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As school approaches, teachers go back to work, and the hectic schedules of fall extra curriculars begin, throw in a deployed husband and little kids and this is a one way ticket to crazy town. But don’t fret, here are some tips that helped me survive…
ON SUNDAYS, PLAN OUTFITS OUT FOR THE WEEK – I normally do laundry either Friday or Saturday, that way everyone has clean clothes for the week. Use the Weather App on your phone and get your kid one of these (here is a similar one):
Or some sort of organizer split up in to 5 separate compartments. This closet organizer is easy for my oldest to reach. He knows what all the “cubbies” mean. For us, the small top cubby is sports stuff (soccer socks, baseball pants, etc). The second small cubby is Monday, the third is Tuesday, the fourth is Wednesday and so on.
We “split the cubby in half” so we have school clothes on the left and practice clothes on the right. I put a pair of underwear and socks in every cubby, so if I’m in a rush, my kid won’t need my help in reaching those things and he can start getting himself dressed until I’m ready.
When I worked, I planned my outfits for the week as well. On hangers, I put my work outfit, accessories, and gym clothes together and hung them on my husband's pull up bar (we didn’t have any extra closet space, he was deployed, and Lord knows I don't do pull ups). Planning ahead outfits bought me some crucial sleep time. Here are some tips for looking put together even though you just woke up.
INVOLVE YOUR KIDS - Ask them to help you pick out their clothes for the week. If I pick the pants I’ll let my son pick the shirt or if he picks the bottoms, I pick the shirt. If it were up to him, he would wear a blue raptor shirt every single day for the rest of his life. When he contributes to his outfits and plans ahead of time, this cuts down on A LOT of morning battles over clothes. Same thing with lunch. At the grocery I ask my kid to pick out some mom-approved snacks. At night, before I pack lunches, I give him choices before we pack his food in to his lunch box and he puts it in the fridge.
MEAL PREP LUNCH AND DINNERS ON SUNDAY- I grocery shop on Saturday and cook on Sunday. If you don’t know what meal prepping is, it’s cooking a large amount and essentially eating “left overs” throughout the week. All you have to do is reheat. If you cook all your meals beforehand, just grab a Tupperware and throw it in your lunchbox.
USE A CROCK POT - This thing is so convenient. If I didn’t prep enough food on Sunday, I dump things into the crock pot while I eat breakfast. I leave it on all day, then come home to a hot meal! If you do use a crock pot though, use a Slow Cooker Liner. After using your crockpot, take the liner out, throw it away, and wipe out the crockpot, and put it away. IT’S SO EASY.
PACK MULTIPLE BAGS When I worked, I had my teacher bag, my gym bag, and my purse. In the car, I had a snack bag and my kid's practice bags. My purse was small enough that I can just shove it in whatever bigger bag I was using. Every thing was packed beforehand and I didn't have to worry about crumbs getting into my headphones or forgetting something. Pack your bags and put them by the door so you can just *swooop* everything onto your arm and head out.
PACK SNACKS AND DRINKS - Never underestimate the power of low blood sugar and an empty belly. I get hangry and unfortunately my kids do too. If I’m not prepared with snacks, we get really ugly, really fast. I carried three large bottles of water to work – two to drink at work and one to drink after. When school and sports are in full swing, I keep a HydroFlask in the car and a bag full of snacks (chips, crackers, cookies, snack baggies of trail mix, etc).
I love HydroFlask because no matter how hot or cold it is outside, the liquid inside stays the same temperature as you poured it in the morning. HydroFlask boasts keeping their liquid hot or cold for up to 24 hours. After I pick my son up from school, there’s not enough time to stop at home and eat. So we eat the majority of the food in the car and have a small dinner when we get home from our day.
USE PHONE ALARMS It’s easy to lose track of time when you're multi-tasking. Set alarms as reminders to help you stay on time. Mornings are easier because my kids know they have to finish breakfast before the alarm goes off. Nights are easier because he knows when the alarm goes off he has to clean up and we have to start getting ready for bed. Here’s an example of my alarm notifications.
SCHEDULE, SCHEDULE, SCHEDULE - One of my friends joked with me about how I have my kids on a schedule. She goes “oh, you’re one of those moms”. Heck yes, I have to be one of those moms because I need time for myself!
If I don’t stick to a schedule, I will spend too much time on one thing, most likely forget another thing, or I say eff it all and go to sleep at 9PM.
Here’s an example for when I worked and was in school:
8:30p Caleb in bed. Clean kitchen and Prepare for tomorrow
Pack lunch and water, set coffee, pack bags
9:30p Shower and decompress
10:00p Do work stuff – grade papers, plan lessons, input grades, write comments, etc.
11:00p Do grad school stuff
In the comments below, share some of the things you do during the week to help save time and energy!