Managing Transitions

Transitions happen throughout our life! It’s important to plan for them whenever possible by anticipating changes and preparing.

This week was a BIG transition for not only me, but for my entire family, including the dog! After running my International Coaching & Training company from my home-based office for nearly 15 years, I went back to work FULL-TIME in the corporate world. Although I will continue to serve my current clients I will selectively decide which future clients I will work with both as a speaker and a coach.

There were lots of ups and downs this week and key lessons both applied from my work and learned as a result of this huge transition! Here’s some of the key highlights.  Let me know what you learned from my personal experience…

  • previous Wednesday: got formal offer and request to start on Monday
  • weekend: stocked up on groceries, caught up on wash, cleaned and straightened the house, planned meals, purchased train ticket, researched parking, gased up car, went clothes shopping, met a friend pre-made kids’ lunches and refrigerated part of it overnight, took dog for an evening walk, prepared singles for parking meter, showered
  • Monday: ESTABLISHED NEW ROUTINE!! got up extra early, took dog for half the regular walk, fed him and ate my breakfast then finished kids’ lunches, got dressed while listening in to the news, applied makeup and fixed hair, got kids up, dropped off daughter at bus, trusted son would get to school on time (MISTAKE #1), went to work and met many new people and attended new hire orientation with about 8 others, panicked when I received a call from the school that my son was truant at 10:50, connected with husband and he handled it, ran to catch the 5:17 train home and battled with traffic from the train station to get home to a lovely dinner prepared by my husband, took dog for second half of walk, finished emails I didn’t finish on the train ride, showered, prepared sandwiches for next day, read through materials from work, was in bed by 9!!
  • TUESDAY: pretty much same routine but my daughter asked to walk up to the bus stop and I made sure my son was out of bed before I left the house and not just awake. Got to work a little early again! Grabbed a cup of cocoa at DD, met with team members and contributed my ideas at a meeting (which were well received!). Had sessions with scheduled coaching clients and did evening prep again
  • WEDNESDAY: same am routine and every seemed to work smoothly till I got to the train stop just a few minutes behind schedule. Did a load of wash before work! Brought my own lunch with me to save from having to go down to the cafeteria again. Through in a load of towels before walking the dog and put them in dryer when I returned. Nearly missed train as I folded bills to get them into the meter. (NOTE TO SELF: HAVE BILLS PRE-FOLDED AND READY TO GO!). Worked on learning new systems and getting acclimated at my new job. Hurried home to attend Grandma’s birthday celebration with the family.
  • THURSDAY: had a little trouble waking up because I got to sleep a little later last night. Brought my lunch with me again. Ended up getting the next train (which wasn’t an express) and got to work just 20 minutes later. (NOTE TO SELF: DON’T PANIC, THERE’S ANOTHER TRAIN EVERY 15 MINUTES OR SO; LEAVING EXTRA TIME HAS BEEN A BENEFIT BECAUSE I AM STILL THERE BEFORE 8:30). Hubby had to work late and daughter arranged a ride home from cheer practice beings son was working. Held scheduled coaching sessions in the evening, then completed evening routine.
  • FRIDAY: good morning, everything flowed smoothly! Got a lot of things accomplished at work and am running fairly smoothly. Enjoyed some lunch on the company and goodies left over from a training so I didn’t have to buy lunch. Took one train earlier and left a little more time to get down the elevator because I’ve been rushing to the train every day. Got home in time to meet husband and a friend to travel an hour to our daughter’s HS cheering at the FB game. Fortunately, lunch held me over and I wasn’t hungry for dinner. I’ve been stocking up on healthy snacks and water to keep in my office so I had plenty choices. Hit a deer on the way home from the game. Are you kidding….what a way to end my first week back on the corporate job! We’re ok but the car and the deer didn’t quite make it!
  • SATURDAY: Got to the gym for a good solid workout! Brought my daughter to cheer practice. Started cleaning and straightening. Did more wash. (WHERE DOES IT ALL COME FROM??)

