Twenty five years ago things were not so different for young mothers as they are today. At the time, Joanne Lalonde Hayes, a young Montreal girl, recent MBA grad and strategic planner with a large firm, had a choice to make. Pregnant with her third child in just over two years, she had to choose between finding someone to care for her three small children or staying home with them herself. “It was a hard decision to make because I loved my job. It was a big job, there were few women in the oil industry at the time, and there were glass ceilings to break.”
Though it meant one salary, no frills and a car you had to climb into, her desire to be with her children won the day. With the support of her husband, Joanne stayed home, but things did not run as smoothly as they had in the board room.There were no agendas, no meetings, no lunches and no respect for moms. There were dirty diapers, dirty dishes and dirty floors to clean. There were things to sort, things to mend, things to buy, things to do but mostly there were things to cook. And there were no management tools for mothers. There was nothing on the market to help moms do this overwhelming essential job.
How could this be? Necessity is the mother of invention and Joanne was determined to have a quiet healthy loving home. In an effort to stem the chaos, she designed an easy meal planning system to make sure her children ate healthfully and deliciously with as little effort, time and expense required as possible. It took a year to perfect but finally, it worked so well for her family, she decided to share it with other moms.
In August of 1993 with her youngest in school, she raised money from family and friends to found More Time Moms Publishing Inc. to bring her “mom tools” to market. She printed 5,000 copies of More Time Cooks, her meal planning kit, received some local publicity and spent the next 2 months refilling bookstore after bookstore from her broken car until sales were so good that the retailers’ head offices put in national orders. More Time Cooks was a great success but in one sense, it brought more chaos. “One day, early on, my youngest came into my office crying because I had missed an appointment with her. I was sorry and tried to make it up to her. I told her to put our new date on the calendar so that I wouldn’t forget. Two seconds later she comes back into the room crying even louder. “There is no room on the calendar for me.” And that is the day I designed the Family Organizer, so that there would always be room for my children, for my family.”
The Family Organizer was an instant success and has gone on to help millions of families organize their lives and improve their quality of family life. It has spawned a calendar category and Costco Wholesale Canada alone, has sold more than 1 million Family Organizers and Agenda Familials.
This year, in honour of MTM’s 20th anniversary, the Family Organizer has a whopping 546 appointment and reminder stickers including new star stickers to help you track kids’ chores and personal challenges. Now you can use the new cheering message board and stars to help motivate, teach responsibility and build self esteem. MTM is a successful Canadian company that continues to look for ways to help families spend more time with their children. MTM prints all their titles and displays in Canada and donates much to charities for mothers and children.