Just In Time Parenting (“JIT Parenting”)

May. It’s almost over. Thank goodness.

May is ridiculous. I have found myself questioning, pondering and really searching for the answers more this year than ever before. Maybe because I am between jobs – and I am anxiously researching my next steps, taking a class, loving Chicago’s tech scene, exploring digital start-ups, etc. Whatever the reason, though, I feel particularly overwhelmed this year. In fact, I have used this time to ask mom friends the following question: “How is your May?” “How are you leveraging technology to make your role as household manager more efficient?” “What technology tools are you using to stay organized?” “How are you using mobile to better manage the constant change within your home and home schedule?” I am asking full-time highly paid professional working moms; part-time moms and stay at home moms. The answer is always the same: “I’m NOT.” Correct: I am not. Most moms I talk to feel wonderfully empowered yet totally overloaded by the email and online schedules and requests filling up their inboxes – ironically, all in the name of “efficiency.” The worst part to me, is that even the CEO mom (translation: has assistant in office helping!) feels fairly overwhelmed  – and May is the worst.

What is going on?! I like to call it “Just in Time Parenting” (“JIT Parenting”). Here’s an example: the mom has the schedule set for let’s say a Friday. The skies open up. JIT parenting. The email arrives: lacrosse practice cancelled. The next email arrives: the birthday party that was scheduled for 6:00pm has been moved forward to 4:00, since lacrosse practice was cancelled and the party may now last longer by starting earlier. The next email arrives: please bring your son over at 4:00; attached is the waiver that needs to be printed out and signed and brought over at 4:00. This is a true story. I happened to be lucky when that happened in that I was nearby and able to help, but given that I am managing a household of seven, I simply shake my head and ask myself, “How can I better manage my inbox such that I do not need to JIT parent?”  Worse? JIT Parenting is on the rise, probably because kids are more and more programmed at younger and younger ages. It doesn’t matter that I’ve explored everything from Cozi to 2Do to shared ical to old fashioned post-it notes: they simply cannot solve the consummate mom problem of JIT parenting. It is not a good system. But then again, it is May. This too shall pass.

Which brings me to Mother’s Day – the “outward” symbol of May. The truth is: Mother’s Day seems to be the great American joke..and we moms are all suckered into it. Basically, the flowers and chocolate for moms come just in the nick of timeotherwise the moms would quit and dads would throw in the towel!

So, we question JIT parenting and wait for summer to take its hold. Maybe the sweet sound of nothingness on a Sunday night in August is that much sweeter a smell after the crazy May days of motherhood subside. Simple pleasures.

At the end of the day – that’s what parenting still is (JIT parenting or not):  a pleasure.

connectedchicagomom: connecting on and offline

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Just DO It: Part II

A few weeks ago I wrote a blogpost about the whole concept of “just do it”..dive in. Embrace this crazy world we are in right now. Since that post, Facebook agreed to purchase Instagram for $1 billion when just a week prior (or was it days?!) Sequoia Capital led an investment round that had valued Instragram at $500 million. OK. So let me repeat: “just do it” !! Things are moving thisquickly.

I am trying my best to “just do it” – to dive in, roll up my sleeves, read as much as I can, ask as many questions as I can, connect with as many people as I can.  Any results? Yes. In spades. I’m “putting myself out there” which can be scary. It is possible my family will disown me out of embarrassment – but truthfully, I do not care. (Ok, I would care, but they won’t.)

I went out on a limb this week by submitting a guest blog for Built in Chicago (“BIC”). Their request? Write about your favorite Chicago start-up – which I did (Dabble is my favorite). Why would I possibly “put myself out there” to a community of entrepreneurs and risk earning a tarnished reputation? Because BIC was giving out tickets valued at $350 to attend “The Art of Marketing” conference – that’s why I “put myself out there”  and submitted a post. I was anxious to attend The Art of Marketing. Lucky me: I won a ticket.

At the Art of Marketing held at the Chicago Sheraton I was able to hear the following speakers, many of whom I have admired from afar as stellar marketers and even brands : Seth Godin (thisissethsblog), Gary Vaynerchuk (The Thank You Economy), Mitch Joel and Avinash Kaushik (of Google); unfortunately I missed hearing Keith Ferrazzi, whose book Never Eat Alone I really liked.) How fantastic to listen to the marketing genius’ of our day! If you still do not think things are moving thisquickly, I can assure you that Gary Vaynerchuk’s ability to use the “F” word over 50 times would have hammered home the truth: things are moving thisquickly. Just DO It.

Upon my return home from the conference I received an invite to speak on the #BBRadio Show hosted by Beth Rosen of 4Keys Media. Even after alerting Beth that I was a beginning blogger (aside from the blogs I posted for Patch.com all last year for my Plum District work)  – she confirmed her desire to interview me. I Just Did It and said yes. Two nights later I was on with Johanna Cook @mommacuisine as hosted by Beth Rosen. Both Beth and Johanna were so nice – once again confirming what I already have felt: the blog world I am exploring is so welcoming. I look forward to meeting each of these moms in July where we will connect in person.

Lastly, not to be left behind, I wanted to try online education firsthand  so I enrolled in Computer Science 101 being offered by Stanford. For free. Through Coursera. I’d like to get a sense for how it feels to take education into my own hands. I may have an MBA but I have never learned a thing about code! In Robin Sharma’s bestseller The Leader Who Had No Title his number one rule of new work (out of 50) is: “You are not just paid to work. You are paid to be uncomfortable – and to pursue projects that scare you.” If I can do it, anyone can. Just DO It.

Connectedchicagomom: making connections on and offline.