10 time-saving tips to make life as a busy mom easier
How many times have you wished that there were more than 24 hours in a day? How many times have you started a sentence with “If I only had more time, I’d…”. If you’re anything like me, you don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number on. No matter how hard we try, time is just something that seems to elude us busy moms.
Over the past 4 years as a working mom, I’ve learned that having a little “free time” for myself everyday is a MUST. It doesn’t always work out, but I’m grateful to say that most days it does. Let me warn you…it was not easy to get to this point; there was a lot of trial and error to figure out what worked for me and what didn’t. In light of that I’d like to share with you some time-saving tips that I’ve found to be helpful:
1. Write all of your “to do’s” and appointments down. Whether you have a smartphone, a digital planner, a handwritten planner, or even a lined sheet of paper – make sure you have your “to do” list written down and on you at all times. I’m one of those people that has a really bad memory. If I don’t write it down, whatever it is I’m supposed to remember is likely gone forever. I have spent countless minutes and even hours trying to figure out what I was supposed to buy at the store or what time my hair appointment was (if I even remembered I had the appointment in the first place). Now all I have to do is just take a quick look and I know the answer. That means no more wasted time trying to figure out the forgotten. Plus as an added bonus, I’m not letting myself and others down. That in itself makes me feel good!
2. Ditch ironing. I know some of you are probably gasping at the prospect of no longer ironing clothes, but just give the idea a chance. I’m not saying go to work all wrinkly and disheveled looking, I’m just saying there is a much easier way to be “wrinkle free”. All you have to do is spray some water on whatever it is you want to wear and then smooth it out. Sure the clothes will feel damp for a few minutes after putting them on and you might not have the crisp lines that ironing brings, but you will have HOURS of extra time on your hands. At least I know I do. However, that could be because I stink at ironing, so it takes me forever. LOL Now, once in awhile you will come across something that you have to iron, but that’s a few minutes compared to the time you would’ve spent ironing everything.
3. Have dance time with your kid(s). One of the things most busy mom’s complain about is never being able to take the time to exercise. Spending a 1/2 hour with your kid(s) dancing goofy to some music is a great workout. Trust me…you’ll be out of breath. Also, not only are you getting your exercise in while doing this, but you’re also spending quality time with your kid(s). That’s a win, win, if you ask me.
4. Take a 1/2 hour to plan dinner for the week. Every Sunday I sit down for a hour and figure out what I’m going to make for dinner that week. From there I also write up a grocery list of the things I will need. Over the years I’ve found that taking the 1/2 hour up front saves me countless hours of frustration during the week. It means I don’t have to waste time scrambling to figure out what we have to eat or waiting in a long line at a Fast Food restaurant buying dinner. That wasted time, over the course of the week, tends to add up to way more than a 1/2 hour.
5. Go to the grocery store during off hours. Depending on where you live, you probably have a Meijer’s or a Walmart that is open 24 hours. On a night when my husband is putting my daughter to bed (we switch off nights) I will go to the grocery store around 8 p.m. Yes, I’m tired, but it is worth it in the long run. I am normally in and out in 45 minutes or less! What a huge difference from the hour to 1 1/2 hours I normally spend there (possibly more if I bring my hubby and/or daughter with me). It makes going out when I’m tired extremely worth it.
6. You don’t have to cook every night. When planning out my weekly menu I purposely make 2-3 days (depending on how crazy the week is) leftover/fend for yourself days. It does not make you a bad mom or wife if you don’t cook every night and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
7. Teach your kid(s) to be independent as early as possible. From the time my daughter was 2 she could get almost completely dressed on, was going to the bathroom on her own, and was brushing her teeth on her own, amongst other things. Now at the age of 4 she makes her own bed, helps set the table, etc. You want to know what the funny thing is? She actually enjoys it! The responsibility makes her feel good about herself and she loves the praise we give her when she accomplishes something. This means, not only is she saving me time by taking care of a few tasks, but she’s also building self esteem! Sounds like pretty good deal to me. 🙂
8. Fold laundry in front of the TV. Now most of you are probably already doing this, but I thought I’d mention it in case there are a few mom’s out there who haven’t caught on to this trick. Yes it make take a few minutes longer to fold the clothes, but during this time you get to watch part of a TV show you’ve DVR’d or a movie you’ve been dying to watch. Another win, win, as far as I’m concerned.
9. Run small errands or book appointments on your lunch hour. I’ve found that I can get all kinds of things accomplished during my lunch hour from banking, to writing thank you notes, to making a doctor appointment. Doing any of these things during this time will give you one less thing you need to worry about when you get home.
10. Only have a maximum of one pet at a time. I know this tip might sound a little strange, but think about it. Every pet you have means you have to spend time feeding it, grooming it, taking it to the vet, etc. I’m a huge animal lover so I can understand the draw of having a pet in the home, but when you start having multiple pets you are taking even more of your precious free time away. I mean let’s face it…chances are you’re the one taking care of most of these things. I have seen this happen to countless moms before, because they have a hard time saying no to the “adorable bunny” their child is asking for. Just remember to stay strong no matter how cute that perspective pet might be, because each one represents tons of lost time.
Now you might find that the above tips need some tweaking to fit your life or just won’t plain work for you, but I hope there is a least 1 or 2 that can possibly help you. I mean let’s be honest; no matter how much time we save ourselves we’ll always need more. It’s just a fact of life. However, anything we can do to make our lives as busy mom’s easier is worth a try.
Do you have any time saving tips that you’d like to share? If so please post them in the comments! I’m always looking for more ways to save time! 😉
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Starbucks blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”
~ by lisa pollard on June 22, 2011.