Tag Archives: parenting tips

How to Get Organized Techie Style – for Parents

As many of you know, I am the most disorganized person on the planet. I buy just about anything that says it will help me find my keys, remember my grocery list, remind me to make calls, or to take showers. My hubby knows to hide all phones when I’m watching an infomercial.

Recently, I tried using the chalk board I have in the laundry room as a massive calendar that everyone could put their info on – from practices, to supply lists, to meetings. We each got our own color chalk, so that I would know who wrote what. Also, I thought it would be really pretty and Martha Stewart-esque of me.

My daughter immediately drew a bumblebee in June 28th, so that means someone may get stung? If someone does, I’m totally having her tell fortunes for extra dough this summer (screw the lemonade stand).  My son put one practice (though he has 3/ week) on the board … in the wrong color.  And at some point, someone drew boobs on June 24th which I think means there’s a wet t-shirt contest that day that or my hubby is paying for implants … (I haven’t quite figured out the symbols.)

Because my calendar was a massive failure I found something tech-wise that I love love love! I was given a copy of Microsoft 365 to download in hopes that I would do an interview with someone about the benefits for moms and as it turns out I’m OBSESSED! Which kinda surprised me.

We are an Apple/Mac family, so to be frank, I wouldn’t have thought of downloading the program, but I know the world speaks PC. I already have to convert every file I have from Pages into Word or Numbers in Excel before sending it, so working in the actual program is so much easier.  But what I truly love is Outlook! It’s like my massive chalk board done right. We synced it to all our phones, my Mac and my iPad and (you get 5 items to sync) and everyone put in their stuff and I learned to color code it. And it’s so pretty and neat and organized and remindery!

OneNote (which I already had as an app) totally rocks! I made lists in it and my hubby added things like buy shampoo, and my kids added things like, buy Kit Kats, and my dog added things like, buy me a new chew toy … the cat is getting soggy.

Plus every blog I started to write, I could pick up on a different electronic device and continue, which makes me happier than I can ever express!

Oh, and my Cloud is bigger. My Apple Cloud was like a drizzler and I had to pay for 10 extra GBs it!  My new cloud has  an extra 20 GB SkyDrive storage,  (it’s more of a storm cloud).

And sooo, all that said, I did the interview to get more ideas from TechMamas.com founder and editor-in-chief, Beth Blecherman who is a dear friend. She just recently released a new book, My Parent Plan, which provides parents with advice on how to apply business principles to parenting. You should check it out.  The interview is above and I think her tips are fabu.

Let me know if you use the 365 or were thinking of getting it and if you have any other time saving tips for me that you’ve found.

XO- Jenny From the Blog

Yes, this post was sponsored (thank goodness, cause a chick’s gotta work), but I ONLY write about things I love and that I think my readers would love, (which means this chick doesn’t work nearly as often as she could … but she gets to sleep guilt-free at night).

Feel free to share with anyone mom who needs some organization!

chalkboard calendar

Mad Men Inspired Masturbation Article for iVillage

Here is the original article I did for iVillage I gave you a bit more than a teaser this time because a lot was edited out.

mad menWhen I first sat down to write this article I couldn’t help but snicker; not because this seems like an amusing predicament to be in, but because the topic tested my maturity level.  A nervous wave came over me as I reluctantly imagined this scenario and all I could think was “Awkward.”  As awkward as this circumstance is for the parent, consider the gut wrenching embarrassment from a child’s point of view.  I know, simply empathizing could make you red in the face.  In fact, at 30-whatever I am, I still wouldn’t want to have a conversation on the subject with one of my own parents.

So, what’s a parent to do when they’re confronted with such a touchy (no pun intended) situation?   Continue reading

Are You a Neurotic Mom? I May Have You Beat

Tree Climbing with SquirrelOn a summer trip to Hilton Head, SC I realized that I may actually be the most neurotic mom on the planet. I first noticed this when we were at the park and children where climbing to the top limbs of these winding ancient oaks. In Florida, we don’t have many climbing trees, unless you have the ability to shimmy up a palm. Growing up in Maryland, I remember climbing those trees, and of course the memories that stand out most to a neurotic mom are the one’s of the kids that fell out and broke their own limbs.

