As a working mom, this is the blog post I’ve always wanted to read.
It’s no secret that it takes tremendous effort to balance family, work, cleaning, cooking and your own interests.
The reason it’s difficult? Balance doesn’t exist.
Some days your work will take over, and other days your kids will need so much attention that you can’t do anything else.
But there are ways to lighten the load.
I’ve compiled a list of extremely useful tips for working parents to help juggle it all. I’ve pulled from moms, dads and efficiency experts with real-life experience. I’ve also thrown in a few of my greatest hits.
If these tips are from blogs, I’ve included the link so you can read more.
They are divided by category:
- Save time and energy
- Going to work
- Kid hacks
- Feeding your family
- Taking care of your home
- Taking care of yourself
This post contains affiliate links.
Save time and energy
Keep your schedule simple. “Think about what are the top 5 things around your house that make a difference in how everyone functions and feels and focus on always getting those simple things done each week.” I love this! — Thrifty Little Mom
Develop a calendar system. Find a scheduling system that works with your family. We use a shared Google calendar for all of our events and reminders, plus we have a wall calendar so we can visually see it as well (see what we use).
Use technology to stay organized and save time. Check out Redefining Mom’s Working Mom’s Resource page, with recommendations ideas for calendar, organization exercise, budgeting and other productivity apps and websites.
Start a Bullet Journal. The easiest way to keep a to-do list is to write it down. The Bullet Journal system takes to-do lists to another level and helps you not only remember but also process what you have on your plate. — Tsh Oxenreider, The Art of Simple
Have long-term goals and only commit to things that promote those goals. What do you want for yourself? Your family? Your home? Write down some measurable goals and then focus on them. You can say no to anything that doesn’t help you reach them. — Little Bits of Granola
Turn off the TV sometimes. You may think you are a multitasking ninja, but even leaving the TV on as background noise can be distracting and slow you down. — Honey We’re Healthy
Up your multitasking game. Find new and creative ways to multitask. Bring a book every where you go in case you have time to read a few pages. Check your work emails at the post office. Get as much done before you get home so your family time is as sacred as it can be. — Kelly Van Atta, The Muse
Don’t answer the phone. Let all calls go to voicemail. Block out time and handle them all at once. Batching is efficient and definitely saves time. — Lisa Druxman
Do all of your errands within the Golden Triangle – home, office and school. From the dentist to the hair salon to the grocery store, make no exceptions. Organize your life so everything is in close proximity. It saves so much time! —Samantha Ettus
Buy ahead for birthday parties. Stock up on a few gifts from Amazon so you don’t have to run around at the last minute. Also make sure you have plenty of bags, cards and wrapping paper. — Lauren Doyle Exnicios
Use your commute time to fit in the things you love. I love to listen to podcasts while I commute (and here are a few I love). Other times I listen to audiobooks. If you take the subway, you can read or even knit.
Make a list of recurring purchases and stock up once a month. Review your list at the beginning of the month and order or buy anything you are running low on. This will save time and energy so you don’t have to run out at 9 p.m. to buy shampoo or diapers.
Order as much as possible online. You can probably set up your entire life so that you never have to walk into a store. I usually add household essentials to my Amazon account while I am waiting for my son.
Automate your monthly purchases through Subscribe and Save. If you need the same items every month, such as diapers, you can also save money by subscribing through Amazon. You get a discount and it arrives automatically at your door.
Buy in bulk. Go to Costco, Sam’s Club or BJs and buy all your essentials. The less time you spend shopping, the more time you have to do the things you love.
Save time when you pre-order and pick up. You can pre-order things like groceries and library books that will be ready when you are. This is especially handy when you have kids in tow and you don’t have time to search for what you need. — Andrea Dekker
Go to the grocery store on weeknights. Once the kids hit the sack, make a beeline for the grocery store. The stores are less crowded and you can leave your kids at home. — Trine Jensen-Burke
Learn how to get the most of your day. If you really want to geek out on productivity tips and hacks, I love Laura Vanderkam books “I Know How She Does It” and “168 Hours.” She has some great tips to find more time in your day.
