I get home from work at about 4 PM. I have some stuff to do in the evening such as chores and making dinner but my most important afternoon "task" is being mom. I spend from 4-~7:30 each night with Adalyn and this time is so precious to me. I am always trying to simplify things to make more time for the things that I enjoy.
Here are some of my hacks for busy parents:
1. Set clothes out the night before (or the week before)
Over the weekend, I set all of Adalyn and I's clothing out for the week ahead. This makes it so easy to just grab and put on in the morning instead of having to worry about matching cute outfits together.
2. Do all of your errands at once
I go out one time per week to run all of my errands. To make this work, I keep a detailed list of everything that I need to do/buy so that I can get errands done quickly and not forget anything.
3. Meal prep on the weekends
I have written about meal prep before and you know that I love doing this. Making food ahead of time makes for a smoother week. Favorites include some kind of vegetables, breakfasts for Troy, grain salads, beans, etc.
If your child has to leave the house for daycare or something the next day, set stuff out ahead of time. I make sure that Adalyn's bottles, clothes, etc. are ready to go each night.
5. Clean up as much as you can in 10 minutes (or 30 minutes if you have time)
When I get home or after dinner, I clean up as much as I can in a short period of time. I try go get back to spending time with Adalyn as much as I can but like a tidy home so this is my best bet.
6. Make lunches the night before
While I am making dinner and the food is cooking, I always pack Troy and I's lunch for the following day. This saves so much time in the morning. Lunches often include leftovers making them easier to pack.
7. Throw out junk mail
Right when you open the mail, instead of storing a bunch of mail on a table to collect dust, throw out junk mail and any mail that you do not need right away to save time later.
As much as I love social media, it can really be a time-suck. I find myself browsing on Pinterest and suddenly 45 minutes have gone by. If I just limited my time to 10 minutes to find what I was looking for, I would have 35 minutes extra to spend doing something that I need/wanted to do. I think that it is okay to be on social media but don't like it such up too much of your time.
9. Buy in bulk
We buy some things in bulk including diapers, dog food, a bunch of produce at once, etc. to save having to go to the grocery store or other stores more often.
10. Clean up from mealtime quickly
When Adalyn is done being at the table, she is done and let's us know this very loudly. We then have to clear our plates, clean her up and clean up from dinner. I often cook foods in our glass storage containers to make for easier cleanup. Also, I highly recommend cleaning up as you cook. Instead of sitting there and watching the water boil, you can clean up and save time later for more important things.
Also, using products that are effective are important such as Glad Press'n Seal. It is better than any plastic wrap I have used before. The worst is when you get a big piece of plastic wrap and it gets all crinkled and you need a new piece. Glad Press'n Seal actually sticks to your container, doesn't get crinkled as easily and keeps food sealed well. My step-mother-in-law who is an expert baker actually highly recommended this to me and I'm glad that I tried it. I purchased mine at Walmart.
Spills are a huge waste of time. I hate it when I put a container of Adalyn's homemade food in my diaper bag and it spills later. Or you go on a trip and your shampoo spilled all over your clothes- yuck! Glad Press'n Seal is also great for sealing up anything you need it to. We are going on a trip to the West side of the state of Michigan and I will be using my Glad Press'n Seal to make sure that nothing spills in our bags.