Smart Solutions for Busy Moms
You’re working. You’re parenting. You’re tired. Creating a time machine or cloning yourself isn’t possible, so you’re going to need to take some other steps to carve out more time for yourself. Thankfully, you have options.
Cut Back on Work During Your Time at Home
Many moms end up taking work home with them, which cuts into their personal time. Think about ways to be more efficient at work so your time at home is your own. Make a to-do list, but don’t let yourself drown in it. Prioritize and highlight the must-dos for each day’s workday. Find time during your day to turn off your devices and focus on the task at hand with no interruptions. Maybe phone calls and text messages can wait while you tend to more important tasks. When it comes to dealing with emails and other paperwork, handle them once by deciding what needs to be done with them and then moving on once it’s accomplished.
Sometimes the divide-and-conquer method is just what you need to free up some time. Consider whether you can share drop-off and pick-up duties with other parents for daycare, school, sports or lessons. Hire a cleaning service if you can afford it. Weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly cleanings can equate to an afternoon to yourself. Cut back on cooking by getting together with friends and preparing a bunch of freezer meals. A fun afternoon of cooking with friends can result in lots of quick meal options for when life gets hectic.
Inject Some Time Into Your Relationship
Kids, work and life can get in the way of your relationship. You may need to be very intentional in carving out time to spend with your partner. Find a sitter and schedule a date night. Or get together with another couple and their children and have a few laughs while the kids play or watch a movie. If going on a vacation isn’t in the cards, maybe a weekend away or even a one-night getaway is an option. For everyday togetherness, make it a point to sit down and talk, without interruptions, at some point each day. Maybe it’s after the kids go to bed or while they’re playing. If life is hectic at home, you and your partner can meet up for lunch during the workday or find a few minutes to chat on the phone.
Carve Out “Me Time”
You may feel like you’re always on the go and have no time to just be. Try waking up even 15 minutes earlier so you can sip some tea, read for a bit, do a few yoga poses or take a walk around the block. If your kids are old enough, you could ask them to give you some time to read the paper and drink your coffee, to get your workout in or to soak in the tub. Assure them they’ll have your attention as soon as you're done. While you’re out running errands, make one extra stop and stroll around a favorite store, walk through a park or get a manicure. If your children are young, make their naptime your “me time.” Let the laundry and the dishes wait, and take the time to do something you enjoy—paint your nails, watch a favorite show or call a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with. If your kids are older, have them help out with chores around the house, such as unloading the dishwasher, putting their laundry away or taking the garbage out. Completing these tasks means fewer things on your to-do list and more time for you.
A mother of two, Erin Agnello writes about parenting, relationships and education. Her work has appeared on sites including The Bump and Mom.me. Agnello has been teaching since 2001 and works in special education and early literacy. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University and a B.Ed. from Windsor University.