Archive for the ‘For Mums’ Category

A reason for mums to sit down whilst kids are entertained!!

March 13, 2009

Right now I SHOULD be getting my daughter ready for school and changing my son’s nappy but I’m blogging instead!  I know that once I get up and start being domestic that I won’t see this computer again for at least 12 hours and there is something I wanted to do first!

As you know, Time Management Mum is about the MUM, not kid focused (although they do play a part of course!!) so I was keen to tell you about a new way to put your feet up for an hour or so whilst the kids are occupied, as we all deserve a sit down from time to time!

If you have pre school age children, you will no doubt have heard of ‘In the Night Garden’.  Well the people who create this TV show have brought out a movie which is showing at Picture House Cinemas across the UK where you pay £3 for a child entry, you get in free and the child gets a toy too!  Double whammy!

in-the-night-garden

The screenings run from 20 March to 2 April and you can check local cinemas and times at the website: www.inthenightgarden.co.uk

PLUS, if you are London based, you could get to go for free if you are a mummy-blogger!  The screening is on 20th March and you should join the British Mummy Bloggers social network and you can find out more there.

I love the cinema as it really is a valid excuse to sit, eat chocolate and do nothing for an hour or so and the kids are happy whilst you are doing it!!

Now, if only I could get a free screening to see the gorgeous Owen Wilson in Marley and Me…..

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Go ahead…. make my day!

March 12, 2009

Ok, so it’s not the best title for a blog post as you’ll probably be thinking of cowboys shooting each other right now!

However I got a comment about my blog yesterday which made my day!

Lisa said:

Hi there, I follow your blog on mine. Its really good reading and brightens my day when I need a pick me up, which at the moment is quite often seeing as I am launching my own website and looking after a 9 month old who is teething and testing his boundaries (and my patience) – hey ho, wouldn’t have it any other way though. Thanks for helping me stay sane!

I thought that was lovely and it really made me think how us mothers need each other – we know the isolation that can sometimes come with being at home all day with young babies and being able to read something or communicate with someone on an adult level who knows what we’re going through is life saving!!  I used to enjoy reading The Times blog Alpha Mummy for this reason!

If you are a Mummy-blogger (and there are more of us out there now!) join the British Mummy Bloggers social group which was started by Susanna who writes the blog A Modern Mother.  I’m on there!  Blogging is a great way to connect to other like-minded mums and provides a creative outlet for your skills at a time when creativity becomes a scarce commodity!  How many different ways are there to change a nappy!

I enjoy blogging and I love comments so feel free to let me know what you think about this blog.  All comments posted are moderated so they won’t appear straightaway, but they will be approved ASAP.

Have a great day!

Happy ‘International Women’s Day’!

March 8, 2009

Today (8th March) is International Women’s Day! Yay!

It’s a Sunday so it’s been a nice day to spend with the family and we all went swimming followed by dinner out where I had a cheesecake! (My fave)!

I have been thinking a lot about women this weekend (!) because yesterday I was at a women’s empowerment day in York which celebrated womens lives, helped us to see how we could turn the things around in life that aren’t helping us and generally how to get the life you want!  It was a personal development day and there was some real energy in the room.  There was a stage with lights and sound, then a band came on and played some toe tapping tunes including one of my favourites “Here come the girls”.

After the band were two keynote speakers and both of them had me in tears!  They were very inspirational women with great messages about owning your situation and proactively doing something about it.  I’m of this opinion anyway so it was nice to be in the company of like-minded women!

We all got a goody bag with some beauty freebies and there were chocolate truffles and sparkling pear and grape juice on tap throughout!  At the end of the day they broke out the bubbly and the ‘After Eight’ mints and we all had a cheeky sip to finish the event before heading home.  I loved meeting some fantastic women and having a day that was just for me!

I came home to remind my hubby that it’s Mothers Day in 2 weeks and that I want our kids (ie: him!) to get me a Flip Camcorder Tripod so I can take steady video instead of the wobble I currently get when recording!  Our oldest child is a 6 year old so he’ll have to buy the prezzie with his credit card online.  She doesn’t know how to do this yet but I’m sure it won’t be long till she does.  She can already turn on the laptop, log in and open up the internet browser and get it onto the Playhouse Disney website!  We’ll have to watch out when she starts taking an interest in shopping websites rather than just cartoon ones!

