Tips for the Working Mom: Part III

The final installment of “working outside the home” mom tips.  I hope you have found these helpful!

11.  Budget

Next week marks our 9th anniversary.  For these nine years, my husband has done the budget. Starting in February, I took over the budget. It sounds like one more thing to have to do and it is….but I am so glad that I did.  For the most part, I am the one buying gifts, groceries, paying bills, etc. For me to know about our money each month just make sense. When my husband did the budget, I really had no idea about how we were spending our money.   I guess my tip for this would be, you need to know where your money is.  If you don’t do the budget in your house, either take it over or play a role. It’s really important.

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12. Support other’s businesses

Sometimes I get sad that I can’t be that “crafty mom”.  I see so many people with all these cute wreaths and monogrammed clothes for their kids and I wish that I had the time to do these things for my family.  But…I realized that I can have the best of both. Many of these fun items, are for sale on Etsy or Facebook.  You can have the cute wreath and support these small businesses of others!  So instead of being depressed that I don’t have time, I’m happy to be able to purchase and show that support to these businesses!

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13.  Take time for you

As I mentioned before, it can seem as though the day to day things make life into one big to-do list.   In the midst of all the things you do to keep your family running, you have to take time for yourself every day.  For me, this happens early (4:45) in the morning….but yours might be in the middle of the day or in the evening…  I get up and have some quiet time before meeting my running group for a run.   I absolutely love running and look forward to this every day.  Its that one thing that is just for me.  Make sure you put in this time!

14.  Get a planner

If you don’t have a planner, get one.  I tried doing my scheduling online with google calendars, but nothing for me can replace that little spiral notebook. It helps keep everything together in one place and is truly a lifesaver.   I could not keep up with my crazy schedule, my husband’s schedule, church stuff, ministry stuff, and family stuff without it!

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15. Daily checklist

Finally, I made myself a daily checklist for the frig to help me keep up with everything that has to be done each day.  You can see on this checklist that I split up some of the weekly chores by day to help make the work on the weekends a little smaller.  Lightening my weekend load is so important, because those are the days I have to spend with my family and relax.  This checklist has been extremely helpful and helps sort out all the mess in my head that I have to keep up with.

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Tips for the Working Mom: Part II

Continuing on….. a few more tips to help make lives easier for those working outside the home moms….

6. Prep for dinner

Because I meal plan, I know each day what we are having for dinner that night. I always to the prep work for dinner either the night before or when I come home for lunch.  When I get home from working with the kids in the after school program, I don’t want to have to do a lot of work to get dinner ready. I purposely plan meals that are quick to throw together or are in the crockpot.  The most you can do to prep ahead of time will really help!  So if you are having a veggie, go ahead and get it all cut up and ready.  If you are having some kind of meat, get it thawed and in the marinade or whatever you are doing to cook it.   Any ingredients you might need, go ahead and set them on the counter with the recipe. That way when you walk in the door, you have what you need right there waiting on you.

7.  Pack up the night before

Each evening, it is part of my routine to go ahead and pack up Sarah’s diaper bag, my purse, and my work bag and put it by the back door.   I don’t want to have to track down the things I need as I’m trying to get out the door.  I go ahead and pack up Sarah’s food for the day and put it in the frig, so in the morning I just have to grab it and throw it in her prepared diaper bag.  This way it is all ready to put in the car!

8. Date Night

I don’t know about you, but it can seem for me that life is just one big checklist. ( I actually do have my weekly chores checklist).  I am always thinking about the next thing that has to be done.  Having those things you can look forward to are so important!  For me, I always get a babysitter on Friday nights.  This gives me the night off and gives me something to look forward to.  I love our Friday nights!  We’re lucky that both my parents and my husband’s parents are within 30 minutes, so most Friday nights Sarah actually spends the night away.  We can take our time, go to dinner, go to a movie, whatever.   If you can’t  go out, make sure you take one night a week with your spouse to just veg.  Watch a movie, order in dinner….. that time together and for me, the time off, is vital to my  sanity!

