*This post is updated from one I wrote in 2015 on my previous domain.
I share my Top 10 life hacks for working moms to stay sane.
When I re-branded this blog, I had the vision that it would focus very much on the working mother and what her needs are. I want to include as many resources to help her and while I was trolling through some old posts I had written on my previous domain, I came across this goodie. I decided to update it a little bit and repost it. I really want as many people as possible to benefit from the information and having many readers now I thought it best to give some of my older posts new life so everybody can benefit from them with new information. Many may not find it helpful or interesting at all and that’s alright too, but these are some of the things that get me through and so I want to share them with you.
When I was thinking about writing this post, I knew I wanted to do a resource post and I had a few ideas, but the one that stood out to me was something that could potentially in only a few steps really make any working moms life a whole lot simpler. So this is what I have for you today. My top 10 things that we as working mothers need to do to get by and stay sane. These are really just the things that I do to make my life easier and you can adapt or add to them as it suits you. There are more but I thought to keep it to the top 10 to make it simpler.
1. Write lists & Make notes
if you like it on actual paper then try this printable or buy a nice list pad online or at some stationary outlets if you are like me though and you like it on a mobile device then there are quite a few free and paid for Apps you could consider. I use and Android App called Evernote but it is available on Itunes also. It is like the one spot to put everything on. You can write lists, make notes, upload pics and even clips from websites and have separate virtual “notebooks” for whatever you want. You can even connect to others in your address book and have chats regarding notes. It’s very savvy and I love it.
Keep an electronic diary on your mobile using the installed calendar app, or use Google Calender. If you like it old school, then I really can recommend the M.O.M or W.O.W diaries. You must make it a habit of penciling in all appointments and important dates that you need to remember, from play-dates to Tuck days or bake sale events and sport matches, Doctors appointments or taking your doggie to have its hair done, or your car serviced. Those are just the personal things. I suggest keeping 2 calendars. One for business and one for personal. Forgetting just the slightest thing because you thought you would write it in later, can lead to an upset in the whole apple cart on any particular day, because in some cases logistical arrangement needed to be made in advance.
3. Get a Personal Assistant
Ok not a real live breathing one, but a virtual one nonetheless. This people, is my lifesaver. Sometimes you can’t always write things down but need to remember them when you are talking to someone on the phone for instance, or need to remember to call them back when you can’t pick up immediately, or if you just want to remember what your conversation was about so that you can get your ducks in a row when you diarise things. This brings me to my 3rd Android App that I love having, and it is called RefreshMe – Personal assistant. It is a no frills “memory” for you. I have the memory of a sieve. I struggle to remember names of people and also little details that actually are important when I get phone calls from people. For instance if someone calls to say they will be late in the office I literally just make a note directly from that phone call and send it via whatsapp to my boss or add it directly your calendar for instance in case I forget, which I do on my way to work with all that is going on in the mornings. It’s also handy when you get calls from numbers that you don’t know. You can make a note with the name of the person that you spoke to and where they were calling from. In future the App will reference all previous calls from that number with an exact history of the conversations etc. The only downside is the free ads you get popping up but I deal with it for the convenience of the app that works a charm. Unfortunately this is only for Android.
4. Make friends with the school calendar
Our school is one of quite a few that use an app called a D6 School Communicator and this is how I keep my head together with regards to everything school related. The communicator allows you to share things to your own calendar or to any organisational app that you have on your phone or tablet or PC and so you can keep all things school related nice and organised. No more forgetting the bake sale or Parent Teachers meetings or where the next sport event is. Go and check it out. Chances are your school is also using it and you will be able to connect to it immediately via your app store.
Ok so those are all the helpful tools that I have for you, next is the personal stuff.