It’s just another Manic Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…..

March 6, 2009

If you are a mum in her 30’s like me you are bound to recognise the song referred to in the title!  I used to love The Bangles!  It has been a very manic week this week!  Have a look at my diary from yesterday!my-diary-050309It looks scruffy but this was all things ‘to do’ and once I’d done the job I had to scribble the task out so it didn’t distract me!

Have a look at today and tomorrow…

my-diary-060309

I hope I haven’t got a record of my period written on here or any embarrassing confessions!

Anyway, this week has been really stacked and I’ve got loads of great blog content from the week – I just need time to blog about it!

Tomorrow (Saturday) I’m out all day at a womens event – it is work (research) but it should be fun too!  I really want a day off on Sunday – just a lie in and a read of the papers in bed – let’s see if I get it!

What will make your ideal weekend?….

The Calm ‘After’ the Storm!

March 2, 2009

Aah, let me take a second to enjoy the silence – my 18 month old is asleep on the sofa having worn himself out chucking his toys around the living room and my 6 year old is at school!  Finally, I get some time to catch up!

This morning I dropped the balls – big time.  Do you ever find that being a busy mum with loads of projects you seem to run just to stay still?  Well on Friday I handed over the manuscript of my book to the publishers and breathed a sigh of relief!  I’ve been working on it for months and haven’t had a weekend off since Christmas so after getting this biggie off my ‘To Do’ list, I had a cheeky glass (bottle) of Asti to celebrate.  This is quite a ‘drinking binge’ for me as I rarely have a drink and can get hammered on 2 halves of lager!  Anyway, major deadline met, my body decided to pack in.  I’d been running on adrenaline for so long that I started to lose my voice, get a runny nose and get tired.  I even went back to bed on Sunday afternoon for a few hours and still fell asleep that evening at my usual time of about 9 o clock (party animal I am so not!)

So this morning we are all getting ready for school when my 6 year old starts dragging her heels.  She just got some cooking game for the Nintendo DS and wants to play on that rather than get ready so I’m trying to get her motivated with a series of tricks: gentle cajoling to start, then appealing to her competitive spirit “I can get ready faster than you”, followed by bribery, threats to remove stars from the Good Girl Chart and ending up in losing my rag!  She eventually got ready and then it was ‘battle of the breakfasts’.  She wanted ‘pain au chocolate’ and we had 2 left over from the weekend so they both had one each, cut into quarters.  The boy happily sat in the highchair and munched away.  The girl threw a strop because hers had been cut into quarters.  Give me strength!

I had said earlier that she could ride her bike to school because I wanted to jog with the boy in the buggy.  I have 4 stone to lose now to get back to pre ‘second baby’ weight so being a Time Management Mum, I thought i’d be effective with my time and kill two birds with one stone.  Do the school run (literally!) and get some exercise.  Anyway the breakfast battles had set us back so we had to go in the car instead to get there on time, prompting another tantrum!  My head was pounding and I just lost it.  After getting them both in the car and all the various book bags, PE Kits, dinner money, permission slips, buggy and hats, coats, gloves etc, I was still hearing whining from the back so I shouted “SHUUUUT UUUUPPPP”!

Instant silence! I should do it more often but then I think it’d lose its effectiveness.

I’d been racing round all morning, the house looked like a bomb had hit it and I still had a days’ worth of work to do.  Anyway, a peaceful drive to school ensued and we must have looked like the ‘perfect family’ getting out of the car and walking to the classroom door.  My daughter had forgotten what she was whining about and once she saw her mates, it was ‘social butterfly’ time!  It made me think – how many of the other parents who looked ‘normal’ had been embroiled in a war just 10 minutes before!  Actually, I don’t think they’d be normal if they didn’t have the occasional morning like this one.  There’s absolutely no such thing as the ‘perfect’ family and people are lying if they say there is!

So one task sorted, my rest of the day looks like this: Now the manuscript is done, I have to attend to my other business areas, plus entertain the boy all day, sort out my mountain of washing and remove all the furniture from the living and dining room as the carpet cleaner is coming tomorrow (Yippee!)  I used to have a showhome you know.  Pre kids!  I don’t know how I was so finickity – I couldn’t relax if a picture was hung on the wall wonky.  I’ve had to relax my standards.  A lot.  But at least my home has ‘life’ now.  I’ve also got to get old baby clothes and toys ready for the NCT Nearly New Sale in a few weeks (I’m having a good clear out and can’t wait to have the extra room!)

