Being a working mom is wonderful, but it is exhausting at the same time. It is by far the hardest job I’ve had. At the end of each day, I don’t seem to have a lot of energy left in me, and I’m always wishing that I have more time in a day to allow me to accomplish more!
I’m constantly looking for some practical life hacks to implement in my life to make my life easier as a working mom. In today’s post, I’ve put together a list of 25 smart and time-saving tips for a busy working mom. There’s definitely no trick to making the chores (and kids) disappear, but there are plenty of life hacks that you can use to make your daily life more manageable.
While none of these are new ideas, and I’m sure some of you are already doing these, I hope this list inspires you to add on a few more hacks to your daily routine, and help you reclaim some of your precious time.
1. Live with less
My husband and I are currently house-shopping for our next home, and I insist on having a not-so-big home. The bigger the house, the more things we will have to fill up the space.
I always live by the mantra – less is better. Having less makes housekeeping easier. With four people in the house at the moment, I find that things add up really quickly. To help with minimizing our belongings, we declutter our kids’ closet after they grow out of their wardrobe, sell or donate whatever that no longer fits.
The whole point here is to control what comes into and stay in your house. Clutter can cause anxiety, so don’t let stuff overrun your life.
2. Get up early (before the kids do)
I usually wake up at 6:30am and I find that I am the most productive in the morning when the kids are sleeping. I can do whatever I want to do without any interruptions or kids yelling in the background.
3. I let my kids sleep in their school outfit
During the winter, I usually dress my kids in layers. They would wear their base layer to sleep, and when they wake up, we just throw another layer of sweater on before school.
During the summer, they would just wear the shirt for the following day, and change out their pants if needed.
Note, this phase doesn’t usually last forever since bigger kids like to dress in pajamas for bedtime and wear nicer clothes to school. So, do this while the kids are still young!
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4. Have essentials in your car for emergencies
This includes diapers, wipes, extra clothes and snacks. Read my post on the Essentials for Mom’s Emergency Car Kit to get an idea on what items are needed.
You never know… these things might come in handy one day when you’re stuck in traffic.
5. Meal prep
Plan the menu for the whole week in advance and stick to it. That way, you don’t have to answer the dreaded question of “what are we having for dinner today?”.
Meal planning can also save time when you grocery shop. Have that list ready and you’ll be in and out of the store quickly.
I am a big fan of using the slow cooker and the instant pot for meals. Just dump everything in there and let it simmer while you attend to other things. With the instant pot, you can even cook a piece of frozen chicken in 20 minutes without defrosting! Of course, it would be wise to vary up your menu. Kids are notorious for getting bored if you’re serving the same thing every week.
6. Create an easy routine for kids to follow and stick to it
Kids love it when their parents are consistent because they are creatures of habit.
That being said, create an easy routine for the whole family can lead to less yelling from mom.
For example, tell your kids it’s wake-up time when the alarm goes off and everybody is expected to brush their teeth and get ready for school.
Then for the evening routine, it could be putting away school things when they are home, have dinner and then it’s a little outdoor time before bath and bed time.
Routines make kids feel safe and secure. When they know what to expect next, it will lead to less arguing, and will make it easier for mom and dad.
7. Have family rules
By setting simple rules for your kids to follow, they will know what your expectations are.
House rules can also serve to prevent arguments. It will be even better if you can come up with the rules together. Children will be more invested if they feel like they have a say in the rules.
8. Hire help if you need it
If you need that additional 2 hours a day to finish up work and cook dinner, hire a nanny or a dependable person who could pick up the kids from daycare or school and play with them. By the time they get home, dinner will be ready and you’ll be done with work.
If hiring a nanny is out of your budget, consider hiring a college student to help with the kids, which can be more affordable than a nanny.
Alternatively, if you have family close by, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just remember, it takes a village to raise kids.
9. Have a cleaning schedule
Hiring a maid is not in everyone’s budget. If you can’t outsource this, create a cleaning schedule to make the task less daunting.
For example, I set aside Saturdays to clean the bathrooms, and Sundays to change out everybody’s bedsheets.
Even without hired help, you can still maintain a clean household without sacrificing too much time.
10. Give your kids chores
If your kids are old enough, assign them simple household chores. They should learn how to contribute, and know how to perform simple tasks like making their own beds or washing dishes.
You can even offer to top off their weekly allowance money if they do a good job.
