Being a mom is not for the faint of heart. I’ll just get that out of the way now. It’s not easy and Mama, if you’re reading this, then I need you to know first and foremost, that you are already doing amazing. Like ah-mazing! But so many of you are also working moms and mom entrepreneurs and struggle to find the time to not only get the endless loads of laundry done and figure out what the heck to feed the kids, you’re also looking (or should I say dying, craving, yearning!) for a little YOU time, which you totally deserve and need! Here are a some of my favorite life Hacks for busy Mamas so that you can free up a little more time for you and your crew:
My Top Life Hacks for the Busy Mamas
1. Cook larger meals and even two meals in one night so that you can have leftovers for at least two days. Sometimes I will cook both meals and then take a day off so the kids don’t feel like they are truly having leftovers. For whatever reason, it doesn’t seem like leftovers to them if they get to eat something different in between.
2. Turn those meals into a different dinner using the same cooked protein. In our home, chicken thighs are a staple. They are super easy, everyone loves them (except my 4-year-old son, who is my vegetarian at heart), and the best part: I can use them to make something totally different on another night. What might be baked chicken thighs on a Wednesday might because chicken tacos on Friday. So take my word for it, cook more than you need each night so that you can become the leftover queen!
3. Pizza Fridays! In our home, nearly every Friday is pizza night. It’s like a party to celebrate the end of the school week and for this mama, it’s one night that I don’t have to think about meal prep. I don’t even make the kiddos eat veggies, which can I just say, is VERY hard for me to do. But sometimes Mamas, we just have to let go and let them eat pizza. Or whatever is your household junk food favorite. And it doesn’t have to be Friday. Pick a day that feels like the most needed day for a meal prep break for you. For me, that’s Friday. But maybe for you, Saturday feels more celebratory. Or maybe Tuesday does. Since you are probably the primary food planner, you get to call the shots on this one.
3. OK, let’s talk laundry. Depending on the age of your kids, start incorporating them! They are FULLY capable of helping (yep, I have seen my now 7-year-old twins folding laundry when they were 5 years old). And after 12 years old, they are capable of doing their own laundry (and it’s good for their self-esteem). The point is, you Mama, do not have to be all things for all people and when you share the responsibility of household chores, you include everyone into this very important family dynamic: the dynamic that states that a home functions best when all are included. So have your littles pick up the socks that are scattered throughout the house like a sloppy robber who leaves clues. Teach them NOW how to keep an area clean, fold their shirts and match their socks. You will have to remind and teach them over and over and over and over and over again, but don’t give up! Giving them age-appropriate chores now is good for their self-esteem and equips them for taking care of their own home later.
4. Get up earlier. You all may not like this one Mama, but I’m going to say it anyway: get up early. Maybe you already do this, but getting up well before the rest of your crew wakes up is like this sweet little moment of quiet time that so often gets overlooked. In fact, as I sit here at 4:30am writing this, I am grateful for the peace and quiet I have; to think, create and share without interruptions, food requests and school lunch prep. Make this early morning time all about YOU. When you get in bed at the end of the day, what are those things you wished you had done but, “didn’t get around to it?” Mama, get around to it! You have the time, you just need to make the time. Decide what you would love to give yourself, how long that would be, and what time you need to put your Mama superhero cape on and tackle the day, and that’s where you get your ideal wake-up time. For me, I am choosing 4am these days because I like to do my Bible devotions, workout, create, and definitely enjoy my coffee sitting down before the morning routine has me losing my coffee mug and having to re-heat the darned thing 12 times before finishing it! Anyone else relate? Well, this brings me to:
5. Be in bed by 10pm at the latest. This will make getting up early SO much easier. Make a commitment to yourself to turn off Netflix, get off social media and slide those tootsies in bed by no later than 10pm. And I promise, it gets easier!
6. Work out for you! I don’t know what exercise you like but there are so many options out there now for doing what I call “sprint workouts.” These days, I do a 15-minute class while rice is cooking; or I’ll end the day with a 15-minute yoga class once the kids are in bed. I try and get to 60 minutes per day, but I totally do not believe that it is a must that the 60-minutes be in one timeframe.I hope this helps! I have a bazillion more ideas if you want them.Hang in there Mama!!
*Ok, let’s talk grocery shopping. I used to pay my babysitter (when I had one) so that I could go to the grocery store. Then I discovered Instacart (you could also use Amazon deliveries). I am not joking when I say that it changed my life! I can’t tell you the last time I actually went to the grocery store (which means I don’t buy a bunch of extra stuff that I don’t need) AND I have gained so much extra time that I didn’t use to have! I call that a Win Win!*Create closable areas. What does that mean? It means that in order for us mamas not to feel like we are going to be buried under the piles of toys, books and arts and crafts, I think it is essential to make some of these spaces able to close. I bought a used cabinet on Craigslist (with doors) and that’s where my kiddos’ art supplies go. That way, even if it’s a disaster inside, if I don’t have the time to organize it, I can just close the doors and voila! It’s as if the mess disappears!*Get family involvement. This of course depends on the ages of the kids, but once kids are old enough to help, engage them (I mentioned this in the laundry suggestion too). For example, in the mornings, once I have made breakfast and lunches for school, I pick out my kids’ school clothes (twin 7-year-old girls and a 4-year-old boy). But I need to get ready too, so I have the girls help my little guy. They help him get dressed, help him brush his teeth, comb his hair, etc. And the best part is, they love it! If I have learned anything as a parent, it’s that kids LOVE to feel like they are a part of things. It makes them feel helpful, special and capable. More wins!I’m going to write these suggestions and post them on my website (www.the sweetlife.co) so that you can print them out if you want to.