Thursday, January 1, 2009

Making the Most of 2009

If you are anything like me, you have never been able to keep a New Year's Resolution in your entire life. Every year I make one, and every year I end up breaking it before the end of February. This year I made a resolution to not make any resolutions (okay, technically I guess that's still a resolution but that's beside the point...). Instead, I am simply going to go into 2009 with no expectations, no timelines, no lofty goals other than to make the most of the year. Nothing specific, no set weight loss goals, no "read x amount of books before (date)", no work out 30 minutes each day, nada. All I want from 2009 is to make the very most of the time I have. Being a working mommy, I don't have near enough of it, so making the most of the time I do have is super important. Over the last 15 months since I've had my daughter I've collected a plethora of ideas, tips, tricks, products, etc. that help me to save time. So, to kick off 2009 I am making a list of some of my best advice on making the most of your time and a I'll also share a few "must have" products. I hope that you would leave me some comments with your great ideas and products too. Here goes (in no particular order):

My best working mommy advice:

1. Always leave work at work. There will always be something to stress or worry about, but stressing and worrying don't change anything. Don't waste family time worrying about work. This is a hard one for me!
2. There is no such thing as having 'too many pictures'. Snap away when you're with your kids! I keep a small digital camera with me at all times, and my BlackBerry also has a little camera (more on the BlackBerry in a minute).
3. Find the right caretaker for your child during the day. Keep searching until you are 100% confident, no matter if you choose a home, daycare center, nanny, etc.
4. Eat dinner together as a family as often as possible. It's proven that families who eat together, stay together.
5. Cut down on TV time to actually play and be present with your children.
6. Loosen up on schedules. The only time I have with EG during the week is in the evenings and we don't have a strict bed time. I don't try to keep her awake by any means, but I don't rush her off to bed at a specific time either. Sleep experts somewhere are probably cringing at that thought, but it has worked for us!
7. Here's a new one for me...don't put on shoes and socks until you reach your destination. At about 14 months, my daughter's favorite new thing in the car was to tear her shoes and socks off and throw them (where I can't find them of course). By the time we had reached our destination I would have to go on a treasure hunt and then put them back on her all over again. Now, I just let her ride in the car in her bare feet and put the shoes and socks on when we get where we are going. This way I don't have to put them on twice.
8. Read together every day. It doesn't take that much time to read a children's book, and the time it does take is worth it. Not only are you spending priceless snuggle time together, but you are fostering a lifelong love of books and reading.
9. Enroll in an evening or weekend class together. We've tried out a couple of classes and our favorite is Music Together. EG loves music so this was a good choice for us. Also, it is near our house and is only 45 minutes once a week. These classes create built in time focused simply on spending time together. Search for a class or group in your city that is in an area you already enjoy. Some you might want to check out are mommy and baby/child yoga classes, play/fitness classes (Gymboree, Little Gym, etc.), and music classes. Bigger cities also have parent fitness classes that include baby, like Stroller Strides.

Some of my favorite "must carry all the time" products:

1. Moleskin notebooks (or any brand really...I just prefer this one for ease of use, style, and durability) - Probably the single most thoughtful gift I ever received from my husband was a mini moleskin notebook and a set of cute mechanical pencils given to me last Christmas as a gift for when I started back to work. They were given to me with the instructions to keep them in my diaper bag and write down any special thoughts or moments I had with EG. This way I could transfer them at some point to the computer or baby book or wherever, but I always had something with me that I could jot down important things.
2. The Snack Trap - This little contraption speaks for itself. Flexible "trap" top lets little fingsers easily get a few snacks out while the rest stay in, even if dropped. Less mess for on-the-go snacks. Couldn't live without it!
3. Mini video camera - This is a new "must have" that I received for Christmas and boy am I so glad I have it. I don't always have time to get together and carry around our main video camera all the time, and, let's be honest, it's just not practical. And, more often than not, we are somewhere other than home more often than we are at home during the week. These little gadgets easily fit in a diaper bag or pocket and let me capture anything I want to on the go! I love it! There are several options on the market; I have the Kodak zi6 (which you can get in a cool bundle at Walmart for a great price) and think it's fabulous! Other popular styles are the Flip cameras: Mino, Mino HD, and Ultra.
4. BlackBerry Curve - I LOVE this phone so much and I don't think I'll ever switch (except maybe to the Storm if it ever comes to T-mobile)! This is definitely a time saver because I have my calendar, e-mail, contacts, TwitterBerry, Facebook, etc. all right there in my pocket. And, in a pinch, it also has a built in camera and video camera (granted they are not that great, but definitely better than nothing). I love the whole BlackBerry line but the Curve is my favorite because of the full keyboard which makes for easy texting and Twitter-ing.
5. "From the mom of..." Notes - I love these because I don't have time to write detailed notes in the mornings. I'm always running out the door at the last minute, rushing to get EG to daycare and make it to work on time. I'm not a morning person. So, I couldn't live without my "From the mom of..." notes that already have the information you write on every note already there. It already says your child's name, your name, contact numbers (so the daycare doesn't have to look them up if there's a problem), and e-mail address and all you have to add is your note. It's not like it saves 10 minutes, but every second counts during my mornings. I also make my own template in Photoshop Elements and print several out to keep in the car, rather than buying expensive customized notes. If you'd like my template, let me know! I'd be glad to customize it and share it with you!

Hope these lists give you some tips for making the most of 2009! Best wishes everyone!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this. Great, great start to the site. Really great tips too. I wish I read some of those a while ago. :) With 5 year old twins, and 2 year old twins, getting out and getting to our destination in a timely manner can be challenging. Luckily we have a mini-van with DVD player! This helps so much. Because of this, there is almost 0 TV in the house during the week.

    I did do the "don't put the shoes on thing" for a long time. LOL!! My 2 years just recently stopped ripping off shoes and socks and throwing them all over the car.

    I look forward to reading more.