We can’t do it all, but that won’t stop us from trying. See below for some tips that help me get by as busy working mom of two.
Start by checking out what’s on sale at local grocery stores and then plan a weeks worth of menus around those items. Keep a running list of family-favorites and also new recipes that you can pull from. I also do inventory of what we need for breakfast and packed lunches that week and do a big shop on Sunday afternoon. Post the menu where everyone can see it like on the refrigerator. Note: there is no shame in penciling in takeout for nights you know will be busy. And slow cookers are your friends!
Calendars are great for weeks or months at-a-glance, but to tackle a day at a time, lists are where it’s at! Write down everything you need to do in a day chronologically or in order of importance, including gimmes like “take shower”. Incorporate all the details you need, like times and what exactly you need to get at the pharmacy. And be sure to have a pen handy to mark off to-dos as you complete them.
With a list as your guide, it’s easy to see where you might be able to do more than one thing at a time like making a phone call as you unload the dishwasher or paying multiple bills at a time while you’re sitting at your computer. For busy moms, it’s not about working harder, but working smarter and maximizing your effectiveness.
This is a biggie when you’re working against a big to-do list. Think about your support network including your husband, friends and <gasp> children and utilize them appropriately. Why go out of your way to drop off dry cleaning when your husband drives right by there on his way to work? And in addition to regular chores, your older children can, and should, help you tackle what needs to be done for the day like quickly switching a load of laundry before heading out the door for practice.
Give yourself a leg up by getting things in order the night before. Like laying out outfits and packing sports bags, making lunches and prepared snacks, writing out your to-do list, encouraging nightly versus morning showers and tackling things that can be done “after hours” like bill paying and answering emails. Ahh, tomorrow is seeming better already! Did I mention that slow cookers are your friends?
Running a tight ship is great, but so is having fun. So be sure to schedule some planned personal, like a date night, and family, like a weekend matinee, activities into your schedule. Something for everyone to look forward to! And don’t be afraid to be spontaneous. Randomly stop for ice cream – why not? Forego a planned dinner for pizza and game night – sounds awesome!