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Simple Life Hacks: Stay on Top of Your Kids’ School Paperwork

Life Hacks: What to Do With All The School Paperwork Kids Bring Home

Ever feel like you’ve just cleaned up, but then you look around and your living room is already full of your kids’ stuff? Me too!

As a working mom, your time is precious. The last thing you want is to spend most of it organizing the paperwork your kids seem to bring home constantly. It piles up pretty quickly, and then what?

If you’re tired of spending the school year frustrated with mountains of school paperwork, there’s no better time than the new year to put an end to the madness! But before you resort to throwing it all away (or find yourself starring in Hoarding: Buried Alive), I’ve got some simple life hacks that will help you manage, organize, and keep track of your kids’ school paperwork.

First Things First: Change Your Thinking

Many of us might think of anything that our kids bring home from school as important and worth saving. Not necessarily! Not every single bit of paperwork is important, and not everything is worthless either.

In order to stay organized, you need to realize that some things are worth keeping, and some just aren’t. With this thinking in place, let’s get down to the business of maintaining your sanity.

Digitize and Minimize

Scan or take photos of any of your kids’ school paperwork that can be kept in soft copy. This will allow you to recycle these papers, while still retaining the information or work you need. The bonus is that storage of soft copies takes significantly less space than storage of actual printed paperwork and creates zero clutter (YES to having less to clean up)!

As with all digital data, remember to back it up, just in case.

Set Up a Homework Station

It doesn’t have to be too fancy, just a desk and some shelves will do. But don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild either. Setting up a homework station allows you and your kids to keep all school supplies (paperwork included) in one designated area, making it easier to deal with.

Start here: Label and/or color code desk drawers and shelves to keep papers organized. Create file folders for each class or subject matter and encourage your children to put all papers away as part of clean up before bedtime each night.

Invest in a Filing System

You and your kids should have separate filing systems. Your kids’ files belong in the homework station; yours belong elsewhere—your home office or a desk area where you keep other important papers like bills.

A great filing system will help you keep things organized and will give you a designated place to put paperwork as soon as it comes home. However, keep the number of files you have per child to a minimum – 2 should do:

One for class-related information
One for extracurriculars and forms

Get Your Kids Involved: Establish an After-School Routine

This will not only save you time but can be used to teach your children how to stay organized and responsible at home. An example of an after-school routine could be:

Notices, newsletters, schedules, upcoming events, and anything that needs to be signed, completed, or created should be placed in mom’s designated inbox for school paperwork.
Homework that needs to be done should be placed in mom’s action box.
Artwork, awards, and report cards can be pinned up on a wall, or displayed temporarily on the fridge.

Whatever your routine looks like, make sure it works for you and your family. Just be sure to get your kids involved in the process of organizing paperwork.

Temporary Art Gallery

As a proud mom, sometimes you can’t help but want to display your little Picasso’s pieces of art. Reuse old frames, tap into your DIY skills, and hang them up for a week.

If you really want to keep them long term, digitize and get rid of the originals. Yes, they’ll be cute to look at in a couple decades when they’re all grown up, but I guarantee the originals won’t last that long—and they’ll take up much-needed space!

Schedule Frequent Cleanups

Sometimes life gets hectic and despite our best efforts, school paperwork still piles up. Stay on top of it by scheduling one day each week or month (whatever works for you) to get rid of all the paperwork you no longer need or that is no longer valid.

Make this a family cleanup day—it’s another opportunity to get the kids involved in the organization and cleanup process!

Life Hacks: Consistency is Key

Life hacks are all about making small changes; and when it comes to organizing your kids’ school paperwork, staying consistent is key. These small changes are designed to make your life easier in the long run, and let’s face it—as moms, we could use all the life hacks we can get!

Take the time to implement these small changes, saving yourself time in the long run—moments that could be better spent on some me time (you deserve it)!

