14 answers

Time Management Tips

Just curious how other working moms manage their busy schedules?

1 mom found this helpful

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Hi B.,

As a working mom and Parent Coach, I help people do just this. The other moms have a lot of great ideas for you to try. I will share some overall points. The first is to seek the balance between structure and flexibility that works for you. Some folks are on the "no structure whatsoever" end of a spectrum. Some folks are on the "plan everything" end of the spectrum. Most of us fall in between, so find what works for you.

You might try keeping a log of what you are doing during your waking hours for a few days. You may find a few habits that take a lot of time which you can choose to change.

Remember, too, to set aside time for yourself and your family. Your kids are especially good at "living in the moment", so whatever they feel and see going on is what they will consider "normal". The fun and relaxation and connecting is much more important than getting the last load of laundry done or having the house look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens.

Release the pressure to be perfect in most things.

Here are a few additional time saving tips to add to the many you have. Planning ahead for meals, errands, etc. does save time and energy. SET THE EXPECTATION that EVERY FAMILY MEMBER will contribute around the house (at whatever level he or she can) and be part of the team. My sons (and husband) contribute a great deal and they take pride in what they can do and know it is very much appreciated. Hire some help if you can afford it. I have someone do some basic cleaning once a month, which then frees my family and myself for some type of project around the house, like paring down old clothing. When cooking good home-cooked meals, always try to prepare enough to eat off it twice or freeze half of it. Experiment with crockpot cooking to save time. Keep ingredients on hand for "quick meals" for those times when you don't have 1-2 hours to spend in the kitchen. Carry a cleaning bucket containing all your supplies around when doing chores. Use attractive baskets in main living areas to quickly gather loose items.

I hope this helps! Let me know what you plan to do!

Good luck,
Janet Bonnin
Parent Coach

2 moms found this helpful

I don't even know where to start, but I'm so glad you asked because I wonder this myself everyday. I have a 19 month-old daughter, a husband who travels virtually every week (4-5 nights a week), and a very demanding full time job. Fortunately, I do have a nanny and a cleaning service, but I think that only takes the edge off. I have learned not to worry too much about the stuff that, in my mind, doesn't matter. I don't care if everything is perfectly clean, if there is lint on the floor from the dryer, etc. I do laundry when I can, and if something isn't clean, I wear (or dress the baby, husband) in something else. I don't wash the sheets every week (they get done if and when I have time). My husband goes to the store on the weekends, or I do it on the way home - always a stop-gap solution unfortunately. But it works. I'm in awe of people with structured schedules. I'm guessing my lack of organization will catch up with me when we have baby number 2 in May. My biggest challenge is dinner, for which I have no real solution.

God bless all of you who do this everyday. I never dreamed it would be this hard!

One huge blessing for me has been with dinner. I make all of our meals ahead of time and freeze them. That has helped me have extra time.

I read Susan's post before I clicked respond and she sounds like Wonder Woman to me lol! I'm not nearly as driven or organized, so my advice may not seem as spectacular. I'm 33, have two daughters that are 12 and 14, I'm a full time college student and I work 30+ hours a week as an assistant manager of a local sub shop. Our sanity around here depends on scheduled and sacred "down-time", but it takes time to commit to a schedule and make it a habit. First, everyone (especially the children) have to have their clothes, school items and any accessories laid out the night before so there's no manic rush at 7 a.m. the next day. I learned about this ten years ago and it's been such a practical blessing! Secondly, everyone has designated areas to keep picked up and simple daily chores. I have 2-3 hours between my school schedule and my work schedule in the afternoons, so I make use of that time for prepping meals, snacks, and keeping 'my' area in order. We have a community calender (on the fridge) and shopping list. Any upcoming events have to be put on there for everyone to see in advance and anything left off the shopping list is "no one's fault" when I get home from the store without it. Everyone participates and everyone cooperates (most of the time) to keep this place running. Once a week we take a half day (or a full day if we can) to run amuck or lie around or whatever treat we've worked for all week. I schedule myself 30-60 minutes a night that is my time. Don't ask for it, just take it. I take mine when everyone else is asleep and the house is quiet. That's my time to plug in and recharge so I keep my happy disposition ;)

Times have changed, it is no longer 100% a woman's job to keep the hearth and home. It is not humanly possible to work three full time jobs (home, kids, work) and maintain sanity! Gather your troops together and have an honest and frank discussion about everyone pitching in so mom can be a happy mom (and wife can be a happy wife). Good luck!

cubbys, baskets, lists, menus, ORGANIZATION and GOD are the only things that save me!!!!

it gets crazy but i have to take the time to love my baby and my hubby or its pointless.

