It was a long day. After getting up at 5:30am to start the morning routine, I came home from work at 6:30pm after meetings, miles of driving to school, dance, and work. As I walked into our house, I smelled something delicious coming from our Crock-Pot. On my way past kitchen, I said to myself, “You did it. Being a working mom doesn’t have to be so stressful." This day, like others, involved working and lots of mothering, and sometimes at the same time. Since I can’t exist without sleep because my body insists on getting it, I had to recently explore some good timesaving ideas from the experts. For moms on the go, life can get a bit hectic. One of these ideas might give you that extra time you're looking for. Imagine that?
1. Wake up a little early.
Moms need to get a healthy amount of sleep every day. However, try to wake up a bit earlier than your children. Many of us are going full speed from the second we wake up until the second we go to sleep. By waking up just 15 to 20 minutes before your kids, you'll be assured a little peace and quiet time before starting off the day. Achieve Sanity!
2. Getting out the door in the morning (without anyone in tears) is the only thing you have to do before 8:00 a.m.
Stop trying to organize everything. Your only goals are to leave the house looking put together and without your first-grader crying because she hates getting dressed in the morning. If that means you put her to bed in her school clothes to avoid a 7 a.m. tantrum, you’re a genius!
3. Do work at home; do home at work.
You need to accomplish a certain number of things during a 24-hour period. Where you complete those things is beside the point. You just need to check them off the list in order to free up time for the things you want to do. Pedicures come to mind and reading. So go ahead: Pay your bills at the office during your lunch hour, and check your work e-mail at home while you’re waiting for the kids to show up to the dinner table.
4. Stop thinking of yourself as split into separate but equal roles: mother, worker, me.
They say listen to philosopher John Locke, who said that a person recognizes himself as the same being throughout his life, in different times and places. You are one person, indivisible, who happens to wear many hats. And while the weight of all those hats can wear you down, be happy you’ve got something important to do.
5. Grocery shop just once a week.
If you have to run to the grocery store with little ones several times a week, it can be exausting. Pick one day a week as a grocery shopping day and stick to it. Make a shopping list throughout the week and let everyone know that you are going to the store on that particular day. By making one big trip instead of lots of smaller trips, you'll save time and money.
6. Figure out your time wasters.
We all have things we do that waste time. Do you spend 15 minutes looking for your keys every morning? Start putting them on a hook on the door. Do you waste an hour surfing the web every night before bed? Limit screen time in your house — for your kids and yourself. By figuring out your time wasters and finding solutions, you'll save time and your sanity.
7. Prepare the night before.
Getting kids (and yourself) out the door in the morning can be a difficult. Do as much as you can the night before to get prepared. Kids and adults should lay out their clothes for the next day. Backpacks and briefcases can be loaded up, lunches can be packed, and the table can be set for breakfast. By doing a little extra the night before, you can cut down on the chaos in the morning, when family members are tired and more irritable.
8. Pack an emergency bag.
Whether you are just going to the grocery store or you are headed out on a road trip, you should have an emergency bag in your car. This bag should be more than a first aid or road safety kit. It should have things to keep your kids happy and occupied in the car, such as books, travel games, snacks and other essentials.
9. Cook ahead on the weekend.
Try spending Sunday afternoon preparing dinners for the rest of the week. During the week, many families end up eating junk or fast food because they think they don't have time to cook meals. If you spend one afternoon cooking and freezing meals, you can prepare enough food for your family for a week or more. If you have food prepared ahead of time, it won't matter if you get stuck in traffic or have to work late. You'll always be just 30 minutes away from a delicious family meal.
10. Take advantage of apps.
There is an app for everything! Take advantage of technology to help save time and your sanity. With banking apps, you can deposit checks from your phone. With grocery apps, you can use coupons without any clipping. With calendar apps, you can keep your family's appointments and events organized. With food apps, you can find recipes that are quick and healthy.
So….Remember what matters most. Mother Teresa said, "It’s not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing that matters." Checking items off of your to-do list with great efficiency may feel awesome, but always stay focused on the big picture. Why is it that you’re trying so hard to be so organized and check so many items off your list anyway? It’s so you can maximize the time you’re able to spend with your little ones, while they’re still little and they still crave your time and attention. The time that you actually get to spend playing, talking, reading, snuggling, walking and laughing with your kids is more important than any errand, e-mail message, or chore. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and your kids just want to talk, just take a deep breath, settle down and start listening. The pile of laundry can wait.
Do you have some timesaving tips that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them! Please share in the comments below.