5. Be totally unapologetic about your lifestyle
I read a great descriptive on this somewhere and it went ” Making excuses for working, is like wearing a short skirt and constantly pulling on it”. Seriously, why you chose to work or even if you couldn’t choose and have to do it, is nobody else’s business but yours. Trying to defend it or explaining it or your situation to anybody is not going to help you at all. Be comfortable with your own decision and own it
6. Don’t let your tank run dry
I am not talking about your literal fuel tank here, although that could really upset the apple cart. I mean you absolutely must take time out for yourself and make time for you and your spouse after hours. Me time at the hairdresser, a facial, manicure or just a cup of tea and a few chapters in a book before you go to sleep are good choices. Date nights are something that I struggle with but must not be overlooked. I came across a really lovely blog the other day that is full of inspiration and is called just that “Date Nights”. Go check it out Bianca Rael has some really great ideas on there plus reviews on restaurants and some giveaways.
7. Switch off and disconnect
Now I know it’s hard, sometimes we just need to check and email or update and FB status or load that cute pic of your toddler to Instagram, but there comes a time in each day where you really need to put that all away and just be present with your family. This is a really good article that I read on a blog called Hands Free Mama entitled “How to miss a childhood” it really struck a chord and now I make it my mission to be present when I am around my kids. Her whole blog goes against pretty much everything I mentioned above when she explains what Hands Free Mama is about but she has some really good advice in this post.
8. Have a school Network
Make friends with two moms you can count on in each child’s grade. If you help them when you can, it will be easier to ask for help when you need it and you will have a mini support network that isn’t family. I have this with my Friend Cindy and another Mommy who often helps me out where school sports are concerned. I really couldn’t do it without them.
9. Plan your meals weekly or Cook in advance
If you sit every Sunday night and do this, you are well on your way to evenings of less stress, trust me. Find a Printable here on my board I created on Pinterest. Some of them include shopping lists so you know exactly what you need to buy on Monday for the whole week ahead. I particularly like the one in the image. If you would prefer it there is an App for that too I like Food Planner App You can import any recipe with a URL and make Meal plans and grocery lists into the app. This is really awesome if you have the time to set it up. Once you have all your meal plans, you can go as far as delegating who will cook what and or which of the children will be responsible for what portion of that meals preparation. i.e Peeling carrots or grating cheese. This is going to save you major hassle and will get you finished much earlier than usual, if you know what you will be doing and have all the ingredients. Woolworths is also really clever. On the Taste website you can select any recipe and purchase your ingredients right there and have it delivered to you. This is really handy and there are really great easy weekday meals to choose from. You can even go as far as preparing the weeks meals on a weekend and freezing them. I do this sometimes but really only when I have a free weekend which isn’t often the case. I can also recommend going over to have a look at Adrienne Bogatie’s Blog called Kashering Your Life. Adrienne offers Workshops and menu planning services that seem like they could be very handy. Also, why don’t you add this nice easy winter warmer Broccoli & Cheese soup recipe to your menu plan. It is a great one for really busy Mom’s and it is done in the blink of an eye.
10. Eat at least one meal together at the table
I know sometimes this is really not easy or practical, but it really does help to have one focused meal together a day. This is a time for a quick catch up and bonding that often gets lots during the whirlwind of daily life. We too often as family member pass each other like ships in the night without really connecting. This article really made me sit up and realize just how important it is.
A few other things I would like to add that you could think about are:
Keep your children’s bed time routine as stable as possible. Kids love stability. Climb into bed together with a story and spend as much time as possible just connecting with them.
If you are not able to help out during the week with school activities and would still like to get involved then approach the school and ask about weekend volunteers needed for events etc. I am sure they will appreciate it.
Keep a positive connection with your kids all weekend. Plan a fun-filled weekend outing or event for them that they can look forward to and tell them about it early in the week so that they can really look forward to it.
If you have errands to run during the week then try to keep them in the “Golden Triangle” which is Home, School & Office. Identify those that would be child friendly errands and see if you can involve your kids at those times. This way you can also spend more time with them.
If you can’t host weekday play dates for your children then do them on the weekends. That way you can get to know your children’s friends and family. This is really important.
I really hope this post has been informative and given you something to think about and help you plan better. It doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as we often end up feeling it is. And just so you know, I don’t always get these things all right or do them properly but they are tools to use and things to think about. Try what you can when you can and you should see a difference.
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Take care and have a great weekend
Featured Image credit to CGS Creative