Just want to say, good job to all you working moms out there!!!

I work 6 days sometimes 7 days a week so I can feel your pain! I think what keeps me going is to have a great H that shares in the chores. If I am working late he will take care of stuff and visa versa. The biggest thing I do is to look at my week and plan out what child has to be where, the meals for the week....etc. We have a family of 5,2 of which have to wear school uniforms then want to change as soon as they get home. Laundry can be a night mare. We try to do at least 1 -2 loads of Laundry a night to keep on top of it. If all else fails and you can afford it... get a basic cleaning lady to straighten up your house and do a couple loads a laundry. There is no sense in doing everything yourself

I keep the laundry going by throwing a load in the washer in the morning and then tossing it in the dryer when I get home.

I try to organize the kid's clothes (3, almost 2) for the week. I bought one of the canvas organizers that have the days of week and just pop the complete outfit in each section on Sunday. My husband takes the kids to daycare, so this ensures that everything will match.

When I get home, I spend time with my kids first. I have found that if I give them time first, they will give me a little time later when I am cooking dinner.

Just don't forget to prioriitze quality time with hubby. I am reading these posts and we are all in the same boat. Just don't lose yourself. I used to go to bed by 9 myself but realized I never saw my husband if I did that. I had to compromise my time but it worked. We are one busy family but we make sure we have that time alone.

Before I stopped working I think I was actually MORE organized than I am now.
Honestly, it's about getting up a little earlier, reading the Bible or having whatever mom time you want.
Keeping Lists.
Menu Plans. You could cook a few things that can be made into a few different things and have them in your fridge. For instance, chicken breasts can be tossed onto a salad, made into chicken salad, made into fajitas, etc... you get my point. This might make dinner better.
Make chore schedule so that you aren't doing everything every day. Especially BIG chores. Have a chore jar for the children. Say there are six chores between them. Each week, let them choose three pieces of paper each from the jar and mark it on a chart. For that week, those three things are their responsibility. Keeping their rooms neat should be a given. At their age, helping with garbage, clearing table/wiping counters/table, etc... are good chores for them.
For instance, Monday and Thursday are laundry days. Monday morning I strip the beds. Wednesdays I mop floors. Tuesday and Fridays, I wipe down bathrooms, Friday is the major bathroom clean. Keep these on index cards to reference if you need to.
I grocery shopped every two weeks.
Iron a weeks worth of clothes at a time and lay each outfit out the night before.
Organize your children's clothes the same way so there is no question what they will wear.

Good luck.

Manage? Is that what we call it? I talked with my husband last night and I'm getting quotes from cleaning services today!

I find that just having a schedule or a routine works best for my family. I have 2 children, ages 5 and 2 and I have a full-time job as well. The key is delegating a few tasks to your husband(that he hopefully will get right!). On Sundays, I usually cook a couple of meals that will last us through Wednesday or so (counting or lunches) and I mentally plan for the rest of the week in my head. At least one day a week we have pizza, which isn't all that healthy, but it works for us. My usual routine is waking up at 5am each morning, getting myself ready, laying out what the children will wear and fixing my daughters hair while she is sleeping, since my dh has no clue. I am usually out of my house b/t 5:45 and 6am and on my way to work in the medical center. My dh takes care of the kid drop off to school and daycare. He takes the morning shift with the children because he works late, and I get the afternoon/evening shift. I usually put in an 8-9.5 hour day at work and head off the pick the kids and go home. There is not alot of down time between the time we get home and the time we go to bed. I usually start preparing or heating dinner when we get home while at the same time going over schoolwork with my daughter. We eat, the kids get a bath, play a little and they go to bed between 8 - 8:30. Then I usually have to clean up the kitchen and wind down myself. It is hectic, but I don't expect much different with children. I am not so scheduled on the weekends and I don't get bent out of shape if things aren't exactly as planned because that's life. I am usually still up early on the weekends to do things like grocery shopping, etc. and I usually run long distances and like to be done before the kids are really up and about. As far as cleaning: the bathrooms etc. I clean as I am in them. I do the kitchen wipe down daily. I probably do laundry twice a week on Wednesdays and Fri-Sat. When it comes to the whole house, we divide it up and have the kids help with their own rooms. You just have to find a routine that works for you. Good luck!