So, there I was an inch from my child, ready to steady him at his first errant step. At the same time I was prepared to jump under some random 10yr old Evel Knievel, 25ft up, and let him use my frame to break his impending fall. “Where are that kid’s parents?” I asked my husband, as I was quite certain if they had witnessed his indiscretion in the tree, they would be giving him a stern talking to. Then over walked his dad. The kid said, “Who thinks, I’m gonna fall off and die?” To which the sensitive dad replied, “Well don’t do it halfway. If you only break something we’re gonna end up spending the whole night at the hospital.” Maybe you found that obnoxious, maybe you found it funny, I found it horrifying. But it seems that the general parenting attitude – outside of these very sheltered towns I’ve managed to live in – is one of ease and nonchalance. My husband has this attitude; he believes everything will be all right, whereas I think those crazy things that seem so rare are common occurrences and second guess my every decision, for fear of what those choices may have unleashed upon my family.

One of these choices was to sign the kids up for a day of Adventure Camp. I wanted to take advantage of the amazing golf. Scratch that, my husband wanted to take advantage of the amazing golf. He’ll be happy I mentioned “him,” “scratch,” and “golf” in the same sentence. The Adventure Camp wasn’t so adventurous. It was mainly 4 and 5 year olds and boasted a 1:3 counselor to camper ratio. They took the kids crabbing on the beach and then raced their crabs. Then they brought them to a shaded pool, low enough to stand in.  Though I didn’t really care if we golfed or not, I reminded myself that sometimes your husband needs to do a bit of what he wants on a family vacation. Since, I rarely if ever put him first, or second, or third for that matter, I decided to let my kids enjoy a day at camp while we golfed. I know, it was the best choice for my kids and my husband, but for me, it was the one that caused the most anxiety. The other parents were in and out at drop off, but I spent quite some time saying my goodbyes, and assessing the counselors. I thoroughly interviewed them, asking about their lifesaving credentials, their head count procedures, and how I could contact them to check on my kids.

How many moms know how debilitating it is to worry over so many things at once? How hard it is to just enjoy something when scary scenarios keep popping into your head? I was relieved when we saw them at the pool in the afternoon; a surprise encounter that was only slightly planned on my part. Then in the hour between the pool and camp pickup a torrential downpour ensued and I had to start worrying all over again. Would the trolley skid or would someone slip on the wet brick pathways? After pick up I could breathe more freely, but I couldn’t help wonder, what kind of disservice I’m doing to my children by not allowing them to do things that other parents seem to have no problem with?

Comment Question:

What do you think, can you relate? Are you a worrier or easy goer?

How to Stop Nagging -Ask Jenny From the Blog

In The Suburban Jungle’s newest segment:  Ask Jenny From the Blog, I answer important marriage and parenting questions with honesty, and wit.  Please do not hold me responsible for tantrums or divorce.

woman nagging man
Recently a friend asked, “How do I  stop nagging my husband?”  I used the decade of marriage as a basis for my answer and gave it to her straight, “You don’t.  You just learn to nag more efficiently.” The definition of nagging is to ask or criticize someone repetitively, to the point of being bothersome.  Well, if they learned the first time you said it, you would be a brilliant wife and he would be husband of the year.  Let me impart a truth I have discovered after a 10 years of nagging. You have to train a husband, which is not unlike training a puppy.   Except that a husband takes much much longer.  If you saw my 6 month old puppy actually chewing the wall, this truth could send you running for the hills.

The key is to open the lines of communication and reward rather than reprimand.  I know that sounds cheesy and Dr. Philee, but it is something you may not realize until you’ve wasted much time trying to mold your man through bitter seething complaints and snide remarks.

I am still training my husband… everyday.  If I had known when I was first married what I know now, I think I would be giving much less correction, and much more Snausages.  I remember the conversation that started a new path to less nagging.  It was not so long ago.  I said, “there has to be some word, some signal that I can give to tell you that I am about to complain and possibly correct something you’ve done.  The signal would imply that what I am about to say may be critical and will most definitely annoy the crap out of you.  I know that, but I must get it off my chest if I am to remain happy.   I need you to hear me without sneering, ignoring, focusing on a mindless commercial or diverting your attention towards the kids.

Seems easy right, asking someone to listen and absorb when alerted to do so?  Well, men are stubborn creatures.  So, to make it fair, I agreed that the signal could be whatever he chose, as long as he agreed to open his ears and keeps his eyes from rolling.  He decided I should say, “I suck and you are awesome.”  Please, is that the best you can do?  In return for your full attention, I would have said, “I’m a psycho bitching wife who doesn’t deserve such a strapping specimen of a man, while flashing you and doing a jig, but we’ll just go with your suggestion.”

This is your chance to set some ground rules and have some fun while doing it.  Pick a signal that is totally disarming and let him know that the only person who hates nagging more than he does is you.  Most importantly, when he does a good job, don’t forget the praise… and the Snausages.