Family Holidays Work at Home

A Mom’s Guide to Being Present During the Holidays

The holiday season can be overwhelming for many of us as we juggle our various commitments to work, family, and hosting. After all, as working moms, our daily schedules are already never ending! While some of us are lucky enough to have helpful kids, spouses, and in-laws, chances are that mom’s still doing more than her fair share of the holiday prep.

With so much on our plates, it’s no wonder that some of us get a bit overwhelmed during what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year.

Take a deep breath and remember: Your time and love is the most valuable gift of all. The best thing that you can do for your family and other loved ones during this holiday season is to be present as much as possible and take care of yourself. It’s hard to accept that no holiday will be “perfect,” but it really is true that the little quirks and imperfections are what make each of our families unique and loveable.

Follow these tips to help you be more present during this especially meaningful time of year and ensure that this season will be fun, joyous, and truly memorable for all—especially you!

1. Set Your Intentions

It’s particularly important to prioritize things during the holiday season. After all, there can be so many fun events to take the kiddos to, so many gifts to buy, and so many meals to cook that it’s impossible to do everything! Instead of trying to fit it all in, take a few moments to figure out the three events and/or traditions that your kids, spouse, and you enjoy the most.
Whether it’s the community holiday parade, the school Christmas pageant, caroling with friends, or just a fun night of Christmas cookie baking, try to make sure that there’s at least one thing that each family member enjoys. While it’s likely that no one will get to do everything on their list, chances are that by considering each family member’s wishes, no one will end up dissatisfied.

As for gifts, while you will likely put more thought and money into gifts for your immediate family, there’s no rule that says you can’t institute a White Elephant gift exchange or even a Secret Santa system for groups of friends or extended family. This practice can add a sense of whimsy to your holidays while helping all of us avoid the post-Christmas credit card hangover.

2. Keep Up With Healthy Routines

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a Christmas cookie (or two!). However, by keeping up with some healthy routines – or modifying routines to maintain some health benefits – you ensure that you (and the kids!) can physically and mentally handle all that the season has to offer. Your usually healthy practices may change dramatically this time of year, especially with holiday breaks for the kids, which is perfectly fine!

The good news is that there are fun ways to modify your healthy routines in moderation so that you and your family don’t get completely off-track during these fun-filled weeks. Take these scenarios, for example:
• Do you usually run to the gym after dropping the kids at school? Instead, let yourself get your exercise sledding or ice skating with the family over winter break.
• Used to eating salad and avoiding having sweets in the house? Don’t deny yourself that slice of pie, just make sure to eat a few extra veggies to even things out.
• Not sure how to handle all the down time with the kids? Go for a family walk around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights – you’ll tire them out and get a little exercise at the same time!

This commitment to your holistic health will not only keep you feeling good (and ready for New Year’s resolutions) but also show your kids that health and wellness are consistent family values.

3. Give Yourself Free Time

Even if you need to literally write it into your day planner, make sure to allow yourself some “me time” during this busy season. Maybe just decide to spend an inordinate amount of time “wrapping gifts” in front of the TV or enjoying your favorite podcast. Or head out shopping but treat yourself to your favorite holiday drink on the way home.

Many of us may initially feel selfish by taking such time to ourselves, but remember that you don’t do your family any good if you’re grumpy and burnt out! Simply being well rested and energized will make you more fun to be around and elevate the mood of your loved ones.

4. Nurture Gratitude

In her classic novel, The Color Purple, Alice Walker offers the perfect remedy to frustration and gloom. Two of her characters cross through a field of flowers every day on their way to work until, one day, one of them suddenly realizes that these blossoms are actually a beautiful purple color. All throughout their lives, they had seen this gorgeous detail without ever really noticing it.

This story reminds us that we are surrounded by wonder and beauty. There are so many things to be grateful for, and this is especially true during the holiday season—whether it’s a classic Christmas song on the radio, some ridiculously cute wrapping paper, your child’s delight at holiday decorations, or even the joy of indulging in hot cocoa with marshmallows, there truly is infinite beauty in the details.

