Oops! Bizzaromom has moved!

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Bizzaromom has gotten her own home!

Hey everyone. It’s finally happened. Behind the scenes I’ve been working to give Bizzaromom a home of it’s own. So now it’s time to give you all my forwarding address.

All my posts are now on www.Bizzaromom.com

We’ve got a new facebook page http://www.facebook.com/bizzaromomblog

And a facebook account to boot, http://www.facebook.com/bizzaromom

Come over and be my friend and like my page!

The Bizzaro Blueprint: Getting Back on Track- Week 1

Getting back on track isn’t easy, but it’s the only way to reach your goal

So I’ve confessed to the world that my first shot at this was a dismal failure, but I did promise that I would tell you how I finally got myself back under control and am currently defeating the anti-motivation, dishes, and disorganization monsters. It’s true. I did it, and a few weeks later, I’m still doing it. I’m going to tell you how I did it, and how you can do it too.

If you can remember the first stage is all about priorities and planning. You’ve got to know what you actually have on your plate and the time frame in which you have to do it. The first week or so really does involved staying in and getting it done.

Week  1: Planning and Priorities

Step One: List it

Calendars didn’t really work for me. So what I did was write up a list of the things I just need to get a hold of. Which looked pretty much like this:

  • Defeat Mount Laundry
  • Clean the dishes already…every day
  • Make the Living Room look less like an explosion…keep it looking that way
  • Get my work from home work done
  • Read with Little G every day
  • Make meals at home- most days
  • Clean my floors
  • Clean my room
  • Clean Little G’s room

The trick to the Bizzaro Blueprint is balance. You need to take things on that you can fit around your daily needs. My Dailies include:

  • working
  • reading with Little G
  • Dishes
  • Meals

Meals are one of those things that aren’t super priorities for me. If the day becomes to overwhelming to make dinner, then we can take out. I know that it doesn’t work like that for everyone, so if this is a priority…make it one. It’s all about scheduling your time effectively.

Then you have your big things, which are the rest:

  • Defeat Mount Laundry
  • Living room
  • Little G’s room
  • My room
  • floors

I picked two for Week 1.

So week 1 list of things looked like this:

  • Defeat Mount Laundry
  • Living room
  • Dishes
  • Meals
  • Work
  • Reading with Little G

Step 2: Take a vow

Once you’ve come up with your list, raise your right hand and say the following:

“This week I’m going to complete everything on my list. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I don’t fail myself. I know that I’m not perfect, and I might fail, and if I do I’ll reassess next week, but I vow to myself to make sure I try my darnedest.”

Step 3: Make a game plan

This part needs to start on the Sunday night before Week 1 begins.

My Game Plan is that I wanted to make sure I could do all of these things and be able to take the weekends off. Eventually I’d love to have Mondays off too, so that I can have a day when I’m just being a little lazy and only doing the dailies. This week, however, there is no day off. You’ve got five days to get it done. How are you going to do it?

Here’s what my plan looked like.

  • Do 2-3 complete loads of laundry every day.
  • Dishes first thing in the morning
  • Work during naptime, and as needed
  • Read 1 book before opening computer
  • Read 1 book before naptime
  • Read 1 book after she eats her lunch
  • Monday- pick up all the garbage from the living room
  • Tuesday- pick up, and put away all the things that don’t belong in the living room (mostly Grace’s toys etc.)
  • Wednesday- dust the furniture, clean the coffee table
  • Thursday-Vacuume
  • Friday- Maintain

Step 4: Execute

This really means, follow your game plan. Do your best to keep to whatever schedule it is you made. Make notes, either mental or on paper, to what works or not. Maybe doing the dishes in the morning doesn’t work for you. Find a time that you can do them, and do them at that time every day. Tomorrow I’ll post about how I managed the laundry situation and actually conquered it, along with some tips and tricks that made it easier to accomplish this for me. Later this week I’ll post my assessment of how the week went.

Admitting Failure

I’ve been a chicken. I haven’t posted in weeks because my first attempt at the Bizzaro Blueprint was a dismal failure. I used calendars, and checklists, and even tried to use outlook to manage my schedule, but I just couldn’t get it together. One thing after another. My work from home job conflicted with my mom at home job and with my domestic duties. No matter how I tried, it just didn’t pan out for me. The laundry continued to collect in piles, in corners and on the floors of my home. I had a three day conference for work, which lead to daunting amounts of dirty dishes and endless take out containers which littered my coffee table and the bursting bags of garbage which we kept forgetting to drag to the curb. Big G started his new job the same week, which lead to adjusting feelings of loneliness from Little G and me. Then there was the party planning for my mother’s retirement party, and and overwhelming avalanche of work not getting done on the big project at work.

