As a parent, time management is key if you want to have a little time to yourself. Moms are busy, that’s part of the life, but there are ways you can maximize your time to get the most from it. Life can’t only be about driving kids to school, cleaning the house, and heading to work.
Managing time doesn’t come easy to everyone, though. It’s a learned skill, one you can master with a little practice. A mom doesn’t have to always run against the clock. Hey, mom, you also need some time to do fun family things, spend time with a friend or loved one, and catch your breath once in a while. Here are some tips to help you find that time.
Time Management Tips for Super Mom
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Start with the Right Time Management Tools
One of the biggest obstacles of motherhood is having to manage not only your own schedule but those of your entire family all at the same time. If you are a digital girl, look for a free electronic calendar app to keep you on schedule. So that everyone is on the same page, try to download one that syncs with other family members.
If you prefer something the whole family can see at once, go old-school with a paper wall calendar. Designate some wall space and make that your family’s scheduling hub. Hang a large paper calendar and write in each person’s schedule with a different colored marker. Provide matching colored sticky notes they can use to leave you details about things they must do or changes that come up. But to make sure that things stay organized, you should consider being the only one who actually writes on the calendar itself.
Schedule a Weekly Family Meeting
The topic is planning for the week ahead. Who needs a ride where? What appointments are coming during the next seven days? Who is doing which chores this week? A weekly planning session ensures that everyone in the family stays organized with their time. Fewer time emergencies will make a mom’s life much easier.
Be sure to let your family know during these meetings what blocks of time you have set aside for yourself. Maybe Friday is date night and you are expecting everyone to fall in line to make that happen. Tuesday might be your night out with friends, your day for yoga class, or your evening for book club. Remember, your personal time matters, too.
Help Kids Plan Their Activities
One of the major time management issues to tackle is the various extracurricular activities your kids become involved in. To be fully on top of all the schedules, you might have to set some ground rules. Maybe limit each child to two activities during the school year. You can work with them to pick the two they want most and then fit those into the family schedule.
Make sure to commit yourself to these two activities with your child, so they feel like you are on their side even though they can’t do everything they want. Explain the reasoning behind limiting their activities, too, so they understand why you need this rule. Sometimes in parenthood, you have to say no.
Time Barter with Friends and Neighbors
Other moms have just as much of a time challenge as you do, some might even have more. You can work together to trade errands and open up time in each other’s schedule. The obvious choice for this is carpooling, but think bigger. Maybe one mom has kids over on a scheduled day to give you time to grocery shop or clean the house. You can return the favor while she takes some time to get something done.
Think about the different activities your child might want to do but you don’t have time for, like dance class or music lessons. Look for similar interests in your friends’ and neighbors’ kids. Maybe one child takes dance classes and that mom can drive yours at the same time. In return, you can give her a night off to do something she enjoys.
While you’re at it, work with your neighbors to create a buddy system for emergencies. If you are stuck at work and can’t pick up a kid after school, who can you call in a pinch? If you choose to make this parenting system, be prepared to reciprocate when your neighbor is in need of help.
Accept the Idea That There Is No Such Thing as Perfect Parenting
Carol Brady did seem to have it all worked out, but that was a fiction far from the reality of family life. In real life, you need to get the perfect mom concept out of your head. Once gone, you will be more open to outsourcing tasks like walking the dog or cleaning the bathrooms. If you can’t learn to delegate chores, you will be stuck doing them all by yourself.
Teach your kids early on that helping out is part of being a family. A five-year-old is capable of sorting the laundry or dusting the living room if shown how. If you get them used to doing things early in life, it will be second nature by the time they become teenagers.
Don’t Forget to Sleep
Sleep needs to be a priority not just for the kids, but for you, too. Schedule your sleeping time as part of your daily routine. Plan to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day to maximize your energy and your productivity.
Make your wake up time at least an hour before the kids. This gives you an hour of breathing room in the morning to do whatever you want. Maybe you need to have a cup of coffee before the chaos begins, or perhaps you want that hour to make lunches, take a run, or simply plan your day.
Give Up on the Idea of Multitasking for Big Things
Sometimes, trying to multitask just gets in the way of getting anything done. Learn to be mindful of all the things you do. Focusing on one task at a time, like helping someone with their homework or making your grocery list, is often times the more efficient approach. Save multitasking the smaller things, such as chores around the house.
Add Some “While You Wait” Things to Your Purse
Can’t find time to read? Put a book in your purse for when you’re stuck waiting for something, like picking up the kids at school or sitting at the doctor’s office. Make use of that time to do things like writing a to-do list, updating your calendar, or working on that scarf you’ve been knitting. The idea is to fill those time gaps with something you’ve been meaning to do but never got to.
Don’t Get Caught Up in the Internet
You set rules for your kids when it comes to computer use, so why not do the same for yourself? Its easy to spend way too much time looking at websites or reading online news and scrolling through social media. Limit your time on the Internet, unless you are on the computer with a purpose in mind, like buying something or answering emails.
Set Reasonable Goals
You cannot possibly do everything, so don’t try to do it all. You need to establish some reasonable goals for yourself to avoid feeling rushed all the time. Start with establishing priorities. If you have to work, then you should prioritize that, but if you can afford to work less when the kids are young, do it. Although, it might be a good idea for at least one parent to have a job with established work hours, if possible.
Don’t try to take on things for others unless you can afford the time. If you can volunteer at the local animal shelter two days a week, great, but don’t do it because you think you have to give back. There will be plenty of time for that when the kids grow up. Although, things such as volunteering can be great teaching opportunities for your kids and a fun family project.
Don’t offer to help someone else out unless you can truly do it without blowing up your whole schedule. That doesn’t mean you can’t be there in an emergency situation, just don’t make it a habit. Accept that there are limitations in your life. If you do this, you should be able to manage your time better.
If you’re not very organized, don’t worry. There are still a lot of things you can do to get things done properly. Get more useful time management tips from Clutterbug’s video below.
With a little time management, you will be surprised what you can get done. You might even find you have a little more time for yourself. You just need to properly organize your tasks, and then you’ll get enough time for yourself. On the other hand, make sure you’re ready for unexpected events as well! There is always another surprise waiting when you’re a parent.
Do you have your own time management tips as a parent? Share them in the comments section below.