Wonderfully chaotic. This is how the authors of Mom Central generously describe the lives of typical parents. The first adjective is occasionally up for debate, but the second one is a perennially accurate description. Mom Central is a resource designed to create order from chaos. Bless them.

Lists are good, but lists only work when they can be found. Mom Central is essentially a books of lists just about every list a family will ever need permanently organized, color-coded, transportable, and updatable.

The authors created Mom Central when the disparity between business management and family management became all too frustratingly apparent. They sought to adapt the "organizational structure and proactive management systems" of their professional lives to the needs of their home lives. The most crucial material comes first: "Emergency and Medical." Caregivers have immediate access to all pertinent information: family names and addresses; phone numbers for police, poison control, neighbors, pediatricians, etc. It includes "Permission to Treat" forms and charts for past and present medications and vaccinations.

Other headings and some of their highlights include "Children ∧ Family" (back-to-school shopping, homework planning, goal-setting); "Child Care" (finding a nanny, selecting a Day Care, information for sitters); "Grown Ups" (family history, safe deposit box, daily to-do list, birthdays, shopping lists); "Entertaining" (child and adult party planners, holidays); "Home, Car ∧ Pet" (capital improvements and repairs, safety and maintenance, warranty records, car information, pet care while away, whom to contact for utilities and services); "Travel" (planning for day trips and longer outings, packing).

Don't let the number of headings be intimidating: The authors stress that Mom Central should help relieve stress. It's designed to accommodate individual needs and personal organizational thresholds. Even if only one or two sections are used, life could be immeasurably simplified. Who couldn't use a little more order and a little less chaos? By the way, Mom Central is an act of charity itself, but the authors take it a step further and donate part of the proceeds to charities benefiting women and children. Reviewed by Joanna Brichetto.

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