I couldn’t find the time to do anything, let alone tell you how I was failing miserably at my organizational adventure.

Then last week, it all came to an astounding overwhelming head. I just couldn’t stand the mess anymore. I couldn’t stand the hours of television being streamed into my living room. I couldn’t stand not knowing how to start.

So I did. I just started, and I’ll tell you more about how I’ve grown closer to becoming the super mom I dream of being, but that’s for another day.

Today I want to tell you the most important part of the Bizzaro Blueprint–and life in general.

You must know how to admit when you’ve failed. We do it all the time. We’re late to the party, we miss a deadline, we lock our keys in a running car. We fail. We are human beings, imperfect in every way. We are fallible and flawed. The truth is, that’s okay.

If we weren’t so imperfect we wouldn’t have the amazing capacity for learning that humans do. We wouldn’t have the innovations, or the accidental discoveries. There would be no penicillin, and we’d have no Isaac Newton. We are imperfect and amazing creatures.

So- there it is, my confession…stay tuned for the amazing discoveries I’ve made though my failed attempt and the new beginning of my organized life.

Cheeseburger Cake (without fondant) Tutorial

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The Bizzaro Blueprint- Phase One- Step One- The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Moms

The best laid plans of mice and moms most often go awry. This is why we’ve given up on making plans, right? Life happens and we never have a chance to catch up. Our lists get carried over to the following week and that means that other things don’t happen when they should?

All that is about to change for you. The Bizzaro Blueprint was created with all of this in mind. The truth is we don’t know where to start. There are things we’re so good at, and things that come up, and things we stink at. Unless we figure out a way to get it all done, it’s going to stay that way. We’re going to find ourselves in endless cycles of not getting it done, and feeling simply incapable.

Let’s change that, right now.

Step 1: Planning.

If you’re old fashioned get out a paper and a pen. Otherwise open a word document.

Make a list of everything that you have to do. Try and be complete. Include the things you have to get done right now, the things that you know need to get done, but you’ve been ignoring, and the things you wish you could do.

Here’s mine:

   It’s not the best picture, but you can see that I’ve got some domestic things like dishes, laundry, dusting and vacuuming. I’ve got things like “work”, since I also work part time from home. I’ve also got things that I really want to make time for, like leaving the house with Little G, and learning to play the Guitar with Rocksmith.

It actually doesn’t seem as terrible as usual, but that’s going to work in my favor this week.

Step 2: Prioritizing

Now the next step is to prioritize. What I did was make a table in my word document with 4 columns and 20 rows. You could also use excel, or if you’re doing it the old fashioned way, make a 4 column list. Label the first column: Critical; the second column- Daily (I used a longer version of this); the 3 column- weekly; and the 4th column- Occasional/Sporadic. Now take the list you’ve just made, and categorize each one.

Let’s be honest though, we’d love to be the kind of women who dust every day, and keep up with our mopping, but that’s just not realistic. I put each of those rooms into the weekly category. The things that I only “want” to do, I put them in the occasional/sporadic column for now. I will eventually like to make a commitment to do this more often, but for now…it’s only a wish.

As you can see my only critical task is the laundry- cause yeah, it’s that bad. In the daily column I have meals, dishes, and work.

The majority of my tasks fall into the weekly column. There’s a lot of little tasks in here, which probably won’t take more than 20/30 minutes a pop, but some of them need to happen before other. For example, I’m not going to mop the kitchen floors until I clean up the kitchen. The same goes for the vacuuming and the living room.

So when we move on to the next step, it’s important to make sure we keep that in mind.

Step 3- Organizing

So let’s make all of this information useful for us, shall we?

I made a new table with 7 columns, and 2 rows. I label each column with the days of the week starting with Sunday. You could either get a weekly calendar, use an excel sheet to do this, or draw this out yourself. Whatever works for you.

Supermom’s might work every day, but I like to keep my weekends task free. It might not always work out that way, but for now we’re going to try it. To emphasize this I’ve highlighted the entire Sunday and Saturday columns in red.

Next,  put in the concrete daily times you have in your day. For me that’s Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Naptime and Bedtime.

