Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Secrets of a busy mom

Well, they're not secrets exactly. More like Stuff I Learned the Hard Way. Mostly through experience and trial and error. And also through my amazing moms' forum hosted on Big Tent.

Rather than keeping separate calendars, I find that a shared calendar of everything going on in my life works best. I have the same 24 hours each day and some work time bleeds into home time and vice versa, so tracking everything in one spot makes sense. This Business Insider article supports this philosophy. I use Google Calendar sync to send all of my Outlook calendar appointments to my Google calendar so my husband can see what I'm up to. Make sure to set up a 1-way sync if you attempt this, as I think my 2-way sync broke the internet back in 2011.

I can't say enough about how telecommuting has made my life easier! Pat Katepoo's site Work Options (please note I am an affiliate) sets the gold standard on how to win over even the strictest boss on the merits of telecommuting. Her system couldn't be simpler or more effective.

Delegating the hundreds of chores I have has been key to being able to focus on the right things. If you live in Boston, you can post for a mother's helper on the BU jobs board. Having the extra help with housework makes me feel less pressure to spend evenings cleaning up. 3 hours a week seems to be enough to keep the laundry, dishes, clutter, etc. at bay. If you have a local college or high school students nearby, see if they want to earn some extra money by helping you with the laundry or dishes. A regular (twice a month) cleaning service is also a luxury upon which I've grown dependent.

I also get help in the cooking department from the food delivery service Cooking from the Heart. It costs under $200 for nearly a month's worth of dinners delivered to us. If you prefer to cook yourself, save some shopping time by using a grocery delivery service like Peapod.

I also use the site Task Rabbit for small errands. I've had people help organize my condo, clean before a party, insulate my windows, and install a microwave. This code PAL18413 gives you $10 off your first task!

Give some thought to whether your schedule is working for or against you. For my husband and me, splitting the schedule works best. I leave the house at 5 am to beat traffic and get to the gym (my commute is 50 minutes). He drops our daughter off at daycare at 7 and heads to work. Since I start work at 7, I can leave between 3:30 and 4 for my 50-60 min. commute home. I pick our daughter up and come home. For the pickup, I carpool with a mom who goes to our daycare and keep 2 carseats in my car. Brainstorm creative ways you can ease the stress of pressure points like daycare pickup in your schedule.

For the small amount of time spent with family in the evening, I try to just turn off or ignore my phone and enjoy that time. I like to make the bath and story time part of our evening ritual.

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