Recently, I had a bit of a working parent meltdown. This is the first year where I have 2 kids in daycare and the oldest at another school. That combined with the stress of work and just life in general and I was already on the brink. Then I received an email from my oldest’s teacher saying that I didn’t send her to school in the requested yellow field trip shirt, so she might not be able to go on the class field trip. It was official: I was the worst mom ever. Cue tears from her and me. I spent about five minutes feeling sorry for myself and then I sent up the bat signal on my favorite mom Facebook group page.
And as always, these incredible moms who I’ve never even met in person jumped in with some simple but profound ways to help me keep my stuff together. I’ve gathered my favorites (and added a few of my own) here to share with you in hopes they make YOUR life a bit easier too.
Try one, try them all, but just try and see if it makes your life a little bit easier.
I love a paper planner and had invested quite a bit in one (because I NEEDED all the cute matching accessories!) And while the planner was adorable, it was big and bulky and I didn’t like carrying it with me. My phone, on the other hand, is always permanently on my person. And my phone can do a few things that a paper planner cannot: send me reminders, sync the calendar with my husband and much more. So at the recommendation of these fine ladies, I became a Todoist premium member that day and love it. For the low, low price of $28.99/year, I get a host of benefits and a bit of my sanity back.
Write the medicine dates directly on the bottle.
With three kids aged six and under and in daycare or at school, someone is always sick. I’m sure that I’m two office visits away from having a room at the pediatrician’s office named after me. Some medicines are twice a day for 10 days, some are once a day for five days while hopping on one foot, etc. We couldn’t keep it straight, which lead to me and my husband constantly asking each other “Did you give P his medicine today?” And honestly, some days I can’t remember if I did or not with ten thousand other things going on. I found this genius hack on Pinterest and it’s made my life so much easier. Simply take a Sharpie and write out all of the days that the medicine is taken for and checkboxes for each doseage. Check them off immediately after dispensing. No more “Did you give him his medicine?” or “How much longer does he need to take this for?” Plus there’s the added bonus of checking a box, which feels soooooo goooooood.
Outsource something you hate.
I hate cleaning my house. I work all dang week, and then I’m supposed to spend my weekend doing more work? No, thank you. Plus, that time spent cleaning was time spent away from my family, not to mention since I hate cleaning it left me in a bad mood. So I finally pulled the trigger and hired a cleaning lady. I asked my neighbors for the name of the service they used and called for a neighborhood discount. Now, twice a month, the cleaning fairies come while I’m work and I get to come home to clean house and some extra time with my family, which is well worth the $65 price.
What is the one thing you hate doing? Paying bills, meal planning, cleaning your house, doing the laundry? If the answer is all of the above, well, join the club. But pick 1-2 things that you absolutely hate doing, and hire someone else to do it. Seriously. If you’re a working parent, your time is too valuable to be spent on doing something you hate. And if you’re worried about the cost, you’ll be amazed at the amount of people who are looking to earn money on the side. You can find them by asking around, posting a note on Facebook, or looking online for virtual assistants or on sites like Fiverr.
Pick 1-2 things that you absolutely hate doing, and hire someone else to do it
Buy your kids socks in bulk.
Yes, little bitty socks with your child’s favorite cartoon character on them are so cute! But they’re also so annoying when you can’t find the matching one. I’m convinced my kid’s socks and my hair ties are all having a party in some hidden corner of my house. So to solve the nuisance created by only being able to find one Princess Sofia sock, I stopped buying them and only buy plain old boring white socks in bulk. My kids could care less and if one gets lost, there’s 19 more that will match it. Bonus points if you can color code socks by child, but I haven’t been able to yet.
Set up all your bills on autopay (or at least electronic payment) through your bank.
Why it took me so long to do this, I will never know. But I’m so glad I did! Most major banks now have a bill pay service, usually offered for free with your checking account. Before, I had to maintain a spreadsheet with URLs, logins and passwords for my mortgage, utility company, cell phone, cable, you name it. One day I finally gathered all my bills and set up direct payment through my bank. It took FIFTEEN MINUTES to set everything up and has saved hours, not to mention my sanity.
But if you HAVE to write a check, write it and put it in a stamped envelope as soon as it’s received.
You can mail it when you’re ready, and you won’t have to worry about having an envelope and stamp at the last minute.
Plan your children’s outfits out for the week.
The yellow-shirt scenario could’ve been avoided! If your children are young enough to let you dress them, plan out their outfits on Sunday night. This also lets dads help them get dressed without looking like dad dressed them (an important distinction.) If you have an older child or a determined toddler, tell THEM to pick out all their outfits on Sunday night for the week ahead. And if your three-year-old wants to wear a tutu with cowboy boots, then let them.
Have at least two full outfits for yourself ready to go.
I’m talking two complete outfits, down to the accessories, all gathered together on a hanger. Save these for the mornings when you forget to set your alarm or your toddler is throwing a tantrum because big sister looked at her funny. And if you don’t feel like wearing the first outfit, you’ll have a backup. I love dresses for days when I’m in a rush because it’s less to think about.
What are some of your favorite parenting and life hacks that you want to share with other busy moms?
- Stop the insanity! Share with your friends!