5. Find Joy in the Imperfections

As much as we try to convince ourselves otherwise, no matter how far in advance we plan and no matter how hard we try, something is bound to go wrong this holiday season. Someone is going to bring up politics or religion at a family event (I’m looking at you, Dave!). One of the gifts will likely get tagged for the wrong person. And, in our rush to cook everything, we may even forget to add eggs to the Christmas cookies.

Chances are, this holiday season is going to be far from perfect in a million tiny ways because, after all, to err is human! Allow yourself these small failures—that is, allow yourself to be an imperfect mom. Because, in reality, no one really remembers the disappointment of burnt turkey five years down the road when they have the memory of everyone laughing the mistake off and ordering Chinese afterward (a new holiday tradition?!).

Take a moment to think back to your favorite holiday memories. While, sure, they may involve a fabulous new bike or an adorable puppy, chances are that you cherish the moments spent learning to ride that bike with your dad or taking the dog for a walk with your mom more than the object itself. You may even remember the look of pride on your parents’ faces—joy from the fact that they were able to make you happy.

The fact is, we really can’t buy or cook or decorate our way to happiness—the real present lies in simply being present for our families and loved ones. Spending time together is what makes this season truly magical. Happy holidays!

Family Loving Your Children Work at Home

5 Secrets to Loving Your Children More (In Their Eyes)

You might consider yourself a genuinely caring mother, but do your kids think so?

As a mother, chances are you constantly worry about the safety and overall wellbeing of your children – you would go to the ends of the earth for them. Motherhood isn’t easy, but at the end of the day it’s a beautiful thing and well worth all the hardship that comes with it – because you love your children. And while you may think that the love you have for your kids is obvious, you may not be communicating it to them as well as you think.

Oftentimes, the way that we perceive ourselves as parents versus how our kids perceive us is completely different. Part of loving our children is knowing what love means to them. Are you speaking their language when it comes to love and affection? Read on for 5 secrets to communicating your love in ways that your children will understand.

Becoming More in Tune with Your Children’s Emotional Needs

1. Get to Know Your Child

How well do you really know your child? Part of being a parent is accepting the fact that whether you like it or not, there are just some things your child will never tell you, even if you have a great relationship with them. How many times have you heard the response, “Fine” after asking them how their day was at school? As mothers, we may get so tied up in trying to take care of our children that we lose focus on the details of their lives.

Take some time each day to sit down with them and have an engaging chat. You could ask them questions such as:
• What’s your favorite thing to do?
• What makes you happy?
• What scares you the most?
• What do look for in a friend?

You may think that you can predict their answers, but they just might surprise you. This simple exercise can help you discover things about your child that you probably didn’t know. The more you know about them, the more you’ll understand them (and let’s face it, we don’t always understand our children). This in turn will help you express your love in ways that they’re most receptive to.

2. Encourage Self-Expression

Meltdowns can be difficult to deal with, but you should welcome them nonetheless. Your child needs to learn to express their emotions; if left unprocessed, these raw feelings could begin to drive their behavior in unhealthy ways.

Although meltdowns are tough to stomach for any parent, be patient and try to discover the fear (or other emotions) that lies behind the anger. In time, your child will know that they can trust you with their emotions and will feel closer to you as a result. Just remember to control how you express your own emotions in front of your child – the way you react could dictate whether they feel comfortable coming to you with problems or fears in the future. Remember, you can always go scream into a pillow or cry a few tears later in solitude.

3. Pay Attention to How You Speak

Oftentimes, children pay more attention to how you say something instead of what you’re actually saying. As a mother, your words can have a lifelong effect on your children’s feelings and actions – whether you are disciplining, giving advice, or simply having a spontaneous chat.

Your message may be great, but your child may misinterpret it or might not hear it at all if your delivery is off. Yelling, snapping at them, or even making a disgusted, angry, or disappointed face might have a significant negative impact on them. If your child shares something upsetting with you – say they got a ‘D’ on their math test – curb your immediate reaction and think about how you want to respond first. Try to read their emotions to gauge how they’re feeling, and allow that to guide your response. If they already seem upset and frustrated by their poor grade, try to validate their feelings of frustration and focus on a solution instead of dwelling on their poor performance.

