Time-saving strategies that will make every mom's life easier
I'll start out with a disclaimer: I am by no means an expert on time. And as a mom, my biggest daily challenge is making time to meet all of my responsibilities--feeding my son, cooking, cleaning, playing with my son, working, hanging out with my husband, socializing--it's a tall order. However, I've figured out a few simple ways to save time that make life a little easier. Here are my tips:
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Give up on perfect. I start here because the biggest challenge for me is to accept that I cannot possibly do everything at 100 percent. I have to prioritize. If that means that there are always dishes to be cleaned and the laundry sits in the dryer for a few days so be it. It's more important to make time to enjoy my husband and son than it is to have a spotless home.
Make the most of your prep work. My husband offers to cook all the time, but I love to do it, so I rarely let him. But my son's established bed time is just a couple of hours after I get home from work and I have no desire to eat dinner at 9 or 10 at night. So I've had to find ways to get dinner on the table quickly. A while ago, I mistakenly seasoned too much meat for meatballs, instead of taking the extra time to make them all right then, I froze the meat I didn't need and a couple of weeks later I pulled it out of the freezer for dinner and discovered that with all the chopping done, dinner was ready much quicker. Ever since then, I've been seasoning meat in advance, making extra pizza dough, sauces, etc. and throwing them in the freezer for a later meal. It's so nice to have something half-prepped when I'm short on time.
Recruit help. If your husband or partner is not helping out around the house and with baby duties, he should be. Have a sit-down and discuss how you can work better as a team. Try to designate some duties or if that doesn't work for you, just make an effort to communicate better on a daily basis so that he's aware of what needs to be done and what will help you out the most.
Maximize your multi-tasking. Most women are natural multi-taskers, but I have a few specific tips. If you're breastfeeding and you pump, you can check your e-mail or do some online shopping while you pump--just buy or make a hands-free bra so that you can type with both hands. Exercise while you play with the baby--I do squats or push-ups while I play peek-a-boo with my son. Take family showers. I'm not sure how most people feel about this, but on particularly busy nights my husband or I will just jump in the shower with the baby rather than going through the process of setting up his tub.
Wash your clothes with the baby's. Babies create a lot of laundry, so you'll probably be washing frequently. If you're not already doing so, consider throwing your own clothes in with your little one's. When my son was first born, I thought I had to wash his things separately, because somehow ours would contaminate his. That was just foolishness. It's perfectly fine to combine the loads, just be sure to use a detergent free of strong chemicals, dyes, and fragrances.
Be ruthless. Ultimately, eliminating any unncecessary tasks from your day is what will save you the most time. Take a close look at how you spend each day and figure out how you can either eliminate or consolidate tasks. Learn your limitations and be okay with saying no. Shave off minutes everywhere you can--it'll add up over the course of the day.
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