Calling All Working Moms and Dads – What’s Your One BEST Tip for Juggling it All?!

December 19, 2013 · 15 comments

working mom

In a post from a while back, “How I (attempt to) get it all done”, many of you shared great tips on how to serve healthy meals to your family and keep on top of everything else, too.  In the past few weeks, though, there have been several comments and emails from readers mentioning that they’d like more ideas specifically for working Mom’s or Dad’s, with tips on how they pull off nourishing, traditional meals with limited time available.  (Not that there’s any other kind of Mom and Dad besides a ‘working’ one, we’re always working and busy serving someone!)

Whether you work in the home or outside the home (both have unique challenges, that’s for sure), and even if you’re not a parent, we all could use some time-saving or general survival tips, right?

I’ll start by sharing what I’ve had to do a lot more of lately, especially since we began homeschooling on top of everything else:  I’ve had to give up the idea of still having my life under control.  I’ll often ask Kent, “Do you remember how I used to have it all together?!”  That “me” is long gone.  My days of having Christmas shopping well underway by Halloween, or laundry folded the day or week that it’s washed, may not be back for some time.  Now I’m just a helter-skelter dingbat most days, only getting done what absolutely has to get crossed off the list.  I’m trying to get better about just accepting that this is the season of life I’m in right now, but it’s a daily battle.  :)

So we need your help!  I’m hoping everyone will share at least their #1 BEST time saving or survival tip!

A few to get you started:

  • My friend, Mary, insists that meal planning is a MUST for working Moms.  Personally, I don’t do that lately, though.  I just keep my freezer and pantry well-stocked, and then figure out what we’re having in the morning or maybe the night before.  If I forget until it’s too close to dinner to get anything out of the freezer, then I refer to my ‘healthy fast-food‘ list to get something going last-minute.  If you work outside the home, you won’t have a choice, and it’s meal planning for you!  Try these meal plans:

Or for those grain-free or on GAPS:

  • When you sit down to plan out your meals, pull out your calendar and also organize your time in order to fit things in like when you’ll do meal prep, grocery shopping, etc.
  • I’m still learning this one:  figure out your priorities – what you will or will not try to fit into your life.  As much as we really want to, we just can’t do it all.  (I can’t even tell you how much I hate that.)

I’ll copy my time-saving tips here from previous posts:

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  • { 15 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Sarah December 19, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Hi Kelly,

    Your homemade fast food list has saved dinner for the family on more than one occasion! Today may very well be another day. My hubby works nights so we eat the main meal at lunch. While trying to do school, main meal prep around 10 in the morning, etc. we have had some very hectic times. Yes, it is a season that we are in for now. Oh how long of a season it has been with no end in the near future. Our evenings (the kids and I) are very quiet though, especially with it getting dark so early.
    Sarah

    Reply

    2 Colleen December 19, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Here are two things that I had to learn:
    1 – you just have to give up the idea of “perfection” – the house always clean, everything neat and tidy, clothes clean and put away, awesome meals, etc. – I realized that I am not June Cleaver even though I have spent much of my adult life trying to emulate her. And it has not always been easy, but what I have realized is that nothing tragic or bad is going to happen if I don’t clean my house every Saturday or I have laundry baskets full of dirty clothes.
    2 – stop doing everything!!! I used to shop, cook, clean, load the dishwasher, wash the pots, wash the laundry, fold the laundry, etc. – like I was the only one “qualified” to do it. I was always “busy”. So, I taught my son to fold laundry, to load and unload the dishwasher, change his sheets, clean his bathroom, make easy recipes, etc., etc. and I stopped telling my husband that I didn’t need any help. Many hands do make light the load.
    Happy Holidays!

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    3 Tiffany December 19, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Preparation! My hubby and I both work full time outside the house. I normally do not get home until 6pm. While my husband cooks dinner I focus on making lunches for the kids and making sure everything is ready for the next morning. You also have to focus on what matters most. While we are horrible at soaking grains I do make sourdough bread every weekend and kombucha. We drink a lot of kombucha so I normally have to make a batch of this during the week. Also, I do not focus as much on a super clean household. I keep my areas clean (kitchen, bathroom (sorta – we only have one!), bedroom clean and then on the weekends I focus on the girls bedrooms and their playroom. Laundry gets done when it can and yes it will sit clean in the basket all week sometimes. I tell everything if they need something to check the basket!