So, I’m proud to say that I got through my week! Without my husband stepping up to prepare dinners and pick up what he saw I wasn’t able to get done, it would have been much more difficult. So, thank Goodness I have such a wonderful husband. I miss dinners with the family all together and miss communicating with each other more than anything.

Preparing, planning, organizing, communicating and staying calm were the big winners this week!!

Meal Planning for Super Busy Parents

Improving your eating habits needn’t take more time from your super busy schedule. Fact is, most of you are eating anyway (I hope!). So, why not make healthier choices about what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat.

In a follow-up article I found related to the exclusive interview President Bush had with Hannah Storm on CBS last week, our President commented about how young he feels because he commits to rigorous exercise. Bush says that people who claim they’re too busy to exercise regularly really just haven’t chosen exercise as one of their priorities. He said, “I don’t buy that. I think you set priorities in life, and if exercise is one of your priorities, then you do it.”

Bush points out that a fitness culture “starts with families” and said “I exercise a lot because it’s good for my mind and it’s good for my soul.”

Plan your meals in advance so that you make smart choices for yourself and your family. Prepare fresh fruits and vegetables, when possible, but when a quick trip to the produce aisle is just too much in your already too busy schedule, have frozen varieties on hand for a quick delicious and nutritious meal. Avoid the trap of fast food for convenience and save it for just the special treats. But, when it’s the last remaining option (which sometimes happens in super busy lives!!), choose the healthiest options on the menu and avoid extra sauces and condiments that tend to add hollow calories.

Here’s to healthy eating!

Best regards,

Coach Natalie Gahrmann

Best Companies for Super Busy Parents

I received the latest issue of Working Mother magazine this morning. I haven’t had the chance to open it but I noticed that this issue features the Top 100 best companies for working moms. Each year Working Mother magazine surveys and assesses thousands of companies using five main criteria as the basis for its judgments: flexibility, leave time for new parents, child care, elder care, and the number of women occupying top jobs. Companies like J&J and IBM have been on the list consistently each year since the annual list came out 21 years ago.

I remember how AT&T made the list every year when I was employed there. However, availability of benefits really came down to your direct management. My last manager, when I had my second child, was adamantly opposed to anything other than a full nine hour day in the office. She felt that she raised her daughter and got through it so anybody else could do it, too. This, and being offered an enhanced voluntary package, ultimately became my reasons for leaving the corporate world.

Even those who work in companies recognized for their outstanding work environment for working moms, are often faced with issues and challenges because their supervision doesn’t support work/life balance; their job doesn’t lend itself well to flexibility or alternative work arrangements; the perceptions of those around you who frown upon you leaving promptly at 5:00 pm, coming in at 9:00 am, or leaving during the day to pick up a sick child from school; or, your own unwillingness to ask for what you need. I also have clients in the opposite situation–they work for family un-friendly companies. Some have managed to negotiate for what they need to be most efficient and effective at their job. While others feel stuck in an impossible situation that causes them extreme amounts of stress.

I personally believe in taking things into my own hands, whenever possible. I’ve helped many of my clients design and communicate their requests for flexibility so that they can excel their effectiveness at work and home. It’s not impossible unless you really believe it to be so! If your company doesn’t support your needs as a super busy parent, why not look into employment at one of the Top 100 companies?!?!

I’m curious how you’d rate your employer in their ability to meet your work, life and parenting needs. Please email me at to confidentially share your personal experiences.


Best regards,

Coach Natalie

Help Kids Organize for the School Year

Even if you’re one of those parents who think you don’t have good organization skills, fact is, just to keep things flowing on a daily basis, you have some degree of organization skills. Help your kids learn to organize, too!

Motivate your children to get organized and, more importantly, make it a habit by creating rituals at home like:

1. Put the backpack in the same place at the end of the school day.

2. Do homework in the same place and at the same time each day.

3. For younger kids, sit nearby as they work, if possible. And for all kids, make sure they have adequate supplies, from notebooks to pencils. Review their notebooks. Check their homework. Review their papers, quizzes and tests from school.

