MLC Team Picks: Office + School Supplies!

MLC Team Picks: Office + School Supplies!

MLC Team Picks: Office + School Supplies!

How can you tell it’s Back to School Season? Every blogger worth her salt is posting about school supplies, school lunches, easing back into school year routines, advice on transitions. Here, at Mom Life Collective, we’ve got the same things on our mind but since we are all about working moms, our Back to School post is also for you, working moms!

Here are a few of our favorite things!

Raewyn’s Picks

Raewyn is Mom Life Collective’s Community Manager, a virtual assistant, an Instagram unicorn,  the founder of The Shield Sisters Initiative and The Collab Lab, and mom to three year old Delainey.  With so many projects on her plate, she needs a powerhouse of a planner, and pens that can keep up.

Rae’s favorite planner is the Panda Planner and her go-to pens are these InkJoy Pens from PaperMate.  For D, a durable water bottle that keeps her water cold all day is a must, so she goes to school with a HydroFlask.

Nancy’s Picks

Nancy is Mom Life Collective’s Community Manager, and a virtual assistant. She has three kids, ages 10, 8, and 5. She is a lifelong lover of office supplies, an obsession she indulged in without shame back in her teaching days. These days, running her business from home, she still feeds her office supply addiction, even if she’s no longer buying teacher planners and Job Well Done stickers.

She loves these Yoobi pens, first introduced to her via her Sparkle Hustle Grow subscription box. They must be really popular because they’re out of stock! These Staedler pens are also a favorite.   Moleskine notebooks were Nancy’s paper of choice once upon a time, but these days, she finds a pad of paper more useful. Any note pad will do but the ones from Rifle Paper Co. are pretty!

Michelle’s Picks

Michelle is the founder of Mom Life Collective, and a Digital Stylist & Visibility Strategist to emerging online businesses. Michelle is mom to 4 kids, ranging in age 14, 10, 8, and 5. Former preschool teacher and lover of office supplies, needless to say her favorite time of year is back to school!

Whether you are planning a new product launch or blog posts, sticky notes are a must have to keep it organized and to easily move things around. An organized desk is essential to optimal productivity and this organizer is a perfect fit to any desktop.

And if you are on the go and take your work with you often, then a cute and sturdy laptop bag is a must have!

Interested in writing for the Mom Life Collective?

We would love to feature your article on the MLC blog!

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3 Steps to Breaking Free From The Cycle of Overwhelm

3 Steps to Breaking Free From The Cycle of Overwhelm

The latest statistics show that 92% of working moms and 89% of stay at home moms are overwhelmed with their personal, family, and home responsibilities. As modern moms, we spend three times more quality time with our kids than moms did in the 60’s.  We are constantly battling time-starvation in a world that is going faster every day with more felt expectations than ever before. Between driving kids to activities, answering work emails at home to catch up for the next day, and the endless To-Do lists that keep creeping onto tomorrow’s lists, what I hear most from moms is that they are overwhelmed and exhausted.

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A Week’s Worth of Easy, Healthy Summer Recipes

A Week’s Worth of Easy, Healthy Summer Recipes

During the school year, my menu plan is buttoned up but when summer rolls around, all that goes out the window.  5pm rolls around and I have no plan for dinner while my kitchen seems to be stuck in snack mode. How many times a week can I let my kids have cereal for dinner? I mean, theoretically, every single night because who’s counting and who’s judging, right?  But I digress. A healthy meal that comes together quickly is the best remedy for those summertime dinner slumps. Here are seven easy meals to make, along with a shopping list that’ll make sure you have what you need.

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The Working Mom’s Guide to a Safe Summer

The Working Mom’s Guide to a Safe Summer

Summertime and the livin’ is easy… unless you’re working from home.  My kids do not go to camp all summer long, so I spend my summers trying to balance my work committments and keeping my kids occupied. To give you an idea of what I’m working with, my kids are 10, 8 and 5 years old. The playground is across the street from our house, and we have a pool in our neighborhood, but our backyard is the size of a postage stamp. I’m fortunate to live in a neighbhorhood where I feel safe letting my kids ride their bikes or scooters on their own, with the big ones keeping an eye on my little guy.  Keeping the kids safe while letting them be independent is one of my goals this summer. Here’s my Working Mom’s Guide to Keeping Kids Safe This Summer!

