Five Tips to Save Time
And Enjoy Being A Mom
I enjoy being a mom. Do not get me wrong. I love the taking care of the kids part. I love the taking care of the home part. It is just the taking care of the kids while I am taking care of the home. And my husband. And the laundry. And the Christmas cards (What? My friends and family will now be asking, "Christmas cards? We have not gotten those in three years!" Oh, just wait...I am sending them for. the. last. three. years.) And the cooking. And the dentist appointments. And...the new puppy.
There is just a lot to take care of being a mom. I am not complaining and I am not even going to say that I do not have enough time in the day to do everything, because I really do. We all do. Oh, don't get me wrong. I will be the first to say it would be nice to have "more time." And we can look at other people and think we know what is going on in their lives that make it so much easier and is reaping so much more time in their lives:
"Oh, she sends her kids to school. She has all day to get things done."
"Oh, she homeschools, she doesn't have to do anything with the school that takes up time."
"Oh, she is a stay at home mom who can get stuff done."
"Oh, she works, but gets the summers off to get things done."
"Oh, she has a cleaning lady. Of course she has more time."
But it really comes down to this:
What do you do with your time?
Here are five ways that I am going to save 5 or more hours every week. Get ready. Some of it is kind of radical, and some of it is kind of common knowledge that I do not make common enough in my life.
Hold me to it, Friends...
Let's start in the Kitchen:
Most of the time while I am making our meals, I am distracted by children (not distractions...let's call them opportunities for some major growth!), phone calls, having to let the puppy out, etc. I am going to start cutting back my prep time by waiting until the kiddos are in bed and I can fully prepare for the next day's meals. This is not to say I will not leave some things for my kids to do. I actually think kids can prepare many parts of the meal. If you can make it a part of your daily routine, that is great. But for the average parent who is busy trying to help get homework done, Sally off to soccer, and make it in time for the neighborhood book club, this might help.
And it might even make some special time with your husband. Why not prepare together? Or have him going through paperwork at the table while you are preparing the pancake batter for tomorrow's breakfast. It only takes about 10 minutes to make the batter, put it in the fridge, then set the plates, syrup, and skillet out just ready for the next day. And while you are at it, write a quick note to say, "Good luck on that speech" or just a simple, "Good morning. I love you."
Next the Laundry Room:
If you have read any of my Christmas cards (from before three years ago), you would notice a trend:
I.hate.laundry. (Please do not tell my kids I said this because we try not to say the h-word (hate), unless we are talking about sin, but really. . .laundry is pretty close to dirty sin. . .
Seriously, I talk about it in my Christmas letters. Who does that? But that is how much it permeates my life!
My time saver for this:
Do your laundry EVERY DAY. Okay, I know . . . some of you will be thinking, "Yes, obviously, Angie, thanks for the take away tip that I took away many, many, years ago..." But some of you might be in the camp of save it all for one day and get it all done that day. My deal is that I want to be in the do it every day camp, but sometimes things get in the way and I forget, get too busy, decide to write a book, and it just does not get done. SO, then I spend all weekend doing my laundry and it piles up all over my family room. Clean piles, but still piles...
Now, we have a basket that I put out in the hall and the kids put their clothes in it at the end of the day and I wash that load. No more cleaning their rooms on Saturday and having a ton of folded clothes in the laundry bin. I totally tried that growing up. We actually had a wicker laundry bin that had a top on it. I thought I was pulling a fast one on my mom until she busted me with the clothes that were still folded shoved into the bottom of the bin!
Best part, is you can do it while you are getting ready for tomorrow's meals!
On to the Study:
Two time eaters in this room: computers and phones. Or, if you have a smart phone, this could be the same thing. When you use either one, it is easy to lose track of time. "Check e-mail twice a day and return messages all at once. You'll save an hour a day," suggests Kristine Breese, author of Cereal for Dinner: Strategies, Shortcuts & Sanity for Moms Battling Cancer.
One of my friends just made a resolution to take Facebook off her phone. What a great way to get the most out of your day instead of being constantly updated and distracted. On average, one study showed subjects checked their phones 34 times a day, not necessarily because they really needed to check them that many times, but because it had become a habit or compulsion.
Next the Car...(Okay, not exactly a room, but please show me a little grace):
I am not a huge errand mama. I know some ladies who seem to be "running errands" all the time. I am always thinking to myself, "What are these people doing every day? What am I supposed to be doing and am not?" And then, when I run out of paper towels, tissue paper, and napkins at the same time, I understand a little bit better.
In order to save time, Molly Gold, whose company GoMom, Inc, creates mom-friendly products, encourages moms to map out your errands before you leave your house. "You'll save time if you make a circular route of your stops...and shave off two hours a week if you tackle a list with a partner." Whether it is your husband on the weekends or a friend down the street. My sister has a neighbor who will always call when she is making a Costco run. My sister does the same. They can save time taking turns.
And the last one...
the Family Room:
I absolutely love this one and this one will be the radical one for some and not so much for others. Judith Wright, author of There Must Be More Than This: Finding More Life, Love, and Meaning by Overcoming Your Soft Addictions, states, "If you establish one or more TV-free nights every week, families can gain back eight hours a week...since Americans, on average, watch four hours of TV a night."
Now, for some families, they might not watch TV during the week or maybe they only watch one show a week. But for some others, maybe the die-hard getawholeseasonandwatchitonenight fans, this might save some time.
I know for me, if I get started watching something late at night with a yummy cheese stick snack, I can keep watching and keep eating. Instead of doing something a tad more productive or sleeping, I am wasting time. Now, please hear this, I am not saying all TV is a waste of time. Sometimes a fun 30 minute episode of American Funniest Home Videos is a perfect way to bring a family together. I am saying, for me (and I am going to make my husband, fan of 24, do this too) the late nights of marathon episodes are done.
With the time I am saving, I am hoping to make more time for meaningful memories. Precious MOMents. The kinds of MOMents that makes us mamas love being a mom!