11. Use technology to your advantage
Smart home devices can offer some conveniences. For example, Alexa can google for answers, or play toddler songs on command. This is especially useful if I have my hands dirty. I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to wash my hands before using my phone.
12. Simplify family schedule and don’t be afraid to say “No”
Even though I know my kids would enjoy a play date or really benefit from that soccer class on Saturdays, I have learned to say no to a dozen activities. We limit the number of activities on weekends so we can actually get some things done, and have a life as well.
In other words, do not overschedule your family.
13. Buy enough for a week during your grocery runs
I often shop enough to last us a week so we don’t have to run to the store so often for supplies.
I would cook and serve the perishables first, and leave fruits and frozen items that are longer-lasting to the end of the week. For example, bananas get packed in lunch boxes first, and the apples are the last to get eaten in the week.
14. Autopilot essentials like diapers and tissue paper
Think Amazon Prime’s Subscribe and Save service. If you know you’re going to need these supplies restocked once in a few months, subscribe so that it gets delivered consistently.
15. Automate your bills each month
This could be the first of each month, or the 15th. By setting payments to be on autopay, you don’t have to worry about missing a payment.
For our family, we’ve got all our utilities and phone bills set on auto-pay, but I do review my bills at the end of the month to make sure that things look fine.
For other bills that cannot be automated, I usually like to pre-pay a few months in advance so I don’t have to worry about these bills so often.
16. Batch some tasks
For instance, only grocery shop during the weekend, or batch your mail and sort through them once a week. You could also check and respond to your emails at a certain time of the day.
By doing so, you’re not constantly doing the same thing over and over again. When you set aside time to tackle these tasks, you can be more focused and create efficiency.
17. Buy gifts in advance
I actually have a small stash of birthday gifts at home that I purchased when they were on sale. This way, I don’t have to overpay for items, and I avoid any last-minute trips to the store.
18. Use group chats to keep up with family and friends
Who has time to chat with every single friend individually? Not me, and certainly not you, mama. With kids and a full-time work schedule, it will become harder to keep up with all the relationships.
Stay in touch with friends and family by creating group chats. That way, you’ll be in the loop with the latest news and make you feel less absent from the lives of your loved ones.
19. Shower at night
Even before I had kids, I was already doing this. Showering the night before can save you time in the morning, especially since mornings are always so hectic with the kids.
20. Keep everything near the entrance
Designate an area next to the door as a place where you can put your keys, bags, jackets, shoes and everything else that you need to grab as you’re running out. That way, nothing gets forgotten, and you’re not running around the whole house trying to look for something right before you leave.
21. Use the same bag everyday
I used to change my bags according to my outfit, but I no longer do that. Switching out bags takes time! Nowadays, I just carry the same bag everyday. My bag is super functional with lots of compartments, so I can fit everything in it.
22. Set small achievable goals every day
Goals are so important. It allows us to have something to work towards to.
Instead of big goals, set smaller goals so you can make progress everyday. Smaller goals allow you to have the opportunity to celebrate each success, and keep yourself motivated for the bigger goal.
23. Have a plan for the small pockets of time during the day
I’m sure you all will have that unexpected 30 minutes that frees up when your mom visits and offers to take the kids out for a walk.
I find it useful to have a running list of smaller but not urgent tasks to tackle. When you have moments like this, work on this list. Just remember not to start a big project because you’ll kick yourself for not being able to complete it by the time the kids are back home again.
24. Keep everything close to home
Keep your doctors, dentists and hair stylist close to home. That way, you save time on commuting.
25. Finally, prepare ahead of time
Personally, I am a planner, so I like to plan and prepare everything ahead of time. I find that last-minute work stresses me out. When I’m stressed out, I cannot focus and I get less things done.
For tasks that can be prepared ahead of time, do it the night before.
For example, pack lunches the night before if you don’t want to rush in the morning. Recently, I started packing my kids’ lunches in a Bento Box and they are such a game-changer. The individual compartments prevent liquids for seeping through, so nothing will get soggy.
There are only 1,440 minutes in a day, so there’s only so much we can do. It’s all about prioritizing and deciding what to do efficiently.
I hope you found these tips useful! What are some of the life hacks that you have adopted to help you save time and make your life as a working mom easier? Share time-savings hacks for overwhelmed moms that resonates most with you below!
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