Rather than yell at your child or immediately punish them – which will likely trigger them to shut down emotionally, acknowledge their poor performance but emphasize the fact that you know that they would like to do better. This approach will communicate that you care about them, that you’re on their team, and you’ll find a solution together. Remember, when you know your child and take the time to read their cues, you’ll become better at communicating with them in a way that they will understand and that they will perceive as love.

4. Support and Empathy

Part of loving your children is being emotionally supportive, which involves different practices. These include:
• Listening with intent. Pay attention and give your child time when he or she is expressing their emotions or telling you a story. This shows respect for their thoughts and feelings and boosts their confidence.
• Being consistent. If you say you’ll do something, follow through. If you have a routine with your child, stick to that routine. Is Thursday night movie night? Put it in your calendar and don’t schedule anything else for Thursday evenings. Did you say you’d make it to their soccer game on Saturday? Make it a priority to show up. This helps your child know that they can count on you.

As an adult, have you ever had a conversation with a loved one that made you wish that they could see things from your point of view or understand your feelings? Essentially, you’re asking for empathy. Your children require the same of you.

5. Show Up

Children need to know that they’re a priority. Whether you’re working in the corporate world or a work-at-home mom, one of the most important things you can do for your children is to show up. The basketball games, school plays, and even one-on-one quality time – if your children remember nothing else, they will definitely remember that you were there for them. You may not be able to do it every time, but don’t make the mistake of being half-present throughout their childhood – your absence is one trend that they’re sure to take note of.

Loving Your Children Through Their Eyes

Everyone gives, receives, and recognizes love in different ways – especially children. Take the time to get to know and understand your children. They will notice. Who knows, they might just surprise you in the best way.

Corporate Family Women Work at Home

What are Corporate Women Seeking? Balance!

It’s tough being a mom and excelling in the corporate sphere without compromising on family time. Let’s face it, when you have a high-pressure job and a team of people depending on you, missed family dinners, arriving home after bedtime, and traveling often—even over the holidays—often become the norm despite your best efforts otherwise. Before you know it, the work-life balance you were striving for goes out the window! That’s why more women today are leaving corporate America and opting to work from home.

We get it: Being a mom is more than just a full-time job, it requires you to be on-call and readily available 24/7—to nurse your children during that unexpected 24-hour flu, pick them up from a sleepover when they get homesick before the “sleep” part happens, stay up late with them to finish their science fair project—the list goes on. We also understand that most of us can’t just quit a six-figure corporate position with all its perks to stay home full-time and bring in zero dollars in income. That won’t support your family’s needs either!

Working from home is an amazing alternative to a full-time corporate job that actually allows you that balance that you’ve been seeking for so long. While working in your PJ’s may sound appealing (at least for the short term—trust us, it gets old after a while!), there’s a lot more to look forward to when you’re a work-at-home mom.

1. Set Your Own Schedule

Gone are the days of the 9 to 5 (usually longer) routine that forces you to miss out on your children’s lives. This time, you set your own working hours. This may not necessarily mean that your days will be shorter, but it does mean that you are now flexible enough to work at whatever time suits you best without compromising on family time. Are you a night owl? Well, now you can get in a 4-hour chunk of work during your peak hours after the kids are tucked in bed!

2. Work-Life Balance

With flexibility comes the work-life balance we all strive towards. The corporate world may cater to your career goals, but at what cost? As a work-at-home mom, you’ll not only be able to provide for your family financially, but you’ll have the time to focus on your family and yourself as well. Success is not only measured by your position on the corporate ladder, but by other aspects of your life—such as family, self-care, and friendship. Not to mention how you feel about yourself at the end of the day. Let go of that mom guilt once and for all!