Please send questions to Jenny@thesuburbanjungle.com

Disclaimer-  Jenny is not a trained professional!  Though you may find her brilliant and insightful, she has been called odd and insane.  Please keep that in mind when following any of her advice. Also, no animals were harmed in the writing of this piece (in case you were wondering.)

Women Need to Exercise 1 Hour Per Day to Maintain

-Like us moms don’t already have enough to do.

iStock_000009004459XSmallA study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association claims that women will gain weight with age unless they lower their caloric intake or get in a hefty 6o MINUTES of exercise EACH DAY!  Are they serious? Workout 60 minutes to maintain?  Let’s talk about the word maintain, because they’re certainly not talking about sanity maybe they’re talking about resentment.  I will definitely maintain resentment toward these researchers for publishing this horrifying news.

The truth is, I know few moms who can get in a daily shower, let alone the current 30 minutes of suggested workout time; now they’ve decided to double it?  That’s it, I’m boycotting.  Oh yeah, I’ll show them, I’m gonna halt activity all together.  Yep, I’ll lead a completely sedentary life; only frequenting places that have valet and those electric carts inside, to ride on.   Continue reading

Do You Interrupt People or Finish Their Senten…’I Do’

Closeup portrait of young female covering her mouth with both haInterrupting and finishing other people’s sentences is something that many busy people do, ahhem… like myself, and it’s certainly a bad habit worth changing.

Let’s be honest peeps.  Women like multitasking and men like quick results. Neither preference is conducive to dealing with long winded conversations with grace and patience.

MORE HUMOR: 15 Random Things I Wouldn’t Know If I Weren’t a Gen Xer

I’m the typical multitasking mom.  I walk into rooms with no clue why I’m there.  I forget to switch laundry and have to rerun it…  I can barely remember my last thought, as I have already moved on to 7 others. (Something about laundry, right? Sadly they often are.  What? There’s a lot of laundry.)

When I talk to people, I find myself wanting the pace of the conversation to fit into my packed schedule.  Well, that or I have something to add that is much funnier than what they’re saying and I just can’t wait to say it.

If you’re trying to explain your feelings on a subject and I already get where you’re going, I may ever so “politely” hurry you along by either responding before you’re done or telling you “I get it,” while you’re still speaking. If you’re truly lucky, I may help you get your thought across by finishing your sentence for you. I know, no thanks necessary.

MORE HUMOR: 40 Things Every Mom Should Have and Should Know by 40


So, I recently read an article that discussed the side effects of such lovely behaviors. Not only is it rude (who knew?), but it actually makes the speaker unconsciously feel rushed, nervous, and annoyed; both your pulses speed up, which can cause irritability and a defensive tone to erupt.

That would totally explain the wrestling match I got into with homeless man in the street. What? The light was about to turn, I had to help him along so I could hand him my 26 cents.

What again? I don’t keep a lot of change in my car.

Sheesh, you people are real sticklers huh?

I’m sorry, was I putting words in your mouth again. Well, I’m clearly working on it!  SO, BACK OFF!

Moving on, the fix for this embarrassing habit is simple: Be Aware; Be in the conversation on your own end, and allow people to finish their thoughts before chiming in. Make a point to remind yourself of this before going to a meeting, picking up the phone, or having lunch with a friend.

*Make a real effort not to interrupt even if you’re two paragraphs into the next conversation, unless of course, they are boring the crap out of you. There’s just no excuse for that.

Technically, being incredibly boring and wasting someones time with inane mumblings should be considered rude as well, no?  In some tribes it’s punishable by death.  Death by boredom!

Oh, the irony.

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Dreaded Parenting Explanation: Because I Said So That’s Why

because I said so, that's why


As a child, I too encountered the dreaded “Because I Said So.”  It was usually yelled in frustration or hissed between clenched teeth.  No matter what the method of delivery, it signified the end of the discussion.  I remember wondering, what exactly does that mean and why is that a remotely valid argument?  It was a parental trap; there was no way to fight it, and yet you felt unsatisfied in conceding.


Now, at 30 somethingish I know what it means.  It means you’re losing the battle with a child.  Yep, “Because I Said So” is the phrase used when you are being outsmarted or out-debated by an 8-year -old.  The truth is, sometimes their reasoning makes sense … a lot of sense.  Sometimes, I listen and think, okay, let’s do it your way.  But most of the time there’s a reason I’ve made a particular choice and I have to stick by it, well that or I’m just another stubborn adult standing on ceremony.


I never imagined that I would be losing arguments to 8-year-olds or even 5-year-olds, for that matter.  They’re smart little buggers, aren’t they? Want proof? I recently partook in this exchange: Continue reading