Roundup of Favorite Shortcuts and Hacks for Working Moms
I have spent the majority of my time as a parent working full time, outside the home at a fairly inflexible job. On top of that, my husband travels frequently for work. In fact, next week he’ll be working out town the week that we are leaving for a family trip to celebrate my son’s birthday. We’ll be picking my husband up on our way out of town, meaning all of the packing and prep will be on me – on top of working and solo parenting.
All that is to say, I need to use all of the shortcuts and tools I can to stay on top of things as a working mom of two active, busy boys. If I don’t get ahead of the game and prepare over the weekend, the whole week feels like a disorganized mess.
I use my planner and Google calendar to keep tabs on appointments and deadlines, but I definitely use other shortcuts on the crazy busy weeks to keep our family running smoothly.
Best Shortcuts for Working Moms
If you have some crazy weeks coming up, here are my favorite working mom hacks to keep things rolling in our family.
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- Online Shopping:
Have you tried ordering groceries online? If you order through Amazon Prime Now, your groceries can be delivered within two hours. Even better, you can save your lists to reorder the next time.
If you prefer shopping for your own food, you can set up Amazon Subscribe and Save to have frequently used items shipped to your door. I’m working on putting together a list (you save more when you have five or more items) so that I don’t have to go to multiple stores as frequently. I usually shop Trader Joe’s and Sprouts, which don’t carry the paper products toiletries we use.
- Calendar Share:
If you and your spouse need to coordinate pick ups/drop offs, you need to establish a calendar sharing option that works for your family. I tried setting up a joint Google calendar and inviting my husband to events but somehow, he still missed them.
I’ve switched to a wall calendar command center and a weekly calendar on the fridge. The entire month is on the dry erase calendar and I pull out just the week on the fridge. That’s where I include notes like “wear Star Wars shirt” since my husband gets the kids dressed in the morning. Anytime one of us isn’t available, I write it in red so that it pops.
- Hired Help:
If you can swing it, I highly recommend hiring out certain tasks, or at least automating things as best you can. When my husband and I both traveled for work, we had a cleaning lady come once a month to do a deep clean. Since having kids and paying for childcare, we’ve had to cut that expense but I can’t wait until both kids are in elementary school so we can go back to a cleaning person.
It’s so nice coming home to a fully clean house. Instead, we do a bit at a time when we can, so I feel like the whole house is never totally spotless. If you don’t mind cleaning but you hate meal planning, you can use a meal prep service like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. Alternatively, you can work take-out into your meal plan to cut down on the meals you are cooking.
You can also hire out services like dog walking, errands or even homework help. Figure out which tasks are most challenging with your working mom schedule and find an outsource solution.
I hate cooking but we need to eat. I make very simple meals and usually cook things in larger batches so that we can have it more than once. For example, if I’m grilling chicken, I grill twice what we need so that we can have it again. I also cook our vegetables in large batches so that we can have healthy sides for several days.
My kids’ wardrobes are also super simple. Luckily, I have boys who don’t care what they wear so I stick with basics. My oldest dresses himself and my youngest doesn’t have many options so there isn’t much of a fight to get dressed. I’m a pretty simple dresser as well and my makeup routine takes 7 minutes, so getting out the door isn’t a chore.
- Shop Online:
Aside from purchasing food, toiletries and paper products online, you can save yourself trips to the mall by doing your shopping online and stocking up when you can. I stock up on basic, logo free clothing for the boys on Primary, as well as jeans from Gymboree and Crazy 8 (they have great sales!). My own favorite online shopping sites are still Hautelook and Rue La La.
- Schedule Downtime:
When you’re a crazy busy working mom, downtime or self-care tends to fall to the wayside. I’m guilty of doing it so I’m sure you are too. My oldest is a homebody so to accommodate his need to stay home, I have started scheduling one day a weekend with zero plans.
I’ve had to learn to say no to things and skip activities that I think would be fun, but it has been worth it. We now know that we have one day a week where we have nothing to do, except maybe go to the park. It has really been beneficial for our family. We get to spend time together without distractions and it leaves lots of time to play games, watch movies, take family walks or practice self-care.
Being a working mom can be challenging. There are a lot of balls in the air and we always feel like someone is getting the short end of the stick – usually us! Finding shortcuts can help you squeeze in more family time as well as time to care for your own needs.
What are your favorite self-care activities?