3. Be Your Own Boss

Fed up with taking orders from someone day in and day out? As a work-at-home mom you call the shots. The skills you developed in the corporate world may still apply, but being your own boss forces you to develop a new set of skills that come with having to make decisions on your own, and that in itself can be very fulfilling. As the one who calls the shots, you’ll soon find yourself making swifter and smarter decisions, and you’ll develop savvier leadership skills. Plus, there’s the added bonus of being able to take time off whenever you want and not having to answer to anyone but yourself. That’s one perk that most women in the corporate sector cannot claim!

4. Potential for Limitless Income

No matter how hard you work and how far up the corporate ladder you climb, there will always be a limit to your income. Working from home eliminates these limitations. The harder and smarter you work, the higher your potential earnings. You can be a great mom and create financial independence at the same time. Break that glass ceiling!

5. Prove the Naysayers Wrong

“Moms have a hard time being entrepreneurs.” WRONG! Being an entrepreneur isn’t always easy, regardless of whether you’re a mom or not. But did you know that you actually have a better chance of being a successful entrepreneur because you’re a mom? Here’s why:

• Your children become your motivation. Once you have kids, your focus shifts. You don’t only have yourself to think about—you have to provide for your children, and that changes the game. Additionally, you have less time and probably less money to waste on things that aren’t important. This makes you more focused and more determined.
• Children force you to become more organized. Sometimes “winging it” doesn’t cut it. As a mom, you have to be on top of things, and that means keeping things in order. This skill will naturally filter into your work as well.

Are you considering leaving the corporate world to enjoy the balance of working from home? At Moms Making Six Figures, our priority is helping working moms take that step towards their dreams. For more information about getting started on the path to balance and fulfillment in your life, call us at (858) 837-1505, or visit our website at momsmakingsixfigures.com.

Family Finance Work

Self-Limiting Beliefs

When I decided to walk away from my corporate job 2 years ago, I honestly thought the hardest part would be finding clients. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but after 15 years in the corporate environment working at both big and small companies, I thought I was well prepared to take on a new challenge and start my next chapter as a business owner.
Throughout my corporate career I found myself attracted to those who had worked for well-known corporations with notable educational backgrounds. I felt many of those high-level managers had a real “it” factor, and I aspired to be like them.
The biggest obstacle of being out on my own was simply changing my mind set. I had to let go of the corporate insecurities to be able to build my brand. I had picked up some deep-rooted beliefs from the corporate world.
Credibility
I felt a lot less important without the business card of a well-known company and big job title on it. I went from being wined and dined, continually sought after for business, to…well, I was now the one attending networking events looking for prospective new clients. My how quickly the tables had turned! Though I began to question my professional self-worth, I decided there was no other option than to honor myself and my personal brand. I reminded myself daily – “I am knowledgeable, creditable, and can add value to the lives of my clients.” I began reading books, listening to all the personal development/motivational greats like Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar and Suze Orman to help shift my mindset.
What is My Worth
Working inside the walls of a major corporation afforded me many luxuries – healthy salary, benefits, expense accounts, airfare mileage, hotel points, complimentary upgrades, etc. I hadn’t paid for a vacation in years due to the countless perks I had at my disposal to cash in on. I was always aware of my market value, as it wasn’t uncommon for a recruiter to reach out to me a couple of times per year pitching me on a new opportunity. 
I knew I would be walking away from these added luxuries, but didn’t realize how envious I would be the first time I walked through first class and thought, “that used to be me,” as I headed to my seat in coach. I had to stop using the monetary metrics I had picked up from corporate America. This was definitely more challenging to overcome than I had expected, but for once I was truly happy; my decision to work for myself provided me the opportunity to finally be the mother and wife I had always envisioned myself being. I was now in control; I actually owned my time. I could head to Costco at 10:00 am on a Wednesday and avoid all the crazy lines. I could go on a field trip with my daughter without having to use a trumped up story with my boss. I could attend a fitness class in the middle of the day and come home and use my own shower rather than the bacteria breeding grounds…err, I mean, the gym showers. I could make business decisions without going through several managerial layers for approval. Even with the new-found advantage, it is still often challenging to maintain my mind-set (i.e. that the “lifestyle wealth” outweighs the material wealth. I am in best shape of my life, I am present for those I love, the work I am doing is meaningful and I am truly helping others find their greatness. In addition, I know that I am making significant progress daily toward equaling the material wealth I had before I left oppressive corporate life.
Measured by My Title
My title drove where I sat on the corporate ladder and from a young age, I worked hard to be close to the top (versus standing at the bottom staring up). I felt my job title was a direct reflection of my success. Shortly after I had left the corporate environment, I celebrated with a friend who was promoted to Vice President of a large corporation and, as she was telling me about all of the luxuries the new title came with, I remember driving home that night feeling slight disappointment that I was no longer on the management fast-track. In that moment though, I realized just how much I had allowed my position on the corporate ladder to become the measure of my success. I knew I couldn’t let this false measuring stick hold me back any more and that it was no longer valid (if it ever had been). I had to find new, more meaningful methods to measure my success, like: 
- Do I have quality time with those I love?
- Do I feel good about the person I have become?
- Do I have the ability to accomplish my goals and live my mission? 