Since work is something that I know needs to be done every day, I’m going to put that up at the top. My work is very part time and pretty much involves me responding to requests when they come in.  There really is no way for me to schedule that. So I’m going to put it up at the top and highlight it in yellow to represent something I have to fit into my day.

Laundry is a critical task, since I have looming towers of laundry. I’m going to put that at the top in yellow as well, because I’m going to do my best to just bang it out this week. Let’s say I have 12 loads of laundry to do. I’m going to commit to washing and folding 3 loads of laundry every day. Since the drying process takes an hour at least, I’m going to find a way to fit that in to my schedule when I can. I’ll write more on the laundry situation tomorrow. I’m taking Monday off of laundry, to give me the time to plan out my schedule, and write this blog. Which means Tuesday-Friday all have laundry highlighted in yellow at the top of the page.

My next daily activity is the dishes. There’s no way around it. I have to do them in order to have things to eat off of.  That takes me roughly 20 minutes, so I’ve decided to do that right after Little G goes down for her nap.

So now it’s a matter of assigning the weekly tasks to a given day, keeping in mind the tasks that are dependent on one another. I’m also organizing this within time periods that I don’t have Little G to actively take care of. Naptime gives me a good 2-3 hours to accomplish things.

Monday, for example, I have a lot to accomplish. I have to write this blog, plan my meals, do the dishes and work. So it makes sense not to try and take on extras.

When you’ve completed your meal planning- you can insert what you’re making for each meal right into your calendar.

Now, let’s get real. As I was writing this blog a work problem reared it’s ugly head and I had to push things around. While I was working Little G woke up (thank God Big G is around this week). I’d finished my meal planning, the dishes, and put everything in the crockpot.Something might have had to move…honestly it was this blog. That’s going to happen. This is why we’re breaking things down into tasks. We need to be able to move each task around.

Pick one or two column 3 items to get done each day.Pick one column 4 item for the week. It’s going to be a busy week.

Print this and post it somewhere you can see it. It needs to be somewhere handy enough for you to write on it when you need to.

Over the course of the week take note of how long each task takes to complete. Sometimes the dishes take 20 minutes, sometimes it takes longer. You need to know about the tasks you’re setting for yourself. It becomes important later on in the Blueprint.

Now get to work! Drop me a line and tell me what works and doesn’t work for you. Ask questions too! We can all beat this together!

The Bizzaro Blueprint- Getting Started

I’m going to go ahead and skip all the clever intro stuff and jump right in. That’s part of the problem, we have to learn where to cut the fat, and I’m going to start here. (Just chuckle a little and pretend I said something that drew you in while making you laugh).

The Bizzaro Blueprint is going to move in three different phases. Be mindful that you can always repeat and adjust the first two phases until the third phase works for you. The benefit of this is also that when life decides to throw you a curveball, you can adjust this to meet any new needs.

Change: Are you ready for it?

In order for this to work you’re going to have to make a vow to yourself. You’re going to have to decide to commit. If you’re bold enough, jump in right now and learn as you go. Shoot my a comment about the experience and we can work on tailoring it for you. If you’re a more cautious type, or if life just is to chaotic for you right now and you’re not ready to commit to anything- I get it. I’ve been there. Read along with the program, make notes of what you like and hate- shoot me a comment on it- and we can include your feedback too.

The commitment is to the whole process. Remember back in Chemistry class, you’d have to do those formal reports, writing out the procedure (Problem, Hypothesis, Experiment, Data, Analysis, Conclusion)? As tedious as it all was, at it’s core it was a good idea to plan and analyze. So what I’ve done is break our schedules into something that allows us to see the RESULTS of our changes in ways you can actually MEASURE! Make your goal or miss it. That’s life, right? You adjust and tweak, and when something doesn’t fall apart you know you’ve gotten it covered. We’ve succeeded in other areas, but we all have those problem spots like the laundry, the dishes, making time for ourselves. This Bizzaro Blueprint is going to help you SEE where the real weak spots are in how you manage things and then help you find ways to solve it!

They say it takes 30 days to form a new habit. It doesn’t sound like a whole lot does it? Especially if at the other end of this is a happier more effective you! How many days of feeling like you’re in a room of haybales with no idea how to spin straw into gold would you trade for one whole day of getting it all done, and having time for yourself?

Are you ready for a breath of ease and an air of confidence?

