8 Ways to Be a More Efficient Working Mom
Being a working mom is a great balancing act that requires planning, organization, and follow through. Or not. Because the truth is as a working mom with young kids, odds are you’re just surviving as best as you can on as little sleep as you can muster and eating the food scraps of your toddler’s chicken nugget dinner.
It’s time to simplify your working mom life though so you don’t have to deal with more bull shit than you're overtired, over-caffeinated, mommy-mind can handle. These are some of my favorite tricks to hacking my mom life.
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Working Mom Hack #1: Hello, Trello!
Trello is a scheduling and organization system that you can manipulate to be your bitch for whatever you need. My family even used it to plan S’s first birthday party by delegating different family members or friends to be “in charge” of individual elements.
Trello works a lot like a bulletin board, where you can post things, add comments, change the order of priority, assign due dates, and even assign specific colors or pictures for projects. I currently use Trello to organize all of my writing both for this blog and for my freelance gigs and it’s the only way I can keep track of which stage everything is in and even where the most recent draft of something might be (pro tip: I link everything to its Google doc within the Trello board card to keep things super tight.)
We use Trello for our grocery list and meal planning as well. My husband has access to the meal planning board, and we have a running checklist of what we need (which is super easy to operate - even for my tech-stubborn hubby.) If one of us happens to run to the grocery store on a lunch break or on the way home from work, there is no longer the looming panic of wondering if we already have enough milk. The hardest part is remembering to update the list when we run out of something, but we made a commitment this year to follow through on things like this, and here we are in April, and the list has maintained!
I know I’m going to sound all salesy when I write this, but IT’S FUCKING FREE! So it is the most obvious download to your phone or computer that you could probably manage to do in like 30 seconds.
Click here to get started and let me know if you have questions. I’ve become quite the Trello lover slash expert in the past several months.
Working Mom Hack #2: Walmart Grocery Pick Up
Look. I LOVE Target. And I would be remiss if I didn’t confess to having a bit of a moral conflict when I shop at Walmart because of you know...this. And also, this. But ya’ll, NO ONE ELSE IS DOING GROCERY PICK UP LIKE THIS! So I have to add it to my toolbox of working mom hacks.
You simply add items from your list (oh, hey look, there’s your list on Trello) to the grocery ap or on your desktop. Click a time that you’d like to pick it up (usually a one hour window) and then boom, when it’s ready they send you an email or a text and let you know.
When you arrive, you call the number listed on the parking spot that is designated for grocery pick up. If you have the ap, they track your location, which is admittedly weird at first but also some first world fancy shit. After you arrive, within minutes someone brings you your groceries.
I'm just going to pause on this because THEY BRING YOU YOUR GROCERIES. You can bring your children and not have to unbuckle them. I've even swung through with a sleeping toddler who fights naps with abandon and would never have survived a transfer to his room so two birds! Car nap and groceries purchased and loaded.
Bonus: It’s saving me a ton of money because there is no impulse shopping happening. I buy what I need off the list. That’s it. Nothing else. Also, because I’m buying off the list, I’m thinking more in advance of what we actually need. It’s a beautiful cycle.
Working Mom Hack #3: Facebook Mommy Groups:
Sure, Facebook may be under some fire right now and deservedly so. But there are so many reasons I can’t quit Facebook. In the top three are the easy and quick access to Facebook mommy groups.
Something is comforting about being able to feed your baby in the middle of the night and while scrolling through the posts of a Facebook mommy group and the many questions and comments.
Maybe one of the most useful Facebook mommy groups is the popular Car Seats for the Littles that is moderated by certified car seat technicians who are almost always available for a quick answer to burning questions about car seats. They also have an extensive database of files for reviews of seats, studies about rear facing vs. forward facing, and how best to install your car seat in your car correctly. It’s a fantastic resource.
Also, be sure to search your local city and mommy group to find a local FB mommy community that can help you connect with other moms, learn about local daycares or preschools, and ask burning questions, particularly in the middle of the night when it feels like the whole world is asleep except for your baby.
Working Mom Hack #4: Amazon Prime Your Life!
I know, duh. Obviously, odds are if you’re a working mom you already have a prime membership but hang on a sec. Are you using this to its full potential?