With a full time job and my Mary Kay Cosmetics business part-time I was taught to make a 6 most important things to do list every night. Sometimes it's up to 10; but never more than 15. It will seem overwhelming. In the morning I wake up and pray over that list and ask God for direction. I listen to motivational CD's while putting on my makeup in the morning. I worked 8-5 with two 15 minute breaks and 1 hour lunch & my job was strict. 15 minutes was break; not 16 or 17. So I made sure I made every minute count. My lunch hour was 1/2 hour eating and 1/2 hour making phone calls or visiting my customers and friends.
I arrive at work at least 15 to 30 minutes before 8am so that I had less traffic and more time to enjoy a quiet breakfast at my desk; I also stayed at least 15 to 30 minutes after 5pm since the parking lot was full of everyone else leaving anyway. I would go over my list of things to do & check if I needed to make a quick stop at the grocery store before heading home. Using a daily planner works great too! Mary Kay teaches God first, Family 2nd and Career 3rd. In that balance; everything works. Your daily planner is for all your kid's appointments to the doctor,dentist,sports,PTA,school & all your personal appointments, hair cut, nails. Include a time for you and your husband in your week. I also write all my family birthdays in my planner including the year they were born so that I can remember important ones. Like my daughter turning 21 was a big one.My Mom turning 75 was another big one. Glad I remembered that one. I now have 3 grand-babies and loving it. Busy moms get more done in the same time as everyone else. You've gotten some wonderful ideas from some of the other moms. Use the ones you like; and enjoy your kids and have fun with your husband! Laugh together! Pray Together! Delegate what you can; ask for help. We can't be Super Moms; although we try. Hugs and Blessings!

Assign chores! Including the husband. Make a chart/list with the responsibilities for each of them and display it. I learned at an early age to cook and do laundry, so did my brothers. To this day, we all love to cook and I am very particular about my laundry. I did the same with my daughter and ditto! I didn't have a wonderful husband so I was trying to do everything and was exhausted. I learned that not everything has to be done perfect all of the time. There were times when I would tell my daughter that we were blowing off Saturday chores and going to the park instead. We had great times. But she still realized what her responsibilities were. Of course, I did pay her an allowance accordingly. It also taught her a little about time management especially when dance came along. Good luck.

I'm not exactly sure what you need help with, but here are some of the things I do. I am a working mom of 1 FT job, a PT job 2 nights/week and a PT job where I work from home. Sounds like a lot, but I put in about 45-50 hrs/week at work. I have a 15 month old son and a FT student husband. Here's how I do it all-

*I get up at 4:30 am- drink coffee, read emails, do my PT from home work (which is all computer/email anyway). That is early, but I go to bed when my son does- by 9pm at the latest.
*Exercise- Hit the gym at 5:15/5:30am-6:00 at least 3 days/week. If I'm not at the gym, then I use this time to do some cleaning that needs to be done.
*I have an hour commute with daycare drop off, so I floss my teeth at the red lights. OK- maybe not something you want to see in your rear-view mirror, but it works!
*Plan meals ahead of time. On Sundays I make a menu of what we are going to eat for the week, with consideration given to my busy nights- I look for simple recipes. I use this to make my grocery list. I post the menu on the refrigerator so my husband can start the meal if needed. I also use Super Suppers or Dinner Station meals and 1-2 times/month we will do "Taco Tuesday" at Rosas.
*Cook things like casseroles, lasagna, soups, etc in large quantities and freeze extra portions for dinners at a later time.
*Every time you go the bathroom, do a quick cleaning of something (counter, empty trash, clean mirror, etc).
*Clutter control- my husband is the worst at clutter. He has a box that everything goes into- hats, papers, shoes- you name it. If I find it laying around, it goes in the box for him to put away. You could do the same with your kids if clutter is an issue at your house.
*Delegate and elist help- I give my husband a list of 1 or 2 things I need him to do daily. I write it down so he doesn't forget. Do the same with your husband and kids.
*My son isn't old enough for sports, etc, but use the time your kids are practicing (if they are in sports) to catch up on reading, bill-paying, phone calls, or take a walk to fit in exercise.
*Turn off the TV and don't play computer games- I've found those 2 things to be the biggest time-stealers for me. I catch up on the news when I'm on the treadmill at the gym.

I hope those ideas help.
S.

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