in the afternoon after school, and one of their favorite activities is playing Wii with their father. The kids then eat dinner, and take a bath. Then from 7:00-8:30 pm, it’s their study and reading time.

I give them the materials they need to work on and practice with, and they choose the books they want to read. By 8:30 pm, they’re on bed and ready to sleep. They’re early risers, and wake up anywhere from 5:30-6:30 am – even on weekends! None in the family are late sleepers.

To the extent possible, we don’t do any extracurricular activities during the weekdays, only weekends. School is tough already for the kids, and we’d like them to have time to rest, have fun, play with each other and just be kids.

Saturdays, though, are when things go crazy with their schedules. They have various lessons, and by lunchtime, I am tired from driving around the area going from one lesson to the next. However, in the afternoon, we always make it a point to go to the library to pick up the books that they’ll read for the week.

Do you use a particular day planner ?
No. I used various dayplanners – from the cheapest to the most expensive leather bound planners. I even attended a daylong seminar by one of the big businesses in dayplanning business on how to organize and plan your day using their dayplanning system.

But none really worked for me. I will be “good” and use the planner judiciously for a few weeks, or even a month. And then nada — blank pages after that.

For one, I need something that I can carry with me all the time, not some bulky planner that sits nicely on a desk but impractical to be carried in my purse around. My purse is heavy enough as it is with all the kids’ stuff, and having a bulky planner does not work.

Do you own a blackberry?
Not a Blackberry, but I use an iPhone with an app for my to-do lists for the day. It’s been very effective for me. I carry my phone all the time, and having my things to do and scheduler on the same small device allowed me to keep track of what I need to do for the day. I just love it!

What is you most used ‘time saving tip’ when it comes to running your house?
You need to be a goddess of multi tasking and organization. Find the best strategy that works for you and your family.

For me, I need to spend a little time the night before thinking what the family needs to do for the day – e.g. making sure the kids have put their assignments in their bags. Otherwise, I’d forget it! I spend a little time putting my list in my iPhone’s to-do app. Read More→

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This week’s featured busy mom Nicole Budleski shares her secrets for keeping it all together as a busy mom and business owner!

How do you keep your children’s schedules together?
My husband and I use Outlook quite a bit between the two of us to maintain everyone’s schedules. Our daughter’s elementary school web site also has a great Outlook calendar download feature that tells us everything for the year such as parent-teacher conferences, field trips, early-release days, etc. It works pretty slick!

Do you use a particular day planner ?
No, I don’t. However, I do use some of the Steven Covey principles of prioritizing tasks and not over-scheduling my day. I used to feel so defeated at the end of the day when only five of the 10 things on my list were crossed off. Now, I’m happy crossing-off the five I scheduled for myself. (Well, most of the time!)

Do you own a blackberry?
Yes, I just purchased one a few weeks ago. I set it so it only rings for phone calls. Email notifications can usually wait until I have a block of time to read them.

What is your most used ‘time saving tip’ when it comes to running your house?
I enjoy cooking, therefore I like to prepare large meals on the weekends to either freeze or reheat later in the week. I also discovered how to cut my grocery shopping time in half. I organize my grocery list in the order of the store layout, tear it in half and pass it to my husband. We each take a cart and then meet in the middle of the store to checkout. I realize this sounds a bit silly, but if your husband offers to help and you’re willing to accept selections that aren’t exactly what you would have picked out yourself then try it! It also helps keep your spouse and/or kids involved in your grocery budget and realize how much food really costs.

Do you have a favourite quick meal for your family?
Breakfast for dinner. We raise a dozen laying hens here on our property and it’s pretty easy to walk out to the coop, grab a few eggs and pull together a quick meal.

Tell us the truth ? What would we find in your car right now ?
A pair of snow shoes, a container of trail mix, partially nude Barbies, assorted Crayola markers and a couple of empty coffee cups.

What advice would you give to other moms who feel the pressure of trying to be ‘super mom’?
Expand your definition of what is acceptable and cut yourself some slack.

What is your number one goal for the year ? How do you plan to reach it ?
My goal is to expand TicklerTags into the school fund raising market this year. I will be launching a marketing campaign in a few short weeks to elementary schools and parent-teacher organizations.

Nicole Budleski is a 35-year-old, married mother of two girls, ages 7 and 2. Nicole’s marketing background and knack for organizing lead to the development of TicklerTags for her daughter’s after school activities and transportation arrangements. You can visit her site, www.TicklerTags.com to see her full line of backpack reminder tags.

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Organized Mom Judy

In the spirit of making sure moms feel supported as they tackle the busy life of motherhood and organizing their family schedules and lives, the Almost Always Organized Mom is happy to introduce another real mom juggling it all and her tips for busy moms.

How do you keep your children’s schedules together ? I only have one child, so keeping his schedule together is pretty easy. He goes to school or summer camp 3 days a week (full day – I run a home-based business and use this time to work). We then have play dates (by ourselves or with other children) on the days that he isn’t in school.
He takes swimming lessons which vary by time and date throughout the year and we love to visit the zoo and play at the park.

Do you use a particular day planner ? I keep track of all of my appointment and my son’s appointments using my calendar in Microsoft Outlook. I set reminders so that I always know when we have to be somewhere.

Do you own a blackberry? No, but I wish I had some kind of “sophisticated” phone – I am leaning toward an iPhone, but haven’t invested in anything yet.

What is you most used ‘time saving tip’ when it comes to running your
house?
Involve your children! My son is at the age where he loves to help out – so it keeps him occupied and helps me to get everything done.

Do you have a favourite quick meal for your family? Yes, my favorite meal is a chicken dish:

Take skinless/boneless chicken pieces, sprinklewith salt/pepper to taste.
Divide into single serving or dual serving sizes and place on a large piece of aluminum foil.
Add 1 clove of crushed garlic to each “package”.
Add tomatoes, mushrooms, sliced onions. Add chopped fresh rosemary.
Fold up the aluminum foil to make a leak-proof package. Leave some room for steam to accumulate inside of
the package.
Bake on a cookie tray at 350 for 1-1.5 hours. Serve over
rice. The chicken and vegetables cook in their own juices, so there is no added fat required. It is delicious and healthy!!

Tell us the truth ? What would we find in your car right now ? Oh my –
a bit of everything – some extra clothing for my son, toys, papers, snacks and water bottles – my car is always in some state of dis-array! I believe I have a bunch of old clothes in my trunk that need to be taken to goodwill too!

What advice would you give to other moms who feel the pressure of trying
to be ‘super mom’?
Set priorities and let everything else go. You will drive yourself crazy if you try to do it all – so don’t try. In my house, I have “let go” of the idea of having everything neat and orderly all of the time. I can’t keep up with it and run my business and take care of my family – so I do the important things (laundry, cooking, and having some fun) and let go of the clutter. Does it bother me? yes, but I have learned to accept that I just can’t do it all.

What is your number one goal for the year ? How do you plan to reach it
?
That’s a really good question. I can’t say that I have one main goal for the year. I have lots of small goals. I try not to set any goals that are too large or too daunting – but rather set many smaller goals
that I can reach in a short time. That way I am always getting small doses of accomplishment throughout the year rather than striving for one main goal. This way if I miss a few along the way, it isn’t upsetting because I have also accomplished many!

Dr. Masucci is a mom to one beautiful boy and a small-business owner. She lives in Pennsylvania just north of Pittsburgh where she operates a maternity and breastfeeding boutique (A Mother’s Boutique ) and writes about parenting and breastfeeding on her blog Mommy News and Views.

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