Calm reigns, for now anyway.  In just over two hours I have to collect the girl from school, then the fun starts again!  But I’ll tell you something – I can get more done in this two hour window that I ever used to be able to before I had the kids.  They’ve trained me up – I was just organised before.  I’m uber – SAS style – hyper plate spinner organised now!  In fact, Once I’ve finished this post, I am getting my work blog sorted, getting my expenses paid from the BBC, making a dentist appointment, administering a new client, creating my autoresponder follow ups for Virtual Assistants who subscribe to my information feed and getting the stack of papers on my dining room table filed into my office (these were only the weekends’ paperwork).  Let’s see if I can crack that in two hours…..

xx

You’re already a Supermummy – here’s how to be a ‘Mumpreneur’ too!…

March 1, 2009

I love getting parcels in the post, and this week I got one containing a brand new book which launches this month!

This book is aimed at mums who have just started or are thinking of starting a business, as it has lots of tips and information for coming up with a business idea and promoting this new venture. One thing I always look for as a business mum, is advice from people who ‘walk the talk’. I’m quite choosy about who I listen to just because I want to know that if you are telling me a way to do something, that you understand what it is like to be in my shoes, and this book doesn’t disappoint on that score. The writer, Mel McGee obviously writes from experience, knowing the little barriers that many mums put up to stop themselves from achieving great things, and Mel shows you how to remove them. There are some really powerful messages in the book around stopping limiting beliefs, something I’ve had to deal with in my past as a Mumpreneur and I know many Mumpreneur friends have too.

The book starts by building the reader’s confidence that they can start a business and the chapters are sprinkled with ‘Supertips’ to help you along the way. One message that rings out loud and clear from the book is that nothing is achieved without ACTION! And I fully agree – ideas are great but it is putting them into action that makes the money.

Even if you don’t have a business idea but are thinking that you’d like to start a business, then this book gives you some useful exercises to get started and help you create your money making idea

I really liked the tip about trying out your sales message on your kids or your mum. If they can understand the benefits of your business, you’ve cracked it! This is a great way to check that you are delivering the right message to your potential clients and getting to the point quickly and coherently. I worked in marketing for more than a decade before starting up my business as a Virtual Assistant and have never heard it said quite so succinctly before!

All in all, a very practical book loaded with advice. If you are looking for both a guide-book on starting a business and a cheerleader to encourage you along the way, this book is it!

It’s available from Amazon – check it out: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Supermummy-Ultimate-Mumpreneurs-Business-Success/dp/1905430515

Five stars:

….. And the winner is…..

February 27, 2009

Terry Anne!

Terry Anne’s “Me Time” was inspired – it consisted of bubbles, massages and music! Absolute bliss!!

If you missed it, here was Terry Anne’s post:

“My me time has all year round availability. I venture out of the door into the garden and indulge in the 102degrees warmth of the hot tub.

I can relax quietly, listen to the CD player or have a massage with the various water jets.

The added bonus for me is that when in or around water I become very creative, so I often have “light bulb” moments and come up with great new ideas for my business.

Twenty minutes indulgence and I feel like I have had a weeks holiday and ready to face the world again. Bliss!!!”

Terry Anne wins a fabulous ‘Busy Book’ – a fashion led loose leaf planner to diarise her busy life!  It’s on its way Terry Anne – well done!

Ladies, I loved all of your ideas (except perhaps the Sudoku on the toilet – sorry Sam but it reminded me of my hubby who takes the paper to the loo and it drives me mad!!)    🙂

However if you really wanted your own exclusive Busy Book, you can still get one for £39.99 here.

Keep reading Time Management Mum because in the coming weeks I’m re-launching with a fantastic new blog design and will have some great Guest Bloggers, special features for busy mums and more competitions!  Watch this space!

I’m having the whole weekend as ‘Me’ Time now because I’ve just handed my book over to the publishers and this will be my first weekend off in months!  I’m also going to see the Live X Factor show with my daughter tomorrow!!!  Catch you later hot mamas!