I encourage you to learn from my struggle and skip to the fun part of developing your own questions to measure your success. We may not have the fancy corner office or the big title any more, but it doesn’t matter because those anchors of the corporate world no longer drag me down or have any bearing on my perceived success. I still work hard, sure, but I do so on my terms. I make good money, and it’s getting closer to great money every day. But most importantly, I am an available mom to my two young daughters and a loving wife to my husband—and that is priceless.
If you are contemplating stepping out on your own, contact one of our mentors at Mom’s Making Six Figures so we can share our experiences and help you begin your journey toward true success.

Family

Importance of YOU Time & How to Make It a Priority

If I am being honest, I’ve been pretty terrible at this for the last few weeks. Those who know me well, or those that follow me on Facebook would tell you one of my favorite things to do is take walks on the beach, often documented by a beautiful photo of what brought me great peace in that moment. Many would also tell you that I have a long list of friends who will comment on that post – to please add me to you list to join you next time. Yet, I never reach out. You see, this is what I call ME time. It’s important. It centers me. I collect my thoughts, I replay conversations or arguments from home that morning. I set goals, plans – you could say that some of my best ideas and moments of clarity come from having a clear head on my walks. ME time helps me to refresh, reset and recharge.

So, why have I allowed something that is so important to fall off of my list of priorities the last few weeks? IT’S CALLED LIFE. We happened to have had a flood at our house and I’ve been dealing with Insurance companies, contractors and plumbers. Many mornings, I will wait for hours when they never show on time – so why haven’t I taken charge of my calendar? Truth is, I find if derailed for even a couple of days, I then fall into the pattern of not making ME a priority and I feel OUT OF BALANCE. So how do I get it back?

new-blog-2
Heres some tips:

1.) YOU time MUST be calendared. Fixed in your schedule, and non negotiable.
2.) Find what drives you. Maybe you don’t live near a beach, maybe its a hike, a manicure, a blow dry, an awesome workout. Find the one thing thats JUST YOURS and DO it.
3.) Come to terms with the fact that the one hour away from your kids, your life and work will make you a better YOU and that one hour lost will help you be much more efficient and present the other 23 hours of the day.
4.) UNPLUG….I often see others on SOLO beach walks talking on the phone, texting or listening to music. I will bring my phone but try my best to keep in a zipped pocket. Talking, texting – even the music fills your head and totally counteracts what you are there for in the first place. Listen to nature listen to your thoughts.
5.) Be comfortable being ALONE. There is a difference between being ALONE and LONELY. I used to be that mom who had to constantly be with someone, uncomfortable to have a table at a restaurant for a “party of 1” – it’s HEALTHY.

I’ve got my ME time BOOKED. I will get back on track starting today and I will be better for it. So will my work and my family. What about YOU? Find that ONE thing that brings you joy. Make it count. MAKE YOU A PRIORITY. Your kids will notice.