For example, every year around this time we start seeing several invitations to birthday parties, baby showers, and weddings.
As soon as the first one comes in, that’s my cue to order “the books.” The books are to be the gifts that we will give nearly every child who has a birthday this summer. I like this series of books (I’ll usually end up ordering about ten copies total to be spread out over the spring and summer birthday season) and then when a birthday comes along, boom, we are prepared with a present.
Also, THIS BOX OF BIRTHDAY CARDS is awesome to have on hand. They're well designed and different enough you can give them to adults or kids. You’re welcome.
Also, I’ve automated nearly everything to be delivered through subscribe and save. For us, this includes diapers, wipes, butt paste, food pouches, sunscreen, face wash, body wash, paper towels, toilet paper and a bunch of other shit that you don't have time to go to the store and worry about buying because you’re too busy being a badass boss mom.
Automate your life so you can live your life.
Working Mom Hack #5: Meal Kit Delivery
I’m in love with meal kit delivery services at the moment mostly because of simple math.
Of the seven days in a week, we tend to eat out at least one of those nights. With Blue Apron delivering two meals a week, we’re now down to only four meals that I have to figure out in a week, vs. six.
That’s 104 days a year that I don’t have to think, plan, or shop for what’s for dinner. And that’s worth every penny.
We’ve tried a few different delivery services, but I’ve found Blue Apron to be the most consistent in quality, customer service, and actual cookable meals. In three months we’ve only had one box show up with any issues and their customer service was amazing in dealing with it.
Some complain that the instructions can be a bit over complicated, which can be true. I tend to pick meals that are 30 - 40 min to prepare. The bonus is most of the meals are kid-friendly (be sure to watch for anything that’s labeled as spicy.) And it’s also been a fun “date night” activity for my hubby and me in the middle of the week to cook our meals. If you click here, you can get $30 off your first order of three meals!
Working Mom Hack # 6: Self Care
It may feel impossible to carve out time for yourself but if you don’t everyone will suffer. Self care isn’t just getting your nails done or getting a massage, by the way. It’s whatever helps you feel grounded or relieves stress, or just makes you feel a bit like your old self - pre motherhood, or post if that feels really good.
For me it’s spinning classes, meditation, and also getting drinks with girlfriends.
For other working moms, it may be reconnecting with old friends, or having a date night every week. Schedule it. Commit to it. Make it a part of your routine just like brushing your teeth and feel the stress relief ease you from the chaos.
Working Mom Hack #7: The Instant Pot
I love my instant pot. At least two of the four meals I plan and make each week are made in the instant pot. There is a definite learning curve with this thing, but once you get past it you may find yourself adding Pinterest recipes of all sorts to your Instant Pot board.
I have this one but all of them are pretty amazing. I’ve even put dinner in the pot, turned it on, gone to pick up the boys from daycare, and returned to a fully cooked, nutritious, toddler approved, delicious dinner. I love cooking dinner with this thing too while I carve out a few more minutes of writing or researching for a project. It's the ultimate in multitasking.
Working Mom Hack #8: That DGAF Life
Okay sure, DGAF is in the name of this blog. But if I didn’t practice what I preach then wtf is the point of any of this.
When I first went back to work after becoming a mom, I cared deeply and passionately about everything that had to do with my baby’s food, sleep, and daily activities. And I had a good reason. Everything was incredibly new and exciting. I even made my own organic baby food on the weekend in what little time I had.
By the time baby #2 came around, and it was time to go back to work, I was living on far less sleep, way more expectations, and too much on all of my plates. Shit had to start giving, or else...I would.
I started practicing a DGAF lifestyle. Picking and choosing the shit I wanted to give a fuck about and the other stuff that didn’t matter as much. I also read the book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” and it was pretty life altering. A DGAF lifestyle will look differently for each mom. For some, it may be a priority to spend hours making your own organic baby food. For me, baby two got a mixture of homemade food and deliciously amazon-prime-ordered organic food pouches.
Time moves so much faster with your second kid (and I imagine exponentially faster with any other children you may have after.) So figuring out what is essential to your happiness, your family, your work, and your life is the only way to hack it and survive.
Hopefully, these tips can help you get through it relatively unscathed. How do you hack your working mom life? Comment below!