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Mommy's Blackberry, Old-School Style

I have to confess that for the past few years, I’ve watched the whole back-to-school frenzy with a kind of smugness; as a mom of babies and toddlers, I’ve been immune to the artificial season of School Is Here! Maddie’s routine never varied, and we still woke up, went to the park, took a nap, and played with her toys every day regardless of the weather or ringing of a bell. The biggest variation in our schedule was Sunday, when we went to church instead of the park.

So I’d see the moms with their shopping lists, their eyes already haggard as they tried to figure out schedules and timing and routines, and pity them, vowing it’d never be me. I mean, school starts, the schedule is obvious – how hard can that be to organize?

Shut up. I hear all you seasoned mommies laughing at me.

A few weeks ago the city catalogs came out, full of all the low-cost courses we’re offered – soccer, music, karate, you name it. I’d already researched ballet schools and settled on one, and simply had to choose which time worked best for us. Since we’ve decided to delay Maddie’s entry into preschool, we are spending the fall sending Maddie to a few specialized classes, getting her used to a class environment in something less than a four-hour time-frame. So I sat down with a piece of paper and wrote out all the classes we were thinking about for Maddie: music, ballet, soccer, gymnastics, art. Then I wrote out all the times each one was offered. Then I looked at it and realized some of the times were during naptime. Then I realized I was also supposed to be teaching some this fall, and needed to leave room for that.

Which was the point at which I realized I needed to get more organized; my back-of-the-grocery-receipt scribblings weren’t going to cut it. I printed out a weekly calendar and tried to grid out all the options, which helped. After wrestling for half an hour, I finally had Maddie’s class list narrowed down to three, and filled into (somewhat) convenient time-frames that didn’t interfere with my teaching. Done! Who needs a fancy calendar, when it’s a weekly routine?

Then I looked at our big wall calendar and saw Cora’s upcoming doctor’s appointment. And my grandmother’s birthday. And wept.

I confess: I need help. I am a stay-at-home(ish) mom, and need a day planner, not for important client meetings or business trips, but for the first day of soccer and a trip to the dentist. And yes, there are some of you crackberry addicts out there, and to you I say, I don’t understand you. I need to see the whole board – I’ve got to survey all the chess pieces before I make my next move, and a Blackberry just doesn’t let me do that. So I refuse to go digital, and searched the Internet (the irony is not lost on me) until I found the perfect companion.

It’s called, fittingly enough, momAgenda Desktop, and since it arrived my life has changed. It’s a calendar planner for the purse that only a mother could have thought of: a month-at-a-glance, then the breakdown by week, with the top half for your schedule and the bottom half for the family. And on every day there’s a place to plan dinner. Which I do, at the beginning of every week, and which is much simpler when my meal plan is on the same page as my schedule. Now I know not to plan a roast chicken if we’re going to be at the doctor’s still at 5 p.m.

The datebook follows the school year (genius!), starting in August and going through December of the next year, with a full page for noting any dates in 2010 you might need to remember. Beyond the calendar, though, the momAgenda has everything else I’d want. It’s got pages for jotting vacation ideas, doctor’s visits notes, books or movies or restaurants your friends have talked about that you’d like to try but never remember the name of, a gift log so you don’t forget the late birthday present handed to you at church, and more. And finally, there’s a pull-out section for phone numbers and addresses, medical info for the family, birthday and anniversaries, and all the other info you’ll need every year and hate having to re-enter into a new book. I’m telling you, I love this thing with a deep passion that runs a close second to how I feel about my husband. I’ve got the very cool chocolate-brown cover (dig me! I’ve left New York and am branching out (sort of) into colors!) but they come in several styles.

momAgenda’s got a whole line of products, but the other one that bears mentioning is the Kitchen Folio. It’s a big book with forms for important info, phone numbers, babysitting info, medical records, and more. You can even download the forms and type them in and print them out so they’re legible in your book. It comes complete with clear plastic page protectors for class phone lists, take-out menus, soccer schedules, and anything else mommyhood might throw at you. So you’ve finally got all the family info in one spot, and are never searching for that stupid karate meet schedule again. I don’t have one, but I admit I’m coveting it greatly. I think if I had one, all neatly typed out, I’d probably put that high on my list of Things To Save In A Fire.

If you’re still a new mommy, spending all your time working in the home, and your days stretch out before you like creamy pearls, each one the same and no schedule except your toddler’s internal clock, then I applaud you and beg you to enjoy it while you can. But if you’re a working mom and need to juggle daycare and home life, or if you’ve got a toddler in preschool, think about the momAgenda. As an added bonus, when I contacted the mom behind the company to get more info for this article, she offered my readers free shipping on orders over $50 -just enter the coupon code FREEMAMA at check-out.  So think about it.

The sanity you save may be your own.


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