Going to work
Find childcare you are happy with. It will make a world of difference if you feel confident that your child is being taken care of properly when you are working. — Net Mums
Be home at bedtime. It’s better to work at home after the kids go to bed than to miss bedtime. — Pilar Guzman, Cup of Jo
Don’t feel guilty about leaving the office at a reasonable time. Don’t apologize for leaving on time to spend time with your family, especially under normal conditions. Special projects are the exception. — Pilar Guzman in Cup of Jo
Work from home part-time. You save time on commuting and you get to spend more time with your children. — Lauren Conrad
Bring your child to work. Not physically, but you don’t have to hide the fact you have kids, especially around those who aren’t parents. Be yourself. Be authentic and it’s much easier. — Kelly Van Atta, The Muse
Pump while you drive. Take advantage of your commute if your pump has a battery pack. — Rikki Rogers, The Muse
Give up the need to balance work and life equally. Some days your family needs you more, and other days your work consumes you. Be flexible and let go of what you think balance should look like! — Amy Morin, Forbes
Give everyone an extra 15 minutes. Tell your kids you have to leave 15 minutes before you actually need to. This gives you plenty of time when they find ways to drag their feet. Genuis! — Working Mom Magic
Let your kids sleep in their clothes for the next day. Is it difficult to get your children dressed in the morning? Have them sleep in their clothes.
Wear a shirt over your dress clothes when getting ready in the morning with little ones. This saves you from a last-minute change after your baby spits up on your shoulder. Just take the shirt off and you are ready to go. Alternatively, wait until you are about to run out the door to get dressed.
Use a timer. We sometimes have trouble getting our son to move from one activity to the next, especially on weekday mornings. He responds well to a timer because it manages his expectations of how much time he has.
Multitask with your kids when you are getting ready in the morning. “I have a box of toys under my bathroom counter for my son to play with while I’m getting ready.” – Jaclyn Kent
Use homework time to check emails. It’s a great time to multitask when your children are hard at work. — Autumn Jones, Romper
Group your evening baths. If your kids aren’t too far apart in age, joint baths save so much time. — Autumn Jones, Romper
Buy the same color socks for your kids. Buy plain black or white socks. It makes sorting laundry so much easier. — Lisa P. Smith
Schedule a family-centered activity at least once a week. It’s so easy to get caught up in the flow of busy work/school/cleaning schedules. It’s important to have a strong activity planned to keep the family connected. — Mom Mandy
Use technology when traveling to stay connected. If you are traveling without your kids, stay in touch with Snapchat or Skype. — Baby Caston on Board
Don’t spend all your time doing Pinterest projects for your family. Don’t worry if you don’t have time for the latest DIY project. Your children really just want to spend time with you. — April Perry, Power of Moms
Hug often. Enough said! — Nina Roesner
Feed your family
Plan your meals. Menu planning is one key to getting dinner on the table quickly. It also greatly reduces stress on weeknights. Don’t like to plan? Try my menu planning for non-planners. I also love Paula’s (Beauty Through Imperfection) simple menu-planning system.
Outsource Dinner. Short on time? Have someone else make your dinner. Here are 6 dinner outsourcing ideas to get you started.
Cut your meat up before you cook it. The smaller the piece of meat, the faster it will cook. Plan ahead and cut your chicken into smaller pieces the night before. It will make weeknight cooking so much easier.
Make lunches the night before. Your morning will go smoother if you do as much as possible the night before. It may be the last thing you want to do before bed, but it will make dealing with morning meltdowns that much easier.
Leftovers are your friend. Make a double batch of whatever you are making. Eat it for lunch or dinner later that week. Leftovers are a saving grace in our home. We always find creative ways to make them tasty the next night.
