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Family life

Are moms really more organized than others?

Library books, permission forms, health appointments — how do you keep on top of it all?

By Jennifer Pinarski
Are moms really more organized than others?

Photo: MariaBobrova/iStockphoto.com

About two-thirds of the way through my second pregnancy I showed up for triathlon practice and started laying out my workout gear next to my bike. It was a full brick workout that day (including swimming, biking and running) so it meant packing equipment for all three sports, changes of clothes and multiple water bottles.

A teammate was setting up next to me and remarked that she was jealous about how organized I was and credited motherhood with how pulled together I was that morning. Sure enough, I had everything lined up and ready to go and the neat lines of food and clothing looked impressive. Sadly, it had nothing to do with the fact that I had kids, but my squashed bladder woke me up super early that morning. Never mind the fact it had taken a week to locate all of said sporting gear. I felt awful reinforcing the myth that moms are organizational masters.
 
I mean, there must be a reason why those family calendars you find in the mall this time of year are the size of your refrigerator. The sheer volume of stuff parents need to remember could easily fill one of those monster-sized organizers. There’s not a day goes by that I haven’t lost or forgotten something. My most forgettable forgottens include:
  • Losing a school library book about dinosaurs (which ended up being crammed in with the cookbooks).
  • Misplacing the car keys at least once a week.
  • Mixing up school days and PA days (no "Mom of the Year" awards on those days, telling my pajama-wearing son that I’m driving him to school).
  • Missing immunization appointments and then getting notes from the school board that our son might get expelled.
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Believe me, I'm NOT bragging.

I was hopeful that downsizing and becoming a stay-at-home mom would force me to become more organized since, in theory, I had less space to lose things and more time to be organized. It backfired and, if anything, our family is more disorganized because of the lack of storage space in our tiny cottage country home. I’m sure there is some feng shui rule about not storing your financial records in the marital bedroom and, despite sleeping with my head next to our household bills, it doesn’t mean I remember to pay them on time. And it certainly doesn’t help that I married someone who is just as disorganized as I am — in our case, opposites didn’t attract.
 
That said, little by little, I am improving. Reminders scheduled in my phone have meant that I’m forgetting fewer appointments and the lack of storage space forces our family to scrutinize toys that come into the house (and I’m looking forward to a major purge before Christmas). I don’t think I’ll ever be an organized person, but I welcome any ideas that helped your house get sorted out.

How does your family stay organized?
This article was originally published on Nov 15, 2012

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