Let’s face it, as our kids grow up, life throws us different challenges. At first, it’s the lack of sleep, then trying to prevent them from climbing everything in site. As my kids hit their teen years, I have been promoted to chauffeur. I spend so much time driving kids to dance, play practice, youth group, hanging out with friends, and back home again and that’s all in one evening… I needed some time-saving tips for busy moms!
I searched and searched for tips that would work for my family and me. Ultimately, it was trial and error and nothing quite helped me the way I wanted it to. Here are the tips that helped me the most.
Schedules on a Calendar
One of the hardest things I struggled with is all the schedules. Often I would forget about a practice or meeting. I would feel awful about missing everything but feel so frazzled when I tried to keep it all in my head. So I created a calendar system to remember all the appointments.
Some people use online calendars such as Google Calendar, or Cozi. Others like more primitive versions like calendars you hang on the wall… I needed to use a combination of a couple of things. For large events that I need my husband to know about, I use Cozi. We share the calendar and both of us can enter the information we need the other to know. This is especially useful if he needs to schedule a trip for work or plans for a weekend. He can see if I have anything special on the calendar, and make decisions without me having to spend time talking over the schedules with him.
Check out Nichole’s tips for her kid’s sports calendar here. Busy Sports Mom Calendar Tips
After I set up my calendar, I head to my phone. Phone alarms are my best friend. I set alarms for getting my daughter ready for dance class, 15 minutes before we are ready to leave for play practice and at the start of the week for any other appointments that I am likely to forget. This has been a LIFE SAVER! There are many times I get wrapped up in work or a project and my alarm has saved us from missing something important.
Pick up groceries
One of my biggest time-saving tips is doing grocery pick-up. I was one of those people who really didn’t want to do pick-up because I liked to pick out my produce and meat by myself. As life became busier, I figured I would try it again. I still prefer to pick out my produce for special meals myself, but I can run to the store, grab those items and then pick up the rest and still save time.
While I am waiting for kids or appointments, I hop on my app and add things to my cart. I can save items I use every week and add what I need for meals also. A bonus to this is I tend to spend less than if I am at the store, and I can plan better so food doesn’t go bad before I shop again.
Yes, some items are out of stock and once in a while I get something that wasn’t quite what I was looking for but much of that can be avoided by taking the time to add replacement items to my cart. While it isn’t perfect, I get to have someone else shop while I am driving my kids around.
Food Prep Sundays
This one, I am not quite perfect at yet, but let me tell you… the weeks I do this run so much easier. During the week, I am running kids to and from activities all scheduled around dinner time (really why do they do that???). Dinner becomes an afterthought and we end up eating a Kwik Trip just about every night… I love my Kwik Trip meals but after a week of eating there… I need something new.
If I take the time to make food for the week on Sunday, we have leftovers for the week and the kids can just heat up their meals when they need to. Then I prep veggies and fruits to allow for quick additions to our meals.
Meals that work well for this are tacos, Chili, any soups, roasts, grilled meats (used in a variety of ways), stir fry, burrito bowls, quinoa bowls, and my favorite, empanadas just to name a few.
Check out Laura’s Meal planning tips here. Busy Mom Meal Plan: Avoid the drive-thru
Family Clean up time
Cleaning the house is always difficult for us. My husband and I both work from home and our kids are homeschooled, so we are ALWAYS home. My kids have chores to do but sometimes we need a little extra cleaning time to keep the home reasonably clean. Again, this is something I am working on but since I didn’t want to be the only one cleaning up, we take an hour of cleaning time. This keeps our house somewhat clean while not having to hear the kids complain that they do ALL the work around the house (well some of it). We set a timer, I make a list of things I want to be done, and we crank the music up and try to get as much off the list as possible. Most of the time, we finish the list before the timer goes off.
If I really get in the mood to keep the home clean, I learned from FlyLady.net that the timer is the key. Set it for 15 minutes and get as much done as you can.
When I am able to plan for our week using these time-saving tips, our lives run so much smoother. I don’t have the constant questions about what’s for dinner, or when we have to leave. The kids can go to our calendar, and meal plan and look for themselves. The peace of mind of that is well worth the effort it takes to plan.