Instant Pot or Crockpot. Invest in an Instant Pot or Crockpot if you haven’t already. Crockpots are great but it can be difficult to get the timing right if you are at the office all day. An Instant Pot can do the same thing as a crockpot but in a fraction of the time.
Make frozen smoothie packs the night (or week) before for breakfast. Slice up your fruit and throw it all in the freezer to make it easier to blend the next morning. This is such an easy way to do breakfast. And here is a tip to quickly clean your blender afterward. — Meg Duerksen, SheKnows Expert
Eat out. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. If eating out four nights in one week is going to keep you and your family happy and sane and you can swing it, don’t guilt yourself out about it.” — Molly Peterson, Cup of Jo
Taking care of your home
Do laundry daily. It’s easier to deal with laundry in small doses then face a large pile at a later date. — Nina Roesner
And use this laundry hack. You can set your washing machine to start while you are sleeping or at work. When you wake up or get home, your laundry is ready to dry.
Clean your bathroom while you bathe your kids. While your children play, wipe everything down.
Clean your shower while you shower: Pick up one of these handy cleaning wands and you can multitask in the shower.
Ask your kids to help with the housework. You’ll get free help and also teach your your kids a few good lessons. — Family Focus Blog
Clean in 15-minute spurts. Do as much as you can in 15 minutes. We can do anything for 15 minutes right? And it’s amazing how much you can get done. — Redefining Mom (with a free downloadable cleaning cheat sheet).
Make a cleaning schedule and get it done during the week. Who doesn’t want a clean-free weekend? Try to get all your chores done during the week. — Working Mom Magic
Outsource your cleaning. If you have the budget, outsource your cleaning. At least occasionally. It will free up other valuable time.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s really okay if your bed isn’t made every day. —Kidspot
Taking care of yourself
Get up half an hour earlier than you think you need to. “Your morning sets the tone for your whole day ahead—and it can either be calm and pleasant or stressful and hectic.” By getting up earlier, you will have more control over your day. — Lauren Conrad
Schedule exercise in your calendar: It’s more likely you will exercise if you block out time on your calendar to get fit. — Christine Yu, Daily Burn
It’s probably easier if you workout at home and in the morning. Set up your life so that it’s easier for you to work out. If driving to the gym is a deterrent, then buy or stream exercise programs you can do at home. — The Multi-Tasking Mom
And if you only have 15 minutes to exercise, do high-energy bursts. Try these plyometric exercises in 15-minute increments to get you started. They will get your heart pumping in a short amount of time. — Alex Orlov
Read whenever you have a free minute. Are you at the post office or standing in line at the bank? Pull out your book. I get a lot of reading done in the bathroom as I’ve been potty training my son. The key is to use the small corners of your day.
Schedule your breaks and enjoy them. “If you don’t allow yourself to slow down, your body and mind will mutiny on you and force the slowdown.” — Chris Guillebeau
Don’t know what to do on your breaks? Make a list of 100 dreams and pick one when you have downtime. This concept is genius and blogger and research Laura Vanderkam has some great ideas of how to fill your list. — Laura Vanderkam
Completely disengage so you can recharge. ” I force myself to take “me” time, which is typically getting outside and enjoying time with my friends and family. During this time I force myself to stop worrying about meeting a deadline or finishing a project.” — Erica Riegelman
Create a network with other moms. Find other moms to talk to so you can share your problems and solutions. You’ll need this support, especially when something unexpected comes up! — Aparna Ayyar
Sleep. Learn to power nap and go to bed early. You will feel so much better! — Nina Roesner
Go easy on yourself. “There is so much pressure to do everything and to do everything. Once you realize that doing all of these things is not just a lot of pressure but also a physical impossibility, things get easier.” — Emily Kalanithi, Cup of Jo
Do you have anything to add? I’d love to hear your suggestions on how to juggle a busy life with kids!