My top 8 working mom life hacks
Being a mom is a big, BIG job. Whether you work in or out of the house, for yourself or someone else, the life of a working mom complicated, messy, and exhausting. If you’re struggling to achieve better work life balance, you’re not alone. Studies show that although dads are spending nearly three times as much time parenting than they did back in 1965, moms are also spending more time parenting - even though they are more likely to be working outside the home than they were in the 1960s. Even in households with involved dads, the minute details of a family’s life, such as scheduling, arranging car pools, or signing permission slips often fall to mom.
As a working mom and entrepreneur, I’ve figured out a few life hacks that helped me survive my girls’ younger years. I’m not sure if I have ever managed to successfully achieve work life balance, but these tactics helped me retain my sanity long enough to get them to the ages of 20, 17, and 15!
I hope my favorite working mom life hacks can help you too.
Working mom life hack #1 - Never go upstairs or downstairs without carrying something.
Many years ago, I had a 5-year old, a 2-year old, and a newborn. I swear all I did was pick things up in one room and bring them into another room and wipe stuff off. During that exhausing time, I realized that pretty much every time I went up or down the stairs, there was at least one thing I could bring along for the ride and put away. If you’ve got an empty hand, grab something! There’s no reason to make extra trips up and down the stairs if you don’t have to.
Working mom life hack #2 - Use a shared calendar.
When your kids are young, a shared calendar can keep you and your partner on the same page. When they get older, keeping the family calendar visible to everyone will teach them responsibility and eliminate your need to help them remember everything. I personally love a shared google calendar or a cozi calendar, but even a non-digital solution can be helpful. When my kids were young, I started keeping a whiteboard right by the door to the garage. I color coded each person in the family and wrote the weekly schedule on it every Sunday. When things got really hectic, I even wrote our meals on the calendar by day so I didn’t have think about what to cook each night. Sometimes I’d stress out when organizing the calendar on Sunday afternoon, but once I was done I always felt better and ready to face the week ahead. This is the calendar I used. I loved it because it even includes a corkboard underneath where I could pin permission slips, notes from the teacher, birthday party invitations, or anything else I didn’t want to forget.
Working mom life hack #3 - Plan your menus for the whole week and shop accordingly.
It’s a lot of work on the weekend, but deciding what you’re going to cook each night, then only buying what you need will make weeknights a lot easier. When I use printed recipes, I just hang them on my refrigerator with a magnet, so I don’t even need to dig the recipe out before I start cooking. Easy peasy.
Working mom life hack #4 - Learn to love your crock pot.
It’s not glamorous, but using your crock pot can save you lots of headaches at night and lots of money! Your crock pot can be especially helpful when your kids get older and super busy. There were many nights when we ate in shifts and using the crock pot meant everyone got a hot, home-cooked meal even if we weren’t eating together. It’s way cheaper and healthier than fast food! Follow my crock pot Pinterest board if you’d like to see some of my favorite recipes.
Working mom life hack #5 - Be the plate mom.
I’m sure when your kids started school, you had dreams of being a wonderful, supportive classroom volunteer. I know I did. But then reality set in. I’ve trained my kids to sign me up for plates, cups, napkins, or anything else that I can buy a few days in advance and they can carry on the bus. I used to feel guilty about that, but when I spoke to the room mother, she said that everything helps and they need plates as much as they need cupcakes. No more guilt. I’m proud to be the plate mom!
Working mom life hack #6 - Enjoy a half-cleaned house.
If you only have time to clean one room, that’s ok. A swiffer might not work as well as a real mop, but it looks better. Windex your bathroom when you have company. Let your kids’ rooms be messy. Don’t worry about it. You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to keep a perfectly clean house. If you can afford a cleaning service, that’s awesome, but if you can’t just learn to live with a little mess. Your kids won’t care and seriously, neither will your friends!
Working mom life hack #7 - Set the table in the morning.
I know it sounds crazy, but I used to clear the breakfast dishes, then immediately set the table for dinner. It doesn’t take that long and it always felt good to walk into the house and not have to worry about just one more thing when I’m trying to make dinner.
Working mom life hack #8 - Keep an activity bag in your coat closet.
When my kids were young, I didn’t have a cell phone with 10,000 games in it. Instead, I kept a small tote bag packed with coloring books, crayons, small toys, books, and a notepad in the coat closet. Whenever we went somewhere that required patience and waiting, I grabbed the bag and brought it with us. Even after my cell phone evolved, I still brought the bag. We had a lot of fun playing together and I never had to worry that my kids would be ridiculously whiny and bored.
Last but not least, forgive yourself for being tired, frustrated, or forgetting things. Motherhood is not easy, so don’t feel guilty . You’re doing your best and that’s all your kids could ever want or need!