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When Working Mothers need answers

      Last week, my two middle schoolers came home with elective choices for next year. The choices included high-school level courses such as Spanish. Should my daughter have the pressure of high school while she's still in middle school? 

      Once again, I turned to the "Mommy Network."  If I had any advice for a new mother who plans to balance work and family this is it: make sure you have a network of mothers who are plugged in to what is going on in your children's schools, the latest research on pediatric medicine, the sign up schedules for local sports teams, and the best deals in town on kid stuff. Some moms have made being in the know their full-time jobs. I respect them for that. Over the years, I have worked hard to assemble a Mommy Network of women in the know and it has paid off big time.

          Yes, I could have gone to school counselors for the 411. But any working mom who needs answers knows the Mommy Network can provide firsthand experience on how choices play out in real life. A few phone calls later, I had heard a variety of opinions on course selection including facts I would never have considered had I not made the calls. We all know there is a LOT of pressure on kids to start their college planning at an early age. My paper, The Miami Herald, had an article this morning on a 12-year-old boy who already is in college tacking a double major. I think that's downright sad. But I do want my kids to have the best shot possible at the college of their choice.

        The Today Showrecently offered tips to become tech-savvy and plug into the online Mommy Network. The Internet is a wealth of information for parents and I love sites like MomLogic, the Parenting and Pregnancy section of WebMD, Yahoo! parenting groups and iVillage.  But one-on-one conversations with moms or dads in your local area with kids who have the same teachers, the same friends, the same doctors and join the same sport teams are crucial to those of us with questions that we need answered at the same time the boss awaits a return e-mail.

      Once again, my Mommy Network has come through for me with answers. Now, if only my kids would realize mommy knows best.