It takes a lot of coordination and organization to be a busy working mom. After doing it for literally 16 years, I’ve developed lots of habits that work for me. These hacks may also work for you so I’m sharing my top 7 with you here.
- Grocery Shopping/Meal Planning: I do all my grocery shopping online now. It saves a ton of time and I’ve got it down to a science. First, I do an inventory of what I have in the house. I try to use what I have for the most part to save money. I check the freezer and pantry to see what might be useable, throwing out anything expired. Once I know what I have, I search my Pinterest boards for meal ideas and/or I use ChatGPT to help source ideas. The cool thing about AI is that once you find recipes you like, you can ask it to give you the shopping list, too! I copy and paste ingredient lists from the recipes I want to use into a Word doc or my notes app. I also add the links to the recipes to the Google calendar so I know what I’m having each day and can easily access the recipes. Then, I open up my browser, navigate to walmart.com and start shopping! To save time, I use my “reorder items” tab and go through that first. Each time I add something to my cart, I delete it from my shopping list. I should mention I do all this early on Friday mornings, either from home or from my office. I get to work earlier on Fridays before the day begins, handle the shopping and then schedule the delivery for when I get home. Done and done!
- Scheduling: I use Google calendar for all my scheduling, both work and personal. I make sure everything is on both since there really is no way to separate the two. Everyone in the household can see the personal calendar so they know when their appointments and practices are and even what’s for dinner! I color code everything, which only I can see but it’s so helpful. I use the kids’ favorite colors. So anything colored purple I immediately know is Christopher’s. Yellow is cheer (the team colors are gold and black) and Lucia, blue is Maria, and green is how my husband’s calendar items import into my own.
- Mindfulness: I listen to Catholic and/or fitness podcasts on my way to and from work. In the morning, I listen to the Catechism in a Year, Daily Reflections on Hallow, and I say a rosary, all while driving. It’s a great way to make sure you are making time for God even when you are super busy. If I find myself driving kids around in the evening or waiting in the car, I take advantage and pray or listen to more podcasts. I also listen to them while cleaning the house and walking the dog. If you listen on 1.5 or 1.8 speed you can get through them even more efficiently.
- Working out: For years I’ve worked out early in the morning. It’s the one time I know won’t get usurped by something else and it’s quiet, alone time for me. As I’ve grown older it’s harder for me to get up early but I still make it a point at least three times a week. On other days, I do it before or after dinner, which works out nicely because my son likes to workout, too, and it’s great role modeling and bonding time. If you are trying to begin a workout habit, I highly recommend trying first thing in the morning. It’s easiest to stay consistent and it’s a great way to start the day.
- Lists: I am a huge list lover. I have a planner and I write everything down from my work to-do’s to my personal ones. I love the satisfaction of crossing things out but writing them down helps make sure I won’t forget. I try to complete at least three things from each list each day, prioritizing deadlines, of course. I also bought stickers and each week, when I set up my lists for the following week, I add stickers. I use lots of colors, too. It all just makes it more pleasant and less like a chore.
- Kids Activities: I keep track of the kids’ activities on the Google calendar but for my youngest, who needs more reminders and support, I prep his things the night before, checking his folder, plugging in his Chromebook, and setting up his lunch (we make his sandwich the morning of because he doesn’t like it cold from an overnight in the fridge!). I used to set his clothes out the night before but he now can choose his own outfits. My girls are independent for the most part since they’re both teens but when they were younger, I reminded them more often. I tend to do as much as I can the night before; I prefer that over scrambling in the morning. I use the time while dinner is cooking for most of it, actually. Multitasking at its best!
- Housecleaning: We clean once per week usually on Sunday. It takes about 90 minutes to do three bathrooms, clean/vacuum the floors, wipe things down and dust. During the week I declutter every morning and night, and run the robot vacuum once or twice. We do a load of laundry each day to keep up with it, sometimes two. Basically, when we walk by, we move it from the wash to the dryer, and then I fold at night when my son is showering before bed. We have several pets–the guinea pig cage gets cleaned every other week, cat litter twice a week (we have a self-cleaning system for that), and my husband handles the fish tanks as needed. I try to keep things picked up as much as possible and use the time while waiting to go somewhere or waiting for dinner to be ready to take care of that cleanup.
I hope these tips have given you some ideas on how you can keep up with all the things. I will periodically do these kinds of posts to help keep you on track and able to handle all the working mom duties. It’s a lot but if you chunk it down and use your “helps” it can be done!