Earlier this week, I ran out of coffee. As a working mom, you know exactly how important that liquid gold is when you’ve been up and down all night with your toddler, only to have a morning meeting at 8:00 a.m.
And let’s not forget that if we want to exercise uninterrupted (or shower), we likely have to be up well before the children. In my house, that means 5:00 in the morning.
When The Baby decides that sleeping is optional, coffee is my saving grace. Seriously. It’s right up there with my daily habits.
As a working mom (who happens to work from home), having daily habits that guide my choices is so incredibly important. But, when you’re busy, it’s so easy for things to fall apart.
To keep things running around here, I have to use tricks (and routines) that work for everyone. Smalls would be pretty upset if I forgot to pack his juice in his lunch!
How I Run a Household and Work Full Time
Running a household and working full time takes some finesse but it is doable! If you’re willing to make some changes (some of them are more fun than others), I promise that you’ll find yourself breathing easier as you see your days become less hectic and you start getting more done.
This part sucks, I know. I am not a morning person. Trust me here. When I say “early” I mean it. As much as I would like to sleep in until 7:00 a.m. things just won’t get done. But if I manage to get up early, I get some “me time” as well as an opportunity to exercise and even meditate.
Once I’m done with that, I grab a cup of coffee and start packing lunches.
Waking up earlier means that we have to go to bed earlier. It takes some time to get used to, but if you can shut off electronics and have some time to relax before bed it will make it easier. Use your screen free time to fold laundry, unload and load the dishes, and prep things for tomorrow.
I cannot tell you how often I’ve been mid-lunch prep and realized that I didn’t have a juice box or snack ready. While I can toss a water bottle in, realizing that I was missing a snack allowed me to prep something yummy rather than just toss random things into a container (Yes, I’ve done that. I’m a mom.).
Once you’ve got your prep work done, sit down with a good book or take a bubble bath.
Skip The Mid-Week Shopping Trips
When I first heard about Amazon Dash, I was a little skeptical. I mean, I have boys. And they like to push buttons. Literally. Because of this, I waved off this ingenious idea for way too long. Recently, I caved and got Dash buttons for some of the things that I use the most: coffee, juice boxes, and Puffs. As I said, running to the store is simply too time-consuming to make it efficient.
When I found out that Amazon Dash Buttons are essentially free, I jumped at the chance to try them. A Dash Button costs $4.99, but with the first order through a Dash Button, members receive a $4.99 credit to their Amazon account. So you get your money back. That’s awesome.
And Amazon Dash works with your Prime account, so you’ll get what you need in 2 days.
There are more than 250 Dash Buttons, ranging from household essentials to beverages & grocery to pets, and beyond. Currently, we have a few Amazon Dash Buttons (they’re addicting!)
Remember when I mentioned that I ran out of coffee a bit ago? All I had to do was push my Brooklyn Bean Roasters Dash Button and it created an order and I had my coffee pods in just 48 hours. It’s a dang miracle, people. A button that brings coffee to your door. I am in heaven. And I honestly don’t think I can ever function without Amazon Dash Buttons again.
I am not tech savvy, but the Amazon Dash Button setup was so easy! It’s set up and managed through the Amazon App on your Android or iOS smartphone, and works in any location with a Wi-Fi connection. Once set-up is complete, a notification (if enabled) is sent to your smartphone every time an order is placed. You literally can’t place an order by accident. Which means that if my kids get button-push happy, I know right away.
And, if someone pushes your Amazon Dash Button a million times (thank you, Smalls), you won’t end up with a million items on your doorstep. Amazon has some awesome safeguards in place, so Dash Button responds only to your first press until your order is shipped and arrives on your doorstep.
So basically, when I notice that something is running low, I just have to push a button. Easy peasy. No more runs to the store that destroys my concentration and motivation. Pushing a button is easy, though and takes literally seconds.
But that’s not even the best part!
Each Amazon Dash button comes with a self-adhesive sticky on the back, so you can literally stick your buttons where you want them.
I put the Honest Kids button that orders their fruit punch juice pouches for Smalls’ lunch next to his lunch station in our pantry.
For my Brooklyn Roasters Dash Button, I stuck it to the side of my Keurig. That way I never have to worry about finding it.
The adhesive is sticky enough, but it’s easy to remove as well. If you don’t want to stick your Dash Buttons, you can use the handy hangers that come with them to hang them in a convenient place. I actually hung my Puffs button up in our storage cabinet so that it’s there next time we’re running low on Puffs.
I spend a good 20 minutes in the morning creating my schedule for the day. Working full-time and being a mom can really derail you if you let it. Using my daily schedule helps me to keep my head “in the game” so to speak.
Using a daily schedule allows me to make sure that everything important gets done. I schedule everything from meetings to work projects to workouts and grocery store trips. If it’s not on my daily schedule, it won’t get done.
Once I’ve written out my daily schedule, I use time blocking to determine when everything needs to happen. I block out anywhere from 30 to 60 minute time blocks (with 5-minute breaks) so that I can get things done.
As you use this method, you’ll find that you get better and better at it. I now know how long a “quick” Target trip for coffee pods or juice pouches actually takes (75 minutes, in case you’re wondering). It takes way too long!
I would be sunk without meal planning. I use MyFreezEasy to help me make meals ahead of time so that I’m never scrambling to get dinner on the table.
Having meals that are already prepped is so incredibly important for me. I can grab something out of the freezer the night before or that morning and make sure that dinner is on the table on time.
I work from home, so if things are messy, I notice it right away. I keep designated catch-all bins both downstairs and upstairs. When I find something that needs to be returned to its home (like the toys the kids cart all over the house, I toss it into the closest bin.
Then, during one of my designated breaks, I’ll pick up the bin and return the things in it to its rightful spot. The house stays
relatively clean and my sanity stays intact. The kids also know that if they get home and there’s toys or clothes that belong to them in the bin that they need to put them away.
When you’re done for the day, especially if you work from home like me, make sure you shut work off. That means turning off email and message notifications, shutting down your computer, and being present for your family.
Now, I don’t expect that you can implement all eight tips in a day. I certainly didn’t! Instead, pick one or two things and work on them, then add to your routine as you get a handle on the other things you’ve implemented.
What are your best housekeeping tips?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.