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7 Strategies for Getting Organized When You’re Crunched for Time

7 Strategies for Getting Organized When You’re Crunched for Time

We all live busy lives.  If you are a working mom, your time is extremely limited.  Between work and kids’ schedules, you barely have a second for yourself.  

As someone who loves to organize, I have a list of things that need to be organized but how am I going to find time to do it?  I have a husband, kids, and full-time job. After a long day of work, I want to spend time with my husband and kids, not organizing.

One thing I’ve concluded about organizing,  especially after having kids, is that it doesn’t have to be perfect.

 Let me repeat, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

That is something I’ve finally come to terms with, I’ve saved quite a bit of time with organizing projects by not trying to perfect them.  Sure,  I want it to be nice and pretty but if something isn’t working out the way it’s supposed to, I find another solution. More time is wasted trying to make it work. It’s like trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans that don’t fit anymore.

Pinterest and other social media outlets have these beautifully organized homes and spaces.  They are great to look at and an inspiration but you can easily get frustrated with it because our home doesn’t look the way it’s supposed to. Can you say, #PinterestFail? 

Taking on an organizing project can be a daunting task especially if you don’t love it.  It’s hard to finish while eating up too much of your time.  I love to organize and  even I’ve felt like that a few times.

Here are my 7 strategies for organizing when you’re in a time crunch

 

Schedule It

Make an appointment in your calendar to get the project done.   I resisted this for years because I thought I had the willpower.  It’s so much more powerful, and more likely to happen when it’s actually scheduled.

Make a List

Knowing all of your organizing projects will help you decide which ones to tackle first.  Take the time to sit down and make a list of small organizing projects. Some examples would be the junk drawer, a kitchen drawer, a clothing drawer, the bathroom vanity and so on.  Estimate how long each project will take– 5 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever. Overestimate time for each project because it usually takes longer than you think! 

Take one organizing project per day that is relative to your day and tasks

 Let’s take a clothing drawer,  for example.  Let’s say you wore a specific shirt that day and just have gotten home from work and are changing out of your work clothes and are putting that shirt away.  If you see that the drawer that that shirt belongs to is pretty unorganized, take a minute or two to organize it.  Instead of tackling the entire dresser,  you tackle just the drawer. Work each drawer each day. Think about it this way: if you have 5 drawers to your dresser, then in 5 days your dresser will be organized.  Another example would be the drawer or cabinat where you keep your food storage containers. Lids and containers are all jumbled up and piled up on each other. The next time you unload the dishwasher, take a few minutes to corral all the lids, and stack all the containers before putting clean ones away. 

Set a Timer

 Using a timer will keep you on task and motivate you to get the project done before the timer goes off. There’s no sense of urgency when a timer isn’t set.  If you’ve ever played sports, the clock is always going down. If you’re not winning and there’s not much time left, it’s time to step it up a notch and give it your all. A lot of people swear by the Pomodoro Method. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on one task for that 25 minutes, then take a short break. After you’ve done this four time, take a longer break–20 or 30 minutes. 

Purge

There are a few ways to purge.  You can set an empty box in each room in your house and that can be the box for things you don’t need or don’t know where they belong.  When you are putting away utensils from the dishwasher, you can look at your utensil drawer or storage holder and see what you used. If you haven’t used it in awhile, put it in the box. The same strategy applies to clothing–as you are folding laundry, put aside things that are torn or outgrown, and get rid of them. 

Ask a Friend To Help

When you have an accountability partner, you are more likely to complete the task.  No one likes standing up a friend. Offer up some pizza, coffee, or wine for a little added incentive.  It’s also a great time to catch up if you haven’t seen each other in awhile. Friends like helping friends.  This is a great strategy for those organizing tasks where you don’t have to concentrate too hard, like organizing the kids’ playroom. 

Turn off the Notifications

 Our smartphones have become one of the biggest time distractors of all time.  Sure,  they are very convenient and do make our lives easier but they also have become a huge interruption in our day.  I read a few years ago the average person looks at their smartphone 150 times a day!  I’m sure that number has increased by now but that’s absolutely insane.  Turn off the notifications and check your phone when it’s convenient for you. Better yet,  schedule time on your calendar for checking in with social media and checking email. 

Taking the time to get organized has big benefits like reducing your stress,  increasing productivity and decreasing the amount of time you spend looking for something you need. 

Make a plan to get organized. Now,  go work that plan!

