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Last Updated on February 17, 2017 by Diane Hoffmaster
This morning, my daughter informed me that she needed jelly beans for school. Um, WHY? you ask? Because apparently jelly beans come in handy during math class for graphing and such. I really think the easiest way to save your sanity is to not have kids! Do I have jelly beans stashed in my pantry? NO! Because if I DID have jelly beans stashed in the pantry I would have eaten them all by now. Factor in the emergency orthodontist appointment and everything else on the to do list, some days I just want to crawl back into bed at 8 AM!
I know I'm not the only busy mom in this world. I know there are moms a lot busier than I am who still manage to decorate their dinner table with Martha Stewart precision. I am not that mom. Martha Stewart does not live here. If she did live here, I would probably have jelly beans stashed in my pantry! So, how do busy moms manage to keep things under control without hiring Martha Stewart or resorting to illegal drugs? Here are a few tips to help save your sanity that have worked for me in the past. I will also include a few affiliate links that you might find helpful.
Save Your Sanity with these Easy Tips for Busy Mom
Make a List or Three
It's easy to make lists...it's harder to actually find them when you need them! I've resorted to taping things on the wall. I keep a running list of things to do and cross them off as they get done. Every night look at the list and decide which ones HAVE to get done tomorrow. Highlight them. Do those first. Busy moms must prioritize! If you have time between cleaning up dog vomit and taking the car for an oil change, try to do something that isn't highlighted to get a head start on tomorrow. You can save your sanity by checking out the Knock Knock This Week Pad for a weekly to do list tracker.
Reduce your car time
Group your errands into regions of the city so you waste less time driving. Try to commit one day to errands whenever possible to conserve on gas and stress. Keep a bag or box in your house for all the things that require errands. Mine includes things like tennis rackets that need stringing, watches that need to go to the jeweler for repair, shirts that need dry cleaning, and random things bought at Target that need to be returned. When you run out the door to do your errands you don't need to go looking for things because they are all right there where you left them. Use a decorative wicker basket if you want it to look attractive while still being functional.
Learn to say NO
Want to save your sanity? Learn how to say no occasionally. This one is hard for me to do but I'm trying REALLY hard to get a handle on it. I get emails from both kids schools all the time asking for volunteers for this or donations for that. Similar requests come from scouts, church, sports teams, etc. I am not a one woman volunteering machine, no matter how much caffeine I drink. I do what I can and occasionally have to just say no. The word NO can be a big sanity saver for busy moms but for every no I give someone I try and give one YES to something else. Our kids need our support but not if it is going to drive us to the loony bin! There are several books on how to say no that may help.
Take Care of YOU
Save your sanity by taking care of YOU! Busy moms must always remember that our bodies are machines. If you do not take care of the machine, it is going to fall apart. A broken machine will accomplish absolutely nothing. Eat right, exercise, drink plenty of water, take your vitamins, get enough sleep, etc. Multitask if you have to. Check email while eating a salad...don't forget to clean things off the keyboard afterwards! Do a few sets of stairs while you are on hold with the credit card company. Chug your mug of water while sitting in the carpool lane....just make sure you are going right home or you will be stuck doing the pee-pee dance in line at the bank! Invest in a few high quality spa products and have a day just for your own mental health.
Treat Yourself Occasionally
We all have our weaknesses. Some people crave chocolate, some love something crunchy and others need an occasional salt fix. Give in to it occasionally. Consider it therapy! Didn't you know that chocolate has medicinal qualities? I swear, I always feel a LOT better after giving in to a chocolate craving. Taking a few seconds out of the day to treat yourself to something special is a great way to save your sanity.
Streamline your housework
I have a bucket of cleaning supplies that helps me keep everything contained so I can easily move it from room to room. I have 'extras' stored in the closet in case I run out. Set a timer and work top to bottom, room to room. If you have 1 hour to do housework, do whatever you can get done in that one hour. Do not stop to answer the phone, check email, eat a snack, or read that book that you found on your nightstand. WORK. Until your timer goes off. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish when you stay focused. Check out these easy cleaning tips and get started.
Plan your meals carefully
This is one of the most important time saving tips I can give you. Before you go to the grocery store, make a list of meals you want to serve that week. Now, make a list of ingredients you need to buy. Bring the ingredient list to the store with you and tape the meal list on your fridge. Now there is no reason to make a last minute run to the store for food. There is no reason to call for pizza unless you are really just craving pizza. Cook extras on the weekends so you have leftovers for busy nights. Make a huge salad, large pan of lasagna, or just grill a few extra chicken breasts. It will make cooking on a hectic night a lot easier. Do not wait until 5 PM when you and your family are starving to decide what is for dinner. First thing in the morning, take the roast out to thaw or just set a box of pasta on the counter as a reminder of what's for dinner that night. Menu planning can go a long way towards helping you save time and eat healthier.
Put Your Family to Work
Mom is not a one woman army. You gave birth to children that have the ability to pull their own weight. You may or may not have a significant other but if you DO, I like to think he or she is capable of helping out occasionally. Let dad help with homework, let the kids set the table, and cross a couple of things off of your to do list!
Discover your time wasters
We all waste time doing things. Sometimes I waste time on purpose. Reading is my biggest time waster, ever! But, there are also things I waste time on when I do NOT want to be wasting time. Looking for my cell phone is a huge time waster for me. I stick that stupid thing all over the place. And more often than not I have turned off the ringer and can't even call myself and track it down by the ringing! If you waste time looking for your keys ever morning, hang up a key rack to keep track of them. Or maybe you are constantly looking for your shoes? Put a wooden shoe rack right next to the door so you always know where they are. A few minutes gained may not seem like much but by the end of the day you have probably gained enough minutes to sit down with a cup of tea and some chocolate!
Homemade isn't a Requirement
When my kids were little, so many of their friends went Trick or Treating with exotic home made costumes. Mine were store bought. I felt like a useless excuse for a woman because I lacked the creativity and skills to put together a homemade costume. Now, I remind myself that I am NOT perfect and I would rather be sipping tea and eating chocolate than sewing homemade Halloween costumes. Whether it is the cupcakes you bring your kid for their birthday party at school or the dinner you are feeding your kids after soccer practice, it doesn't always have to be homemade.
Sometimes, we put way too much pressure on ourselves and finding ways to save your sanity will go a long way towards making you a fun and happy parent. Disorganization and a really long to do list can make us cranky and, unfortunately, we often take that irritation out on the world around us. Find a few ways to simplify your life and you are well on your way to a happier and healthier you!
Have any other sanity saving tips to share?
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Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.