Being a good parent and trying to keep up with your career at the same time is a challenging prospect, and one that many people are thoroughly discouraged by. There are only so many hours in a single day, and taking care of kids is a full-time job in and of itself. Yet from time to time, you tend to see one of those energetic, smiling women that seemingly have just enough time both for their kids and their careers, and always look like they’ve had a good night’s sleep.
And truly, once you start doing things right, it’s perfectly possible to be good at both these things, and not have either part of your life suffer because of the other. In case you’re wondering how to achieve this, we’ve prepared several highly useful tips for you that you can try if you feel you can’t keep up with all of your motherly duties.
Get Up Early
We can’t stress how important this one is. The time during which your children are asleep is your most precious time, because you don’t have to supervise them and you can completely focus on what you need to do. Getting up before your kids can help you gain some of that precious time that you can use to pick up on any overdue housework, pack your kids’ lunches, put your makeup on, or anything else that needs to be done before you’re ready to start the day.
Waking up just an hour and a half before your kids can be a real life-saver, because by the time they’re up, you’re already wide awake and can therefore tend to all of their needs. And if you’ve ever woken up to screaming kids, you already know that is something that should be avoided at all costs.
Organize Your Time
This is the most obvious tip we can give you and you’ve probably heard it before, but it’s also the most important one. When you’re a working mum, you can’t just make things up as you go. You need to plan ahead, and the further the better. What you can do right now is make a timetable of all your fixed weekly duties, like when to pick up your kids from school every day, or when you need to drop them off at soccer practice. If you can plan out your errands so you always do them at a certain time, you aren’t going to forget anything important or have any unpleasant surprises.
Routine is the working mum’s best friend, so you need to get one as soon as possible. Plan out your meals in advance, every week. Know exactly what groceries you’re going to need. Whatever you need to do, write it down immediately. Don’t trust yourself to remember important things, because we all tend to forget, especially when we have a lot to do every day
Leave Some Time To Relax
Taking a break, or even multiple ones throughout the day is essential to make sure that you maintain your productivity over a longer period of time. If you’re in overdrive mode all the time, sooner or later you’re going to break down. A simple 30-minute nap can do wonders for you, and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle any further responsibilities.
If you can’t force yourself to fall asleep in the afternoon, then at least spend some time with your eyes closed. Studies have shown that simply closing your eyes and resting them for a few minutes does wonder for your fatigue and reduces headaches significantly. Additionally, as a working mum you’re almost certainly on your feet the whole day, walking, driving etc., which can make you very tense, both physically and mentally. Stretching for just fifteen minutes every day can be a big help, and can help in reducing potential back pain, soreness and stiffness. You’ll probably find that a good stretching session can even leave you feeling less sleepy and more energetic than before, because stretches generally tend to improve the blood flow to your muscles.
Cook Meals Ahead Of Time
Stopping in the middle of a hectic day just to cook lunch for your kids is just not an option anymore. So the alternatives are either to feed your kids unhealthy fast food, or to plan and cook your meals ahead of time. Whenever you have any excess free time (on the weekend, for example), consider preparing a meal and storing it in the freezer, so you can just unfreeze it when need be and not have to alter your daily routine because the kids have nothing to eat. Having just two or three meals prepared in advance every week can seriously help you out, and you’ll have more time for yourself or any other errand that you need to run.
Distract The Kids
Let’s face it, sometimes you just need to get the kids out of the way. These days mums that give their kids smartphones and stick them in front of a TV set are widely antagonized and considered very bad at parenting, but the truth is that there’s really nothing wrong with a bit of TV every now and then, as long as you don’t overdo it. It’ll help keep your kids occupied for a while, and provide you with precious time that you can use to keep up with your other errands. If you have a Netflix subscription, you can put on their favorite show at any time, and keep them distracted and happy while you go about any potential chores. As a bonus, this works great when you’re driving off on vacation, if your kids are being just a tad too loud in the car.
Create A Weekly Grocery List
Nothing eats up spare time like having to go to the store multiple times because you’re out of a certain product that you need right now. By doing your groceries once a week and getting everything that you’ll need for the next seven days, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and a lot of grief. It might take you a while to create a perfect grocery list and you’re certainly going to be adding stuff and taking away, but having a somewhat consistent list can be a great help.
Get Help From Technology
There is a lot of amazing software out there, both for your PC and your smartphone/tablet that you can use to make your duties as a mum infinitely easier. From organizing your time to helping you save on online shopping, once you get a hold of these apps you’ll wonder how you ever managed to live without knowing about them. Here are some of the best ones:
One of the best apps for boosting your productivity that you can find on the market today. With Evernote you can create to-do lists, add photos, save an important text, and much more. Whenever you need to make a note of something for later, be sure that you can do it with Evernote, and have it available on any device that you install it on. It’s a big time-saver and once you get used to it, you’ll never forget anything important ever again.
Remember that weekly grocery list we talked about? Well, look no further than Grocery IQ. With the help of this app, you can add items to your grocery list by typing them, speaking them or even scanning them, after which the app will automatically divide them into categories, making it much easier to keep track of everything. Once you’ve got the items you need, you can simply check them off, just as you would on an ordinary piece of paper (only without having to carry around a pen). Shopping is a breeze if you learn how to utilize this app, so we recommend that you do.
Having a family with little ones means that you’ll definitely be taking family vacations once in a while. When that time comes, TripIt can be a big help. This app neatly organizes all of your itineraries, concerning your flight, hotel reservation, and anything else you might need. Simply forward all of your confirmation emails to TripIt and you’ll find them all perfectly organized inside the app itself. Very useful for when you’re already lugging around multiple bags and just can’t find that one piece of paper that you need because you don’t remember the hotel’s address.
We hope that these tips will make your life as a working mum at least a little easier and less hectic, so that both you and your little ones are happier in the long run. Having a successful career and raising kids at the same time is certainly not easy in this modern world of ours, but with the right approach it’s certainly doable. Good luck!