Great! So let’s get started:
I’m going to lay the whole program out for you today. I’ll briefly explain each phase of the process and then you can have some time to mull it over. Get yourself mentally prepared. We’ll begin the process officially on Monday. Each week I’ll post what to do this week, and midweek I’ll post a follow-up. This is your chance to effect it and modify it. If it makes sense to make it more universal I’ll update the post to reflect or add.

The Bizzaro Blueprint

Plan It

Act It

Keep it Up

That’s it. It’s that simple…but what the heck am I talking about:

Plan It- This is where you identify your needs, your problems, and your priorities. It isn’t at easy at it sounds, but it’s something you should be able to do as an adult. It’s what some people are able to do naturally, and something you might be able to do in other areas. Maybe it’s Mommy brain, or you actually have too many things to keep track of in your head. This stage will focus on how to get you on track to identify the problem.

Act It: In this phase we actually create an action plan. It’s going to be fun, and exhilarating as you check things off your list in record time. This is the stage where you get to see your life as a mad scientists. You’ll find you can create combinations of things you’ve never thought of before.

Keep it Up: The final phase is your destination. We all know dieting doesn’t work, right? Unless you want to lose a quick three or four pounds for a few days, and not expect to keep it off. Diets aren’t meant for the long term. BUT the Bizzaro Blueprint isn’t a diet. It’s a way to create a new habit. This final phase is all about how to keep the time weight off. I’ll give you tips and tricks to discover whether or not you’re slipping, so you can make adjustments and get back to your happy life.

When you’re through with this you will have a firmer grasp of how to manage your things that get away from you…and so will I.
I’m excited to start this journey with you.

So take a few days and go wild….I’ll see you Monday.

The Bizzaro Blueprint- The Road to Super Mom

If you’re anything at all like me, you have serious Super-Mom envy. Perhaps you’ve even uttered the words, “how does she do it?” when you arrive at the home of a Super Mom, and everything is impeccably in it’s place. Toys are organized alphabetically, and the darling children curtsey upon your arrival, ready to recite the Declaration of Independence and Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, at only two years old. You bite your tongue as she wipes her slightly perspired brow before removing a tray of white chocolate chip cookies from the oven.

When you get home from this paradise, it’s like arriving on the site of a natural disaster. Last nights dishes are still in the sink, baskets of clean laundry are stacked haphazardly upon on another precariously close to the piles of dirty laundry you’ve meant to bring to the basement. The coffee table is hidden beneath the mess of late night snacks, early morning bottles, and junk mail you keep forgetting to toss. You’re scrambling to get your only child down for a nap to give you the time to…well with all the things that need to be done the only thing you really want to do is take a nap!

Is this your life? Are you easily 30 minutes late to anywhere you want to go? Does getting your child dressed involve looking through the clean laundry baskets? Does meal planning involve a stack of delivery menus? If so- you’re not alone.

When we took the plunge to become stay-at-home Mom’s none of us expected to be so severely bogged down by the minutia of it all. We really didn’t hear the answer to “how hard could it be?”. We imagine some kind of plush pillowed bliss involving a soccer game or two, and all kinds of frolicking with your baby.

I used to be a professional woman. I was meticulously organized at work. Everything not only had a place, but a label and an index too. Domestic duties, however, have never, EVER, been my strong suit. I despise dishes, and used to send my laundry out to be done- even then it would wait until the last minute when I’d bring three garbage bags filled with dirty clothes. Nowadays I struggle to balance being a mom, a housekeeper, a chef, and a virtual assistant, and rarely make it out of my pajamas. This is just not good for my daughter. With our in-house economy taking a bit of a turn since Big G embarked upon his new career path, we can’t really afford to take Little G to classes anymore, and I’m not the “just go to the park” kind of Mom. I need something specific to do. I started the year out trying to implement some “school at home” scheduling, but that petered off when things got hectic around the house.

But I’ve made a decision. I’m going to turn it around. I’m going to get it together, and you’re coming along for the ride. For the last few weeks I’ve been putting together a program I call “The Bizzaro Blueprint”. It’s a step-by-step process that will turn me (and you) from Messy Mother to Super Mom. I invite you all to take this journey with me, and give me feedback on what works and what sucks about the process.