Marie Jackson is an innate organizer and planner, a working mom of two with a third on the way and a ten year veteran of corporate America.  The Organized Planner was created for the working mom to help manage and organize her personal and work life. Organized Marie is a place for working moms to create simple, everyday organizing solutions for their home. Every working mom can have an organized, stress-free home. http://organizedmarie.com

 

Moms and Entrepreneurs: Not so different after all!

Moms and Entrepreneurs: Not so different after all!

When you become an entrepreneur, there are ultimately two roles you take on in the beginning: the leader and the manager. It can be a lonely experience, and you can feel like you do a lot of work without it being noticed. Sound familiar? As moms, we tend to feel the same, don’t we? Not only do we share similar feelings but we can look at our job taking care of our family and home the same ways as an entrepreneur does a business. Let’s be real…it is a business. I like to say that we are moms by identity and Chief Household Officers by job. So, let’s dive in and explore these roles we take on as entrepreneurs of our homes.

The Leader: “I have a dream…”

As moms, we are a leader in our home. We purposefully plan our days, weeks, and months, make decisions about what is best for our family, decide how we will spend our time, and create a schedule for how things will run in our home. Problems occur in this role when we don’t stop to think about what is important to us. What are our values? What is our family’s mission statement? Once we have answers to these questions, we can truly plan with purpose. We can create schedules and routines that make sense to our family. We can plan activities with those who matter to us and do things that help us grow. Without recognizing our role as leaders in the home and taking time out weekly to focus on this role we limit ourselves to only putting out fires on a regular basis. I don’t know about you, but I would like to do more than be a firefighter all day!

The Manager: “Whistle while you work…”

This is the part of being a CHO I find that either moms love or hate. Very few are in the middle. The manager gets the housework done, deals with crises that come, and ultimately puts into action the plans that were made. Just like in the workplace when we have a full inbox that we must attend to or meetings with co-workers that we can’t stand, the tasks of taking care of a home and family can be frustrating. Procrastination creeps up and we feel overwhelmed when we look at all the items we need to do. The couch becomes our friend. This is where the leader’s plan and vision for the family come in to play. If what is important to me is that anyone who comes into my home feels comfortable and welcome, and this includes my partner, my kids, and me, then I want to take care of my home to achieve this goal. I will declutter, clean, and create a space that matches my vision. If my vision for myself is that I am calm and able to handle stress with a clear mind, then as a manager I want to get things done immediately rather than put them off. The manager part of the job is the backbone. Without it, we just have a bunch of ideas and no one getting them done.

What can I do?

You may say, “This sounds good, Katie, but I don’t have a clue where to start.” I understand and you are not alone. I talk to moms on a regular basis who want things to change but don’t know how to find the time or energy to do so. I always say that change happens when you are at your wits end with how things are currently going. With this in mind, I created a 45 day program for full and part-time stay at home moms to learn about their job as a Chief Household Officer and make it work for them. The From Stay at Home Mom to Chief Household Officer program is designed to motivate and support you in being a happier mom and stronger CHO. We also explore issues like feeling unappreciated and taking care of you. Instead of having a pity party about it together, I give you tools to improve how you feel about yourself and what you do. I am watching this program change the way moms think, take action, and on top of that improve relationships in their homes in the process.

Not sure you are ready for a program?  I understand. It can be overwhelming to put one more thing on your plate so let me give you some tips to improve your situation now.

  1. Pick one night this coming week and put it on your calendar as a planning night.
  2. When the kids are finally in bed, DO NOT sit on your couch. Go straight to a desk or your dining room table with paper and pen.
  3. Write down what matters to you, what is important to your family, and what you want to change about your current situation.
  4. Then,  start to plan the week in a way that changes what you are unhappy with and focuses on what matters most. Once the week starts, keep this mindset that you want to improve how things are and not stay at status quo.

If you get to the end of that night and have questions, don’t worry! You can write me and ask any question you may have. I encourage you to check out the program at http://fromsahmtocho.com/ and sign up to receive emails with tips and updates. I have free webinars from time to time that support moms in growing as Chief Household Officers. You are doing a great job as a mom! Let me help you rock being a CHO as well!

Katie Rössler is a licensed professional counselor from the United States living in Germany. She has over 10 years experience working with individuals, couples and families on improving their lives and relationships. She also is the creator of the From Stay at Home Mom to Chief Household Officer program (http://fromsahmtocho.com/) which teaches and empowers mothers who stay at home full or part-time to run their households like entrepreneurs do a business.

https://www.instagram.com/fromsahmtocho/

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