If there’s one thing most today’s parents have in common it’s being short on time. We’re all running in a hundred different directions trying to juggle kids, work, relationships, and our homes – never mind trying to find time to care for our own needs.
There’s no question that parenting is probably the toughest job you’ll ever love, so it would be nice if we didn’t have to be stretched so thin with obligations and actually have a bit more time to enjoy it.>
With hectic schedules and countless daily commitments part of the norm for so many families, it’s more important than ever to find time savers that will allow you to breathe a little easier and hopefully enjoy extra time with your loved ones.
Today Mighty Mommy shares 9 smart parenting shortcuts to do just that:
Tip #1: Forget Pajamas
While pj's are cute, they also add an extra element to your weekly laundry load and can be expensive, especially if you have several kids. When each of my kids reached the age of 3, I started putting them in plain white t-shirts at bedtime which I would buy in bulk. You can also find them in the craft section of your local department store in every size imaginable for cheap!
See also: 5 Laundry Room Essentials
When you buy them in larger sizes, they are more comfy and can even act as nightgowns for girls. They’re easy to wash and fold and most kids love the feel of cotton. When the colder months arrive, I paired them with inexpensive sweatpants. As the kids grow, they can wear the t-shirts for playing outside.
Tip #2: Skip the Bath (Sometimes)
An evening bath was pretty much a staple in our house when my kids were younger because it was calming and made a nice transition into their bedtime routine. As they got into the earlier grades in school, however, our evening routines changed quite a bit because the kids were involved in after school activities and our family life started to become more hectic.
See also: How Routines Can Simplify Your Life
On busy nights when you don’t have extra time between dinner and bedtime, and your kids haven’t had one of those days when they’ve been playing in the dirt, it’s OK to skip a bath or shower. Of course, this all changes when they become tweens and teens and start producing all sorts of smells, but for now if you can’t get them fully bathed every single night, don’t worry about it. This simple shortcut can save you stress and time and ultimately change the direction of your evening.
Tip #3: Make an Art Studio in the Tub
If you’d love to encourage your child’s artistic side, but hate the mess that goes along with painting, give your bathtub a try. When my kids were younger and were in the mood to get creative, instead of setting up a spot in the dining or family room to paint, I’d put them in the tub wearing only their pull-ups or old t-shirts and let them go crazy with washable paints and paper.
See also: 6 Ways to Raise an Innovative Child
They could paint on the paper, in the bathtub, or even the shower door if they wanted to and when they were done I could set their masterpieces to dry, turn on the water to wash them and their makeshift art studio. Clean up was a breeze!
Tip #4: Freeze PB & J One Loaf at a Time
If I had to pick one job during the school year that I loathe the most, hands down it’s making lunches. Though our family is in a pretty good routine of making them the night before, I would still rather be scrubbing a toilet than packing snacks and juice boxes and making 6 different sandwiches for my large brood.
See also: Fun and Tasty Lunchbox Ideas
Last year, however, all that changed because a friend of mine shared her secret to making school lunches a breeze. If you have kids who like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, give this a try. Take a loaf of bread and use the entire thing to make about a dozen PB & J sandwiches. Place in individual sandwich baggies and then store back in the bag that the loaf of bread came in. Place in freezer and take sandwiches out as you need them for lunches in the morning. They’ll thaw by lunchtime and you only have to invest one chunk of time every couple of weeks to making the sandwiches. Easy peasy!
Tip #5: Order Groceries Online
One of the best timesavers I have ever found is ordering my groceries online. After the birth of my 8th child, I used a service in our area called Peapod.com for several months until I had my wits about me again. I could shop for groceries at midnight if I wanted to and they would be delivered at the date and time of my choice. This gave me control over my menu, kept my pantry stocked, and I only bought what we needed, instead of all those extras I would buy impulsively when I went food shopping.
I still use Peapod at least once a month when I know I have an extra crazy week coming.