Women Entreprenur Series Conference

Last year my BFF and I opened a small business called Trata Threads. We had an awesome idea about making products that celebrate cultural identities. How many times have you walked into Babies R Us to see an endless variety of bibs, onesies and t-shirts talking about Auntie, and Grandma or Uncle? That’s all well and good for those people who use traditional American names for their relatives, but in my family, Auntie = Titi, Uncle = Tio, and Grandma = Abuelita, and there are names that are missing like Madrina (godmother) and Padrino (godfather).  One of the best part of this country is diversity, but we don’t see much of it in our stores. So we decided to do it ourselves.

The problem is that we don’t know the first thing about business.

Fortunately the State of NJ is trying to become business friendly. In these interests, they are hosting a series of conferences for Women Entrepreneurs. I missed the first one, but my bestie, and our friend at LJ Treasures in the Sand, carpooled to yesterday’s second in the series conference.

After exploring a few tables of vendors who are specific to helping small businesses obtain financing, we helped ourselves to some breakfast and met some interesting people. There was a representative, Josephine Ho, who was on the planning committee for this event and was also a member of the New Jersey Chinese American Chamber of Commerce. People were very friendly and interested in discussing the different businesses and ideas for businesses we all had.

The morning keynote speaker, Tracye McDaniel spoke about the efforts NJ is making to encourage businesses to set up shop in NJ, and bring jobs to our state. She stressed the importance of small businesses in helping our economy and closed with a few tips on how to stay motivated. She said “Motivation doesn’t last…but neither does bathing”, so we have to find ways to stay focused and motivated on our goals. She suggested changing your screen saver to an ima

ge that motivates you, whether it’s your business card, or even a business card/logo of a business that inspires you. Use a strategically placed white board to deliver daily affirmations to yourself. Finally, she said, Know your circle of influence.

This is an important one to remember, because whether we realize it or not technology has given us the opportunity to maintain contact with more people than ever.

Keynote speaker, Tracye McDaniel, talking about NJ’s efforts to encourage businesses and on staying motivated.

Use your social media tools for networking and help other people succeed. Every person you know is potential referral. With that in mind S, over at LJ Treasures in the Sand, created a facebook page to help Women in NJ achieve this goal. On the Women Entrepreneurs- NJ group page you can find women like you, who are starting out or trying to expand their small businesses. You can vent your frustrations, read informative articles, or use it as a venue to get your company out there. We hope to see you there soon.

For more information on the Women Entrepreneurs Series, click here.

Happy Mother’s Day

This has been an interesting year for Mother’s in my life. This year a woman who’d said she was done at at one, welcomed her second daughter into the world. In December (just in the tail end of 2011), a Little Fighter took his first breath, defying the odds. Another couple whose desires for a baby were thwarted for years, were blessed with the gift of adoption. Just a few weeks ago, a young woman gave birth to a baby she was told she could never have.

No matter how we become Moms it’s an incredible moment when we do. From the second the stick turns pink and the wheels start turning we are filled with anticipation, longing and sometimes a little dread at the unknown. As our bellies stretch with life we yearn to see the miracle within, and when they place that delicate little person in your arms, you instantly make a vow to love that little thing more than anyone ever will. For me, sitting in the hospital room, after all my family had gone home, I held my daughter in my arms and loved my own mother even more. Maybe it was the hormones, or maybe it was the memory of all the things I’d said to her that I could never take back; all the tears I’d caused, that I could never return, but I suddenly realized how important my mother was to me and how precious I was to her. In fact this moment wasn’t just about the little family we’d just created. I had just done an amazing thing for my own mother and father, in replicating myself, I’d replicated them too!  She’d said it to me when we were wheeled out of the operating room, “My baby had a baby” and my own first words were to her, “Look Mommy,” I said, “Look how beautiful she is!” because I couldn’t believe something so small could be so incredibly gorgeous.

Before Little G was born, I imagined that I would be overcome at the pure innocent love this little creature would have for me, but when she born I realized that it didn’t matter if she loved me or not. It didn’t matter if when she turned 10 she told me she hated me, or if she kissed a boy with tattoos as a teenager, or if she decided not to go to college after high school. It didn’t matter what she did, or said, or felt…because I was going to love her for her entire life….for my entire life. And I do. Oh boy, do I.

My biggest gift from Little G, of late, is when she wraps her blankey around herself and walks over to me to ask, “Mom, can you cuddle me?”. For this I will be thankful for the rest of my days. I will be grateful to my husband for making such an amazing girl with me. I will be grateful to God for letting her be. But I will be the most grateful to my Mom for teaching me how to be this evanescent, all knowing, all healing earth Momma, and for loving me despite years 8-30!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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