Family Time Management Tips [From a Chief Mom]

Doing Things Together

One of the most challenging, rewarding responsibilities I’ve had is working in the tech space. I’m drawn to innovation and disruptive technologies that really connect people — from mobile games and smartphones to pet technology that can literally give pets a voice (AI/ML). I have a lifelong love of learning and tinkering.

Most importantly, I love being a mom (aka Chief Mom Officer), and it’s a tough gig! For this week’s fiver, here are tips to make the most of family time.

1) Calendar to plan everything

The all-important calendar is necessary to plan every appointment, party, meeting, lesson, and to-do’s. I can always check it on my phone, get reminder alerts, and it gives me the semblance of being organized.

2) Order essentials in bulk

Why buy TP or paper towels as one-offs? Ordering in bulk on a recurring schedule is a great way to save time and to ensure you never run out of the important things. What did I ever do before Amazon?

3) Pack lunches the night before

Packing lunches the night before
I’ve embraced the bento box lunch

I’m not that good at origami, but I’ve gotten creative with preparing bento box style lunches. This is effective with picky eaters, and a great way of showing you care (notice the hearts?). I prep lunches the night before, so I don’t feel rushed in the mornings.

4) Spend quality time; ask thoughtful questions

Compromises are made every day. One area I don’t negotiate is spending quality time with the kids daily. I’ll think of ways to engage them with questions (peppered with hugs).

Being present
Spend quality time; ask questions

Questions like: What was the most interesting thing you learned today? Did you like the lunch I packed for you? What made you smile? Who did you play with today? Did anything bother or upset you? (why?)

5) Organize weekly baking / other creative projects

I’m no Martha Stewart, and neither is the hubs. But together, we make a great team when it comes to cooking up projects with kid-friendly themes. Weekends are the best to do things together, and Sundays are designated Sunday Fundays.

Baking projects together
Space rock cookies were the theme

Well, that’s it for this week’s fiver.

How do you manage time with loved ones? Suggestions always welcome.

 

Smell ya! Dog, smells, and the ideal bed

Hooman? Smells about Right

As a dog mom (and human mom), I’ve learned a few things about the way certain smells conjure up memories, loved ones, and yes — the odorous poopy diapers.  The science of smell is an interesting one as we don’t give our nose enough credit. But the nose knows.

Of the estimated 84.6 million US households that own a pet, 60.2 million of them have a dog. The bonds between humans and dogs are incredible. The growing humanization of pets has idealized the attachments we have with our four-legged family members.

Olfactory Firepower

As we sometimes joke about the bum-sniffing tendencies of our tail waggin’ BFFs, humorously depicted in Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life of Pets, dogs are wired to sniff and respond. According to the March 2018 article published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, dogs can smell as much as 10,000 to 100,000 better than the average human. Furthermore, a dog’s scent glands are said to be 1,000 stronger. Through evolution and by design, a dog’s nose is adapted for keenly sniffing, and olfaction is managed by the part of the brain as part of the limbic system — which is also connected to the part of the brain that manages things like behavior, memories, motivation and emotion.

So what is it about a person’s used shirt or sneakers that’s so darn appealing? Whenever I’m about to travel and pack a suitcase, I often find one of my dogs resting beside it with that worrying, depressed look. He just knows I’m about to disembark, and he’s not happy. If, on the other hand, I drop a hoodie or shirt on the floor, he’ll warmly snuggle up against it with his nose buried deep in the folds. I think to myself — that must be love.

Whatever the case may be, a dog’s keen sense of smell is remarkable and their attachment to us, humans (a.k.a. pack leaders, parents) resembles a mix of love, devotion and undying fealty. In recent years, there’s fascinating research on dogs that have been able to sniff out life-threatening diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Architecture for Dogs & the Wanmock

Wan_004_hiroshi_yoda-600x450

Source: AFD Torafu Wanmock

With dogs being an integral part of the family unit and the home, it’s cool to see active projects like Architecture for Dogs (AFD) paying homage to beautiful design and building unique structures to better articulate the human-pet bond. The concept feels organic and brings elements of high design into the home.

AFD is the brainchild of Muji Creative Director Kenya Hara, and it’s a collective of talented designers and architects. One of the kits that AFD sells is the Torafu Wanmock, which brings in the owner’s t-shirt  into the mix, making it the perfect hammock.

Torafu-Wanmock--1-

Source: Petcube Care x AFD

On the AFD website, it describes the following: In Japanese, a dog says, “wan,” the name “Wanmock” combines the woof sound with the piece’s hammock style.

The Wanmock kit is specified for the Jack Russell breed. However, after trying out the kit with a certain famous Frenchie, we found that the Wanmock can accommodate a variety of smallish to medium breed dogs. If there’s a will, there’s a way. You know how large dogs sometimes enjoy curling up in smallish spaces?

If you loop your favorite care-worn shirt and drape it over the wooden structure, your BFF will find a way to snuggle and breath deeply into the folds of your clothing. After all, you are remarkably you. The nose knows…..

So the next time you want to bring you and your dog closer together, grab that worn, sweaty shirt and let him (or her) love you the way only a dog can. 2018 is after all the Year of the Dog.

Enjoy being a mom (or dad) to your #1 fan.