Planning Ahead Makes for Quality Time Together

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January marks one year that I’ve been back to work after maternity leave – so officially one year of being a full-time working mama. There are so many feelings associated with leaving your babies at daycare or with other caregivers. For me, the adjustment was difficult but I’m also a NICU mom so leaving my happy and healthy son at daycare was a lot easier than walking out of the hospital alone night after night. With that said, I knew I would miss my baby fiercely so I set out to ensure that I spent quality time with him when we were together, which meant minimizing time spent on household tasks, mealtime, etc. 

I focused on finding ways to be incredibly efficient but with minimal effort because I was also running on very little sleep (hello, 4-month sleep regression!). I still do many of these tasks a year later because they really helped to make the week go smoothly. More importantly, they allowed me to free up time to spend with my baby, dogs, and hubby. Whether you work full/part-time or are a SAHM, these 5 tips might provide a little relief from your busy weeks.

1.  Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan.

If you do nothing else on this list, start meal planning today! I’ve been doing this a really long time and I can’t imagine not doing it. It makes pulling together lunches and dinners so much easier during the week. Try planning and grocery shopping on Sundays. There are many apps out there, I use AnyList, which enables me to save recipes, insert those recipes into my meal plan and then add ingredients from those recipes to my grocery list (that’s the best part!!).

2. Restock everything.

Walk around on Sunday evenings filling up the napkin holder, replacing toilet paper rolls in the bathroom, adding more diapers to the holder, etc. Basically anything that you could run out of during the week gets restocked to save time during the week and/or running out of something at a really inopportune time.

3.  Empty all trash receptacles.

Mondays are stinky enough so this super easy task ensures you don’t start the week with a smelly diaper pail or an overflowing bathroom wastebasket! Full disclosure: This one belongs to my loving husband!

4.  Find shortcuts with your breakfasts and lunches.

Every couple of weeks, make pre-packaged bags of oatmeal. Include rolled oats, cinnamon, coconut, etc. and then for breakfast, just add fresh fruit, water or milk. Also, invest in some reusable bento boxes so that you can use to both control portions and save time washing containers since you’ll only be cleaning one container at the end of the day.

5.  Walk around your house on Sunday evening and put everything back in its place.

You might be thinking “it’ll be messy by the next day” and you are probably not wrong. However, there’s something about starting the week with a tidy house that lessens anxiety and creates a bit more calm on manic Monday. Bonus: you can easily find things that have been put away!

If you are embracing being a full-time working mama or are just looking for some ways to make your weeks a bit easier, these tips for planning ahead will help! I still do these things every week, but I’m always on the hunt for time saving tips to create more moments and experiences with my family! 

What do you do to free up time to spend with your loved ones? 

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