Nadine – the Time Management Mum

xx

How to bribe – ahem – ‘Incentivise’ the kids!

February 27, 2009

As any ‘business mum’ knows, when you have babies you get to learn lots of new skills that don’t involve your brain (like learning how to erect a Travel System – this used to vex me!)  So when you can use some of your savvy business skills when it comes to your kids, it’s like the ‘Supergirl’ putting on her cape!  You can rediscover your “don’t mess with me” side and remind yourself that ‘pre-kids’ you did lead a team of people, or juggled multiple ‘kick ass’ projects or just that you used to actually have business cards with your name on them!

My 6 year old has now moved into the discipline territory of ‘good girl charts’ with stickers rewarded for effort but my 18 month old is coming up to the stage where I can use the “Lucky Treat Box” to teach him that good behaviour will get him a ‘dip’ into the box for a new toy!  The “Lucky Treat Box” was named by my daughter.  I called it a ‘lucky dip’, my hubby called it a ‘treat’, so my daughter christened it a “Lucky Treat”!  But essentially what it consists of is a large wicker basket that I keep in the cupboard with the ‘Happy Meal’ toys from McDonalds in it!  I’m sure some of my friends think I’m tight, but I believe a trip to McDonalds is a treat enough, without getting a toy for it too.  So when we go there, I confiscate the toy from the Happy Meal box and put it straight into the Lucky Treat Box so it can be used to ‘incentivise’ good behaviour later on.

Whenever I need to get my child to ‘make the right decision’ concerning their behaviour, I remind them that they can have a dip in the Lucky Treat Box which seems to work more often than not!  The Lucky Treat Box hasn’t cost me anything to procure as we’d have been eating the Happy Meal anyway, and it is always greeted with excitement when it comes out – as the toys which they’ve glanced at then forgotten, are tantalisingly still encased in their new cellophane packing and are ready to be picked!  Not only is it a good behaviour incentiviser, the Lucky Treat Box is also useful for making up ‘party bags’ at birthday time and for if a little friend comes round for tea it makes a sweet ‘going home’ present for them to have a dip.

The only trouble with it is that stock needs to be kept up which isn’t so good for the waistline(!) but I started the box when my girl was 18 months old and she got the occasional trip to McDonalds as a treat and at that age, she had no idea that you also got a toy with the meal so she never knew that I was secretly building up a ‘bribery stash’ over time!

I have to say, if I ever pop to Maccy D’s just for me, for an ‘on the go lunch’, I never get a proper ‘adult’ meal.  I get a Happy Meal so I can put the toy in the stash.  Good thing my back seat car windows are blacked out so it isn’t really obvious that there’s no child with me!!

Has anyone else found a useful method of incentivising good behaviour?

The plumbing – puh-lease!

February 25, 2009

What a week is all I can say!

We’ve had pathetic plumbing in our house for the last few years – absolutely no ‘power’ in our shower!  But this week has got to be the worst.  On a world stage we’ve had the Oscars and as an ex fashion student, I tend to take an interest.  I watch more what they are wearing rather than who wins what but I have to say, it’s quite fitting that ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ did so well because it felt like we were living in the slums yesterday without clean running water!

My husband decided on Monday that he would drain the whole system to force all the air in the pipes out, then re-fill the house again which should improve our water pressure.  We get cold water ok so are having plenty of cold showers, and when we bathe the kids, it takes ages as we’re boiling kettles to get the warmth, I don’t mind this too much, it reminds me of my youth when my mum did this on occasion as we didn’t always have ‘the immersion’ on.  But my hubby had decided enough was enough, so instead of plentiful cold running water, instead he ended up draining the tank, leaking our son’s bedroom and having to buy a new valve instead!

I got the kids up yesterday morning and nothing was coming out of the tap.  At a push, the toddler can have a ‘wet wipe’ clean for just one day, but our daughter had school and I had a business meeting, and we both looked as though we’d been sleeping in the mosh pit!

I got the kids up and took them to Grandma’s in their pyjamas.  They both had a lovely bath and my daughter was clean and well turned out for school.  I on the other hand, looked like I’d been at Glastonbury for 3 days so I had to get in at the hairdressers for a blow dry (with the straighteners!) At least I looked glam when I was at my business meeting!  The kids enjoyed bathing at Grandma’s for a change and I was so grateful to her for both the help and for not judging me when I rolled up in my scruffs with the kids in their PJs at 7.30am yesterday morning!

