The Organized Parent: Get Your Growing Family's Act Together

By Jennifer Bingham Hull
http://www.growingafamily.com

One child is a relationship. Raising two or more is a small business. To stay sane after having the second child, you need to organize and plan effectively.

What follows are 8 home organization tips for keeping family life on track as school events, pediatrician appointments and errands multiply.

*Keep a “Waiting For” file. My file currently contains: birthday invitations responded to, information on my girls’ upcoming dance recital, and receipts for uniforms on order. Without this file, these papers would be on my desk.

*Read the school newsletter. Skip the newsletter and the school gods will get you. Your kid will arrive in uniform on costume day. You’ll find out about the big pilgrim event after the turkey’s been roasted. Note newsletter events – then look for them to change in the next newsletter.

*Get an electronic organizer. As the family grows, so do the number of regularly scheduled events. Kids’ activities, PTA meetings – why record these by hand each week when you can program them to repeat? The best gift I got preparing for a second child was a Palm organizer.

*Keep spring open. Once the kids start school, May and June are as busy as December. Schedule a business trip during the last month of school and you risk missing an important event. Keep your calendar as clear as possible during this time.

*Create an inbox for your mate. You swear you left it on the counter for him. He hasn’t seen it. Avoid conflict by giving your spouse an inbox. Put the roofing estimate job in the box and place flowers on the counter.

*Meet with your spouse. Plans made in passing don’t always register. Men are lousy at multitasking. Women get overwhelmed at home. Sit down and compare calendars. Start by scheduling date night.

*Consider birthday parties optional. The more kids you have, the more invitations you get. Pass on those that don’t fit your schedule. But RSVP so the busy birthday parent can plan.

*Preserve free time. My favorite days with my girls are the unscheduled ones. Set aside time to just hang out together. It’s as important as anything else you’ll do.

(c) 2010 Jennifer Bingham Hull. Reprint rights granted as long as the article is published in its entirety, including the resource box and its live links.

About the Author

Jennifer Bingham Hull is an award-winning author and mother of two. Her book, Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life, looks at life after the second child. To learn more, visit www.growingafamily.com, where you can contact her to receive this Parenting Tips column and sign up for her free newsletter.

About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Credits

The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, CNN.com, MS., Parenting, Real Simple, Salon.com, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.