Being a working mother is an exhausting, never-ending cycle. Every day it’s the same – you wake up, get the kids out the door, and drop them off at childcare. You make your way to your job where you spend the next eight hours pouring over work and hoping no one notices the breakfast stain on your top. You fight the traffic home, get dinner, bath, and bedtime rolling, and once your child is finally in bed… you still aren’t done. There are dishes to clean, laundry to fold, and food to prep. When you finally climb into bed you mentally prepare yourself to wake up the next day and do it all over again. In order to survive this crazy chapter in life, working moms have to be practical, organized, and efficient.
Here are 6 tips to save your sanity and get as much quality time with your kids as possible:
1. Give your child your undivided attention first thing.
With so much to do right when you get home, it can be tempting to say “just a minute” to your little one. But giving your child your undivided attention first helps them to know that they are your priority. Spending 10-20 minutes with your child right away makes them feel secure and more likely to play independently so you can get dinner on the table. On the other hand, if I don’t spend that time immediately with my child, he is clingy and looking for my attention in any way he can – and acting out is one way he looks for that attention!
2. Involve your kids in tidying and daily chores.
There are only so many hours in the day, and there are too many daily tasks to accomplish all of them during your child’s sleeping hours. Involving your children with chores in age-appropriate ways will help you save energy and have more time when the kids go to bed. Older kids can help fold and put away laundry, unload the dishwasher, or do dinner cleanup. Younger kids can practice using a handheld broom and dustpan, clean up their toys, or wipe down the table. “Mock-chores” such as using a sock to “dust” their toys or putting unfolded clothes in the laundry basket work well to keep toddlers occupied alongside you.
3. Have a solid evening routine.
Kids thrive on consistency. There is an internal sense of comfort for children when they know what to expect and in what order to expect things. It’s especially important for us working moms to have a solid evening routine with our little ones because very often, the evenings are the bulk of our quality time with them. Have set times for dinner, bath, and bed, and aim for as early as possible. The earlier you start the dinner/bath/bed routine, the more time is available to deal with the inevitable delays that happen (and cause us stress!). Plus, it means more book and cuddle time if you get them ready earlier. Here’s our family’s evening routine for our 2.5 year old:
4:00pm – Playtime & dinner prep
5:00pm – Dinner
5:30pm – Playtime & dinner cleanup
6:00pm – Bath, brush teeth, jammies on
6:30pm – Books & cuddles
7:00pm – Bedtime
Evenings are going to be chaotic in nature, so having a set routine helps kids know what to expect and reduce frustration for moms.
4. Use your weekends to your advantage.
The weekends are a great opportunity to get ahead of the upcoming week. Use the weekend to plan out what meals you want to have during the week and go grocery shopping. We usually find a breakfast meal-prep idea on Pinterest to have easy grab and go breakfasts on weekday mornings. You can get the bulk of your laundry and household cleaning done over the weekend, so that only cooking and tidying needs to happen on the weekdays. Most importantly, spend as much quality time with your kids as you can over the weekend. I like to have one weekend day dedicated to shopping/cleaning/meal prep and have the other day dedicated to resting and spending time with my family.
5. Prep everything the night before.
For us this means breakfasts prepped, lunches packed, and backpacks ready by the door. If you are nursing, have all your pump parts clean and ready to go in your bag. Having all of this done ahead of time will make your mornings so much calmer. Starting your day without the stress of running around gathering items (and likely forgetting items) will be well worth your time the night before.
6. Create a special “mom-only” tradition.
It’s hard to leave your little one, and there’s a lot of mom-guilt over missed time. Creating a special tradition with your kids is an easy way to strengthen your bond with them and make lasting memories during this busy season of life. Maybe it’s a special breakfast you make together on days when you are home from work, or maybe it’s a book you read or a song you sing together at night before bed. It’s these little moments that will stand out for your kids and be something that they remember forever.
What do you do to make life easier as a working mom with little ones?
Leave a note in the comments and let me know what tip you’re going to try!