Shower at night
Or rather, shower in the early evening. If it’s possible, I shower (and wash my hair if I need to) after dinner or right after Charlotte goes to bed. I can even let my hair air dry halfway (cutting down the heat I use on it). If I have to wake up earlier to wash my hair, let’s face it — it’s not happening.
Start a load of laundry every morning
Especially if you have multiple children, spreading out your laundry is going to be much less daunting than a designated “laundry day”. This way you’re not sitting around waiting for cycles to finish, and you don’t have a giant pile of laundry to sort through. If you have a more efficient washer, you can even do smaller loads so putting it away is easy! Just make sure you switch the load to the dryer by nap time.
I know, sometimes meal planning seems like a lot, and it doesn’t work for everyone. I’ll do a full post on my method later, but I spend about 10 minutes planning out a whole month of dinners. When it’s time to put together my grocery list for the week, it’s easy and doesn’t require a lot of thinking (I buy mostly the same food for breakfasts and lunches every week).
Keep easy-to-prepare meals in the rotation
Slow cooker meals, boxed meals, frozen chicken nuggets… Ain’t no shame in that game. There are some days we get home right before dinner time, and I need to put something together fast. This is not the stage of life where I’m trying to be a fancy chef. I’m just trying to get dinner on the table. So these fast, easy meals are in my meal plan and designated to days where I know I will have less time to prepare a meal.
Especially veggies. My toddler, like many, is not interesting in veggies lately. But it’s recommended to still put a small amount on her plate and offer them. I have zero motivation to prepare them before lunch if I know she’s not going to eat them. Preparing them ahead of time means it only takes me a few seconds to put some carrots on her plate.
Set out clothes the night before
This is a no-brainer, but be thorough! I set out Charlotte’s whole outfit, down to socks in the morning. If you want to go pro level, pick out a week’s worth of outfits. As soon as we get moving, she sees it and knows it’s time to change her clothes. I also set out my own clothes, because trying to decide what I should wear while I’m sleepy takes a lot longer.
Set out everything else
Pack the diaper bag, load the car as much as possible, get the school folder ready to go, and get whatever can be out on the counter for breakfast. Do everything. There’s nothing like the morning rush before school, so save yourself from forgetting anything.
Take 10 minutes where you find it
While you’re waiting on the oven to preheat, or something to finish microwaving, clean up the kitchen or empty the dishwasher. Tim usually does bath time with Charlotte, so I like to spend that time putting things back where they belong.
Plan out and review the next day
What do you need to get done? What do you want to get done? Where do you have to be when? Knowing this ahead of time is going to prevent you from forgetting something important, and instead of standing around deciding what you should do during nap time, you’re already on it.
This isn’t as much a time-saver as it is for my sanity! But as a stay-at-home mom, I don’t want to work more than 13 hours a day, and I shouldn’t have to. I absolutely deserve time to wind down before bed, catch up on TV, read, have a full conversation with my husband, or whatever else I want to do (if possible). I’m convinced this makes my “on” hours much more productive.
How do you optimize your time every day?