Kids, just like adults, like the feeling of being organized. Before the school year begins, ask the teachers what they think are essential organizational skills. This prepares you and enables you to get a head start.

See if this helps!

Best regards,

Coach Natalie

Help your Kids Prepare

Remember the 5 P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Talk about routine shifts from summer to school year: Bedtime, curfew and the like, but get beyond this, too as you prepare for the new school year.

Get your children to feel a bigger sense of responsibility for completing their homework and keeping track of assignments by taking things one step at a time. Be realistic in your expectations. If your child spent all summer losing their swim goggles, don’t expect them to be able to keep track of all their books, their sweatshirt, and their school supplies! Improve the odds of better responsibility by growing the skills from the inside, which means, unfortunately, that you often don’t necessarily see results right away. They develop the roots of responsibility long before the behaviors are evident on the outside.

Set clear expectations and hold your children to these expectations. Be interested in their work, the assignments, and what’s difficult and easy about them. Your interest helps.

When they complete homework make sure you acknowledge it, but not just with an “I’m proud of you.” Your feedback has to point to the internal growth of responsibility, so “How do you feel?” or “You must feel good about that” are better comments.

Be preparing your kids and shifting responsibility to them you have less stress in your super busy life!

Try it and see how it works for you….but remember to be patient!

Coach Natalie

Partner with the School

Even though life might feel too busy, get to know your child’s teacher(s), principal and other school personnel. Although you may not be available during the school day for regular activities, look for opportunities to participate in the hours you can. For instance, you can bring a dish to the annual pot luck dinner, attend PTA meetings, visit the school with your child prior to the start of the year, help with photocopying, etc. If they have a website, log on often to see what’s going on. Be aware of school regulations and help your child abide by them. Also, be sure to read school notices regularly.

Coach Natalie

Stay Involved with School-Aged Kids

Even though you are super busy at work and home, it’s vital that you are involved with your children’s education. The younger your children, the more parental involvement is necessary! However, even when you have teens in high school, it’s still important to be involved because parental involvement makes a positive difference (even though your children may not readily share that with you!).

Your kids start the school year with a clean slate and a new teacher. It’s a great opportunity for a fresh start.

If you demonstrate how you value education it is more important than if you just talk about it. So, model the importance and help get your children off to a good start this new school year.

With older kids, seek their input about your role in their education for this school year. It might take awhile for the response to unfold, but when it does, you’ll have some interesting conversations.

With younger kids, plan on spending time at the school during the first few weeks to get to know the teachers and other parents.

Finally, stay involved, but don’t try to run the show, either. Just stay involved and aware of what’s going on.

Stay tuned for more back-to-school tips in this BLOG!

Yours truly,

Coach Natalie

Safety Alert for Super Busy Parents

I heard from a friend who recently had a problem with her clothes dryer and I want to alert you about what she found out. It could save the lives of you, your family and your pets, as well as your home. Even though your life is super busy, it’s vital that you take the time to do some general maintenance to ensure that all of your appliances are in good running order.

My friend had called in a repair man because the heating unit went out on her dryer. As a mother of 3 boys at the start of soccer season, this was a real problem! As the repair man fixed things, he pulled out the lint filter. It was clean because my friend has the habit in place to clean the lint filter every time she empties the dryer. Although it appeared clean, there was an invisible unpermeating film that sat on top. He ran some hot water on it and it just sat on top of the mesh!

The repair man explained the dangers of this ‘common’ situation. As this film builds up it burns out the heating unit and dimishes the life of your dryer. It also causes dryer units to catch fire and potentially burn your house down with it.

Apparantely, the problem occurs from a buildup from dryer sheets. Although I don’t normally use dryer sheets, the advice is easy enough to follow, that I’ll do it anyway. This repair man recommended taking out your filter and washing it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every 6 months (more if you do many washes using dryer sheets). He said this will make the life of your dryer at least twice as long and help lower your electric/gas bill. Be sure to rinse all the soap residue and dry the lint screen completely before returning it to the dryer.