With Mother’s Day coming up I wanted to spare a thought to our mums, who do the very best job in the world, just as we are doing for our kids.  I have to tell you an incredible story though.  As I’ve mentioned before, my blog is being re-designed with a fresh new look and I’m moving blogging platforms very soon.  My awesome designer is April Durham, and she writes the blog April Showers.  She has just posted an amazing story about her mum – you can read it here.  If you feel you can help in any way then please do!  I have paid in advance for my blog design and given a donation and I’m pretty sure that I will use April’s talents again in the future, as I have another project brewing (once a business mum, always a business mum!!)

The newsflash on the plumbing fiasco is that it didn’t work, so we’re back to square one except that I have a ton more washing to do because hubby used my decent towels to mop up the leak on the floor, instead of old rags.  Genius!  I can’t be mad though as it’s his birthday today and we’re off to Nando’s.

How to juggle without dropping the baby!

February 17, 2009

Busy mums everywhere know the juggling act that is working and keeping a home whilst raising a small family.  Fortunately at the Time Management Mum blog, my Guest Bloggers and I are (hopefully!) providing some great time management tips and observations, embedded in some humour and at the very least, provide you with some affinity!  (Did you read my blog post about the eyebrows and the bikini wax?)

So this post from America made me smile.  Well, actually before I smiled I sat up straighter and felt I was being told off – and I never even have the TV on!

Modern business mums have enough to do, and this writer says that we are maybe spending too much time on personal calls or personal errands in ‘work time’.  However as you ‘Mumpreneurs’ know, work time is personal time and personal time is work time.  Look at Guest Blogger Sarah Ainslie’s recent post – her title has it spot on!  For a lot of us, we became business mums so we’d have some flexibility over our schedule so technically, whilst it may be between the hours of 9am and 5pm, I might nip to the supermarket or put a wash load on.  Otherwise, it won’t get done!

So what advice can business mums out there take, which recognises their actual real life circumstances?  here’s the lowdown on how to juggle without dropping the baby!

  • MOST IMPORTANT: First, take care of you.  You are the kingpin upon which the whole family revolves.  If you don’t do a lot of the tasks, they usually won’t get done.  Be sure to allocate some ‘me’ time into your day
  • Multitask like crazy!  When you are doing a ‘mindless’ task like sorting the washing or cooking dinner, use that time to engage your brain too by having a conversation with the kids and catching up on their day.  Do only one thing at a time when it is essential that you are focused.  If the task you are doing is not rocket science, then do several ‘easy’ tasks at the same time
  • When you are sitting down to your work, minimise distractions.  Divert your telephone to a Virtual Receptionist, check the emails only once or twice and make sure your desk or work area is clear of everything that you don’t immediately need.  Clutter just drains you.
  • Don’t put off any large projects thinking that you’ll clear the smaller stuff then get round to it.  That’s just procrastination!  Start the big task, allocate an hour to it then see if you want to continue.  Often ‘little and often’ is the only way to get something big done.
  • If you do have a big task that you could become engrossed in and you need to pick the kids up at a certain time or put the jacket potatoes on for dinner, set an alarm to go off at the time you need to set off or put the oven on.  This way you can immerse yourself in the task without worrying that you’ll forget the thing you have to do.  Having an alarm on my mobile phone has helped me get out of lots of situations where I’m stuck at a place where it seems impolite to just leave, so the reminder to pick the kids up is a great audible way to let others know I have to go!
  • Batch tasks together to do ‘similar’ activities in one go, such as returning phone calls.  Or if you have to go out to pick something up, try to knock two or three errands off your ‘To do’ list whilst you are out.  To help with this, I tend to keep a list in my personal organiser which is of things I need to do but don’t (yet) have a deadline, such as drop dry cleaning, go to Staples and pick up a new ringbinder or get nappies at Costco! (I buy in bulk – it’s cheaper and saves time, there’s another tip right there!)  By batching up my tasks I can eliminate as much ‘dead time’ and ensure I don’t repeat my actions just a few days later!

So working mums, are you just watching the telly?! …And even if you are, don’t beat yourself up about it!  A bit of Jeremy Kyle first thing on a morning never hurt anyone!