Though our little guy’s not yet at the age where he’s heading back to school, there’s still something about fall that makes me want to get organized and into a routine. As a full-time blogger and stay-at-home mom running our household, I need to stay on top of things to maximize our time and our experiences. (I’m so Type A I even plan free time in our schedule where we have no plans and can be spontaneous. Insert ‘monkey covering eyes Emoji’ here.)
Here are a few parenting time savers that work really well for us!
1. Daytime baths. If we have somewhere to be and I need to get ready, I’ll pop Wyatt in the bathtub with a few of his favourite toys. I curl my hair and put on my makeup in the bathroom while he plays where I can watch him. This way, we can use his nap time to do other tasks instead of just me getting ready. I also often use the mirror in our entryway to do my makeup while Wyatt has a snack in his high chair. I can still see him and my makeup gets done.
2. Prep the night before. If we’re heading out somewhere in the morning, I often have everything set to go by the door the night before. Our outfits are laid out and necessary snacks and bags are packed. Just as Wyatt is waking up, I load our vehicle (with my monitor in hand) so all that is left is getting him dressed. This way, I’m not trying to balance a bunch of bags while holding his hand. (This can be applied to nap time too.)
3. Wake up before everyone else. I plan for this but it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes you just need to sleep! However, every time I get out of bed an hour before my family, whether it’s to workout, work on my blog, or just sit and have coffee in the quiet, I’ve loved it. It’s sometimes hard to get moving, but for me, the benefit to my mental health has been well worth it.
4. Check menus ahead of time. If we’re meeting a friend for lunch or dinner, I often check the restaurant menu online ahead of time so I know exactly what Wyatt and I will be having. The chaos of dealing with a toddler, while trying to carry on a conversation with your dinner companions and choose something to eat, is way too stressful for me.
5. Check social media in the car wash. The drive-in car wash is a great time to touch base on social media. With Wyatt in his car seat having a snack, I’ll pop into my accounts, respond to comments, and scroll my favourite feeds. My babe is safe and satisfied with his snack, my vehicle is getting washed, and I’m getting something done!
6. Kid-friendly workout classes Yes, it’s nice to workout alone sometimes, but in the nature of just getting it done, kid-friendly workout classes are a god-send. This way, I’m not using the valuable time when my husband relieves me from parenting to go workout. You’re not only taking care of your body but your kids are getting to play with other kids and you’re setting a great example to them about the importance of exercise.
7. Prep food. I meal plan and do a big grocery shop once a month. (We pick up fresh stuff as needed through the week.) I like to prep lunches and the next night’s dinner the night before. This takes a lot of work ahead of time but saves more time and sanity in the long-run.
8. Involve your kid in tasks. Grocery shopping, prepping meals, and completing other errands can be done together so your ‘me time’ isn’t spent doing these things. This is also a great time for those teachable moments. I talk with Wyatt about everything we’re doing, and we chat with the people working at the grocery store or the post office. He’s learning life and people skills while I’m checking things off my list.
9. Sneak in chores. When Wyatt naps I work, but right after I put him down I immediately make our bed and change the laundry. Immediately after I put him down for the night, I tidy up the bathroom from bath time and change the laundry before I do anything else. It only takes 10 minutes. I find if I stay on top of things, I’m way less stressed.
10. Plan ahead. A few times a year I sit down and spend a good chunk of time organizing all of our schedules. I look at what’s coming up in the next few months, make lists of what we’ll need, divide responsibilities, and make sure everyone’s cups will be full! Of course plans will change, but I find going forward with an outline and bit of structure is so helpful.
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What are some of your parenting time savers? I would love to hear from you!