No matter where I look, there is always something about the house that needs cleaned or repaired, the children need attention, I have things I would like to do- you get the picture. Any parent can tell you that there are too many things to do and not enough time on the day to do it all.
If you’re like me, I am always on the lookout for tips, tricks, or hacks to get more stuff accomplished quicker. Who wouldn’t want more time to spend on a hobby, to exercise, to use for self-care, or to spend extra quality time with the family?
Mom-it Like a Boss
1. Do a load of laundry each day
My mother always had Saturday as the designated day to clean house and wash laundry. I’ve tried that and found it just doesn’t work for me. My kids create a large number of dirty clothes now that it is warm enough to play outside each day. My husband only uses a towel once instead of reusing it again, so there are always towels needing to be washed. I wash my delicates separate from everyone else’s clothing. The only way I can keep up with it all is to wash at least one load of laundry each day. This helps keep the mountains of laundry needing to be cleaned at any one time to a minimum.
2. Use a shopping list app
Have you ever entered the grocery store and realized that you’ve forgotten your shopping list at home? I use BigOven on my smartphone, which is a great app. BigOven allows me to keep track of what groceries I need to buy, plan a menu and automatically add the necessary ingredients to my shopping list. I can even find recipes to make by using the groceries I have on hand at home. I no longer have to circle around the store trying to think of menu ideas and then making sure I have bought what I need to make them. What’s even better is that I can share the shopping list, so that if my husband is planning a trip to the store or drops in on his way home he can see what we need. No more late night trips to the store for milk.
3. Let someone else do the shopping for you
Many retailers give customers the option to order groceries online and then drive to the store to pick them up, already bagged and ready to go. I have done this at my local Dillons (Kroeger) and it was awesome. I can load coupons on my account online, which are used at checkout. I didn’t have to walk around looking for what I needed. I didn’t have to hear the kids beg for something they saw on the shelves. I didn’t have to wait in line. I pulled up to the designated spot and out came my groceries- I didn’t even have to load them in the car.
4. Wear pockets
So this tip might sound silly, but I try to only buy clothes with pockets, which is hard to do with women’s clothes. Instead of making multiple trips back and forth to different rooms, I will load up my pockets. If I see an errant toy where it shouldn’t be, I pick it up and stash it in my pocket until I can take it to the toybox. Having pockets saves me a lot of running around.
5. Use a shared calendar
Keep track of all of your family’s calendar items in one place- birthdays, appointments, sports games, school functions, etc. I like to use a shared calendar so that my husband and I can both view and add to it. I can carry it on my phone and no longer have to write notes to myself (which I usually lose). Plus, no more can my husband say he wasn’t aware of a planned activity. Using e-mail reminders and timed reminders is especially handy so we don’t miss anything.
Some people can’t multitask. Others will argue that multitasking is not really something that can be done. I disagree; to get stuff done at home and at work, I must multitask. I load the dishwasher while I am cooking. I fold laundry while watching Netflix. I call my mom to chat while picking up around the house. I will listen to books or podcasts while I clean and catch up on my favorite series on my Kindle while walking on the treadmill.
7. Can’t get picky eaters to eat vegetables?
Add undercover veggies to everyday meals to sneak in nutrition your picky eater would normally be missing. Add finely pureed carrots to a jar of spaghetti sauce or finely pureed squash to your macaroni and cheese. Other foods, like riced cauliflower, zucchini noodles, or broccoli tots are great ways to add variety and get food eaten that would have otherwise been skipped.
8. Use bribery
While some people will tell you bribery is wrong, I say use it if you can (obviously, to a point). If my daughter wants to stay up late she has to do a chore. If we’re having a particularly bad week with lots of grumpiness and resistance I may buy something she likes, such as a color book, with the condition that she only gets it if we have two days of no arguing or talking back. If we are going to have dessert after dinner we have to eat an extra serving of vegetables. My mom used to periodically give me $10.00 to clean the inside of her car. We both benefited; she got a chore that she didn’t have time to take care of and I had extra spending money. Stick to what works.
9. Give everyone a responsibility
When everyone pitches in and has a household responsibility there’s less for you to take care of. My children help pick up toys every night before bed. My daughter has to put all of her dirty clothes in her bedroom hamper. She matches socks while watching TV.
10. Make children as independent as possible
Teaching your kids how to do things for themselves at an early age takes other responsibilities off of your daily list. The tasks should be age appropriate, of course. Abby likes to “help” so she will set the table for me before dinner. Buy a plastic Sterlite (or similar) five drawer container and add an outfit to each drawer so your kids can just grab and go each morning. We don’t have cable, so my daughter is learning to navigate the Xbox so that she can select Netflix or Amazon Prime and start a cartoon without having to interrupt me cooking breakfast or taking a shower.
11. Keep extras on hand
I try to keep extra canned foods or frozen foods in my “second pantry” in the basement. This ensures that I don’t have to run to the store if I am missing something for a meal or need to fix something at the last minute.
Keep an array of birthday, thank you, get well, or condolences cards on hand so that you’re always prepared. A small box of $10 kids toys or small gifts is always a good idea too: that way if you remember that you forgot to pick up something for the birthday party happening in an hour or a friend drops by with a surprise Christmas gift you have something that can be used in a pinch.
12. Ask for help
Ask your high school or college age niece or nephew to come over and play with the kids while you mow the grass or do chores about the house. Take the kids to Grandma’s for the afternoon so that you can have a little time to yourself. In my experience, others are happy and more than willing to help if you ask.
13. Accept that it can’t all be done
You’re only human. There are only so many hours in the day. No one can get everything they want and need to get done all of the time. Pick what is most important and don’t sweat the other stuff.
I hope my tips are helpful to you and you can ‘mom-it like a boss!’ Get it done!
Do you have any tips or suggestions that you would like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!