As a full-time working mom, I get it, it can feel pretty overwhelming when you look at your never-ending to-do list. Maybe you are even feeling like there are never enough hours in a day. I know that feeling, I have been there. What is a working parent to do?
The best advice to that question: change how you implement your need to do items. I always look for simple strategies to free up as much of my weekend time as possible. When I am not spending all my time running errands on my never-ending list, it really cuts down on my stress level. Plus, I was then able to spend more quality time with the family. What else can you ask for, amiright?
Here are five habits for working parents to start now.
Habit #1: One Load a Night
This strategy is probably the most time-saving for the weekend. Maybe this sounds familiar? Grab all the dirty laundry baskets in the house, go back and grab the clothes that were not in the basket (curses!), sort the clothes, start the long weekend of washing five or six (OK sometimes SEVEN) loads. Even timing this as best possible, that many loads can take all weekend. Heck, some weeks I still had loads to do on Monday from the weekend. Laundry is a working parents nightmare. (Or at least mine!)
The easiest solution to this, do a load a night! It sounds simple, because it is.
On Sunday night I take the laundry and make sure it is sorted. I try to make sure that each night the proper clothes go into the proper bin, so I do not waste time sorting, buuuttt sometimes the kids have too much fun with the baskets! Once the clothes are sorted, I get them set up in the laundry room to start my week off right.
Then when I come home, before I do anything else, I put the load designated for that day in the washer. Then I change clothes, start dinner, etc. By the time dinner is ready, the clothes are usually washed. So they go in the dryer and normally dry right around bed time for the kiddos. I fold the clothes first and then put the kids to bed. You can do this step in the order that works best for you though!
Here is a sample of what my week looks like:
- Monday: Sheets (I change the sheets to the beds on Sunday)
- Tuesday: Towels
- Wednesday: Dedicates / Free Day
- Thursday: Jeans / Darks
- Friday: Baby Clothes
- Saturday: Whites
- Sunday: Colors / Permanent Press
Habit #2: Dish Routine
Similar to making sure the clothes are done daily, I have the same plan in place for the dishes. The routine at my house is pretty simple. After dinner is done the kids rinse their dishes and place them in the dishwasher. I make sure to wash the pots and pans and place them to dry. Depending on the number of people in your home, you may need to run your dish washer every night. I run my dish washer every other night.
The key to making sure you have a good dish routine in place is as follows:
- Unload your clean dishes each morning before you leave
- Keep dirty dishes, pots, and pans out of your sink at the end of the night (I.E. wash the pots and pans and load the dishes into the washer)
- Run the dish washer every night (or every other night, like in my case)
Doing this will ensure that your kitchen is cleaner, you will not feel as overwhelmed with all the dirty dishes staring you down when you wake up or come home. It just feels good to get this done, rather than letting it pile up all week! One less thing on the working parents to-do list too. 🙂
Habit #3: Meals
The bane of any working parents existence, rushing home, not sure what to make, figuring it out, making it, then no one eats it.
That was pretty much how it went for me every night.
Finally, I was fed up. It made the budget out of control, but even worse, I was SO STRESSED! I mean, why is dinner so hard? It is was always an afterthought, at least until I implemented this plan.
Theme Night Family Dinner Ideas
Plus, there is a simple calendar that you can use to keep track of what you are planning to make. Just check out the link above. Planning ahead, is the BEST thing you can do for your sanity and your budget.
Habit #4: Get your Mornings Right
Plan your morning the evening before. This is a huge time saver to start each day out right. It may not make a difference in the time you gain on the weekend, BUT it will make your week so much smoother. Which equals less stress. And we working parents could use a little of that.
Five Tips to Make Mornings Easier
Here is the abbreviated version:
- Clothes Baskets for the week for the kids, choose your clothes each evening
- On the Go Breakfast Drawer
- Pre-Plan: Lunches, snacks, bottles, breakfast, pack up everything, keep all items at the door
- Make getting ready a game for the kids
- Invest in a coffee pot / electric kettle that has an alarm clock
Habit #5: Track it!
The last strategy is a MUST DO. You need to have a planner to track everything. It is also a good idea to incorporate a Habit Tracker until the routine is second nature. I love my Habit Tracker, I use it to make sure I drink enough water, exercise, meal plan, etc.
The Planner, is necessary to block off your time in your day. Working Parents may not have kids nap / school time to get stuff done. Which is why it is EVEN more important to write it all down. I use the Living Well Planner. But there are a ton of free planners you can print out on the internet.
If you put these simple, yet effective ideas in place, you will find that you have a bit more time in your weekend. And hopefully, a little less stress in your life.
What strategies do you have in place to help keep your sanity working parents?