9. Gifts

March was a particularly crazy month when it came to gift buying.   This month, I purchased gifts for the following people: my mom, my dad, my niece, my mother-in-law, a wedding gift, and four baby gifts.   If I had gone out and bought these one at a time, that would have taken forever.  I made a list of all the gifts needed for this month and went out at one time and purchased them all. I also picked up all the gift wrap stuff, came home and wrapped them.  They sat on my closet shelf until the time came for the party they were for.  This saved me so much time. I loved having them all waiting on me, rather than me rushing out the night before each event to find a gift.  Thankfully April isn’t nearly as bad, but I’ll continue to follow this trend!

10.  Give yourself  a bedtime

With all the stuff I do before I go to bed, I am strict with giving myself a bed time (9:30)  I get up and run in the mornings (this will be on the Part III post) and I have to get enough rest.  Go ahead and decide what time you need to go to bed and stick to it.  It’s so important to get enough rest!  If you end up in bed a few minutes later than planned, no biggie, but hold yourself to paying attention to your needs and get in bed!

Stay posted for the final tips..Part III! 🙂

Tips for the Working Mom: Part I

In December 2011, I became a mom after the birth of this little snuggle bunny. IMG_1663

With this event, came a need to get my day to day routines under control.  It’s amazing how this small addition can change your life, not just emotionally but physically through your daily routines.    It took me a while, but I’ve finally come up with some good things  to keep my life under control, that I thought I would share.

I teach at a local university, most days I’m on campus in the morning until early afternoon. From there,  I head to an inner city ministry where I serve as Education Director.  We have 100 kids that come to our building after school.  So, I leave the house around 8:30 and am pulling back up about 5:30.  Most days, I do have a couple hours in the middle of the day where I can swing by the house and eat lunch, baby girl can play, etc. My husband is an assistant district attorney, so he’s gone all day 7:30-5:00, but he also works out at Crossfit from 6:15-7:30….so most of the day to day runnings of the house are on my shoulders.

1. Meal Plan for the month

I started this in January and it has been fantastic! Prior to this, I meal planned for the week, but I have found doing it for the month is SO much better!!  I take the first Saturday of the month and sit down (it takes an hour or so, during nap time) to meal plan for the ENTIRE month! Then, I head to the grocery store and buy all the meat and non-perishables for the month.  I’m serious y’all, this is awesome.  After this one day, I only have to do this one day of major shopping for the whole month!   Each weekend after this, its just picking up odds and ends, produce, etc.  I have a binder where I put all the recipes I plan to use that month organized by week so I can get to them quickly. This is definitely  life-saver to get through the month!

2. Do a load of laundry every day

Making an effort to do one load of laundry every day will save so much time on the weekend.  Usually while I’m picking up after dinner and getting baby girl down for bed, I can get a load going. Before I head to bed, I fold it and put it away.   This one small thing adds up to me not standing by the washing machine all day Saturday.  Try this! It works!

3. Load and unload the dishwasher before you go to bed

Again, kind of the same principle as the laundry.  I try to get it loaded up for the day and run the dishwasher during the bedtime routines and unload right before I go to bed. This way I start the morning with an empty dishwasher ready to catch the dirties for the day.  Really helps and dishes don’t pile up during the day.

4.  Pick up before you leave in the morning

Before I leave each morning, I take 15 minutes to pick up around the house.   It really only takes this short time, but it really makes a difference.  I love that I don’t come home to a mess when we pull up in the evenings. That’s the last thing I want to see is a bunch of toys and books strewn everywhere after I’ve been working all day!  So get ready a little early and just breeze through the house picking up….it just takes a minute and you’ll be so glad at the end of the day!

5. Iron your clothes for the week on Sunday evenings.

I don’t know about you, but most of the shows we watch every week, come on Sunday nights.  (Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Mad Men, Worst Cooks in America)  I have found that if I go ahead and pick out my outfits for the week and get them all ready on Sunday night, it saves me so much time each morning.  On Sunday nights, I look through my planner to see what events at work, activities after school, etc that I have going on that week , as well as look at the weather for the week. From there I pick out what I’m going to wear.    I hang them in my closet in order by day, so each morning I can just grab up that day’s outfit.  The good thing is that you can iron while you watch your favorite shows! I love this! Saves me so much time in the morning!

Hope these have been helpful! Stay tuned for Part II!