    Reply

    4 Gaye @CalmHealthySexy December 19, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Meal planning based on our calendar for the week is probably my best tip/strategy. I find that doing some food prep on Sunday evenings really helps the week run more smoothly, and I’m trying to get more real food meals into the freezer, to have them on hand for crazy days. Another great time saver is to double prep whenever possible – cut up double veggies for chicken soup and freeze half for the next batch of soup, make a double batch of spaghetti sauce and freeze half, make two casseroles and freeze one, etc.

    My best resource for tips for women who work outside the home is http://www.jugglingrealfoodandreallife.com. Christina, the author, balances a full-time job and four kids with her efforts to feed her family real food. She offers lots of real-world tested, practical suggestions.

    Reply

    5 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook December 19, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Naps.

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    6 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook December 19, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Cook a lot on the weekend and eat thru the week

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    7 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook December 19, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Crockpot!

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    8 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook December 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Don’t stress the small stuff!

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    9 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook December 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    The housework is never done and I can’t figure out how people do it all!

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    10 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook December 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    freeze whatever you think may go to waste (bones for broth you don’t feel like messing with now), leftovers you know won’t get eaten right away, etc). Let some things go. Sometimes, dishes stay in the sink overnight. Oh well!

    Reply

    11 Kimberly December 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I always cook double meals. On busy nights, there are always plenty of leftovers to reheat in a hurry.

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    12 Peggy December 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I have two tips.

    Getting help is essential. By the time they are 7, my kids do breakfast dishes, their own laundry, clean part of one room every day, dust, run the vacuum, help in the garden and “cook” (usually a salad or sandwich) one meal per week. By the time they are 14, they do the entire after lunch clean up, their own laundry plus the laundry of a child younger than 7, run an entire section of garden by themselves, clean one room per day top to bottom and cook three meals a week. By sixteen they are planning their own daily schoolwork and by their senior year in high school they are choosing their own curriculum and doing their daily and weekly planning, cooking five meals a week, doing after dinner clean up, doing their own laundry and clothes shopping and usually working part time. It is absolutely vital that they understand they aren’t indentured servants, but they being an incredibly valuable part of the family. But it is also essential that they learn that once they are on their own, 100% of ALL these jobs will be theirs.

    The other thing I do is make a list. Each day I have only two or three things on the “essential” list other than shower, work and school. I keep a running list of other things I can do if I have a few free moments, mostly so I don’t fritter them away. I keep things on the list, both chore-like and relaxation-like. Some days I need that magnesium bath more than I need to fold the towels that a six year old could fold.

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    13 gogardengirl December 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    When my children were 3 and 6 I decided to go to college. The first quarter I was able to be home with them during the day and take a couple of night classes when dad arrived home after work. The second quarter my husband lost his job and I headed back to work full time. Not wanting to give up on my degree I continued, slowly (12 years) to complete my degree while working full time. My kids were busy and active in church, sports and music, so life was full. What worked best for me (as my hubby does not cook, and would have fed the kids peanut butter and crackers three nights a week) was the once a month cookbook. At the break between school quarters I spent a day and half shopping, chopping and assembling 30 freezer meals. Oh how they saved me–I would throw the meal in the oven and pull out of the driveway as my hubby pulled in. Now a days my kiddos are grown and my hubby works out of town during the week so I do a lot of weekend cooking, then package it up for him to eat during the week. A big pot of soup is also a mainstay as it becomes a couple of dinners and my lunch each day. Couldn’t live without my crockpot and freezer.
    Also during the crazy time I gave up having a Martha Stewart house, things had to wait. Remember you don’t have to be perfect, just do your best, and take time to enjoy your family.

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    14 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook December 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    My husband and I were just talking about how you manage to homeschool, run a household, full time job and cook healthy meals. It’s amazing to me-I only have one kid and can’t keep up lol

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    15 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook December 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    I’m sure your fantastic! It’s just so amazing to me how you do it all. I’m having the baby in less than a week and no idea how to do it all. My patience has been lost already lol

    Reply

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