Tired Mommy Survival Tricks

Survival Tricks

Over the years I have learned many coping strategies to survive being a working mom.  Little tricks to survive the rush, stay organized, and not completely lose my mind.  Below are some of the tried and true daily actions that make life a bit easier.

laundry-pile-5501. Do One Load of Laundry Everyday

I don’t know about your house, but in mine laundry multiplies faster than bunny rabbits.  Between school clothes, gym clothes, baseball uniforms, a husband who wears one outfit to work and then a different one to relax in at home, and four people taking baths or showers in the evening, laundry piles up ridiculously fast.  My trick for surviving this mountain of smelly and stained clothing and linens is to do a load every single day.  In the morning before I go to work I quickly toss one load in the machine.  I have been doing this for so long now that I can seriously grab dirty clothes, load the washing machine and throw in some detergent and fabric softener in under three minutes.  If I miss an item of clothing, no big deal, since I will just get it next time.  This way I leave the house and my washer is working even when I am not there.

2.  Turn on the Dishwasher Before Going to Work

This is similar to the laundry.  I love knowing my machines are cleaning away as I drive to work sipping my tea.  As soon as the last breakfast dish is loaded I toss in a Cascade pack and turn it on.  As for emptying, my oldest son now has that lovely task.  His chore as soon as he gets home is to empty the dishwasher so I will have all the kitchen tools I will need to prepare that night’s dinner.  Plus, doing it this way means the dishwasher is empty and ready to be filled with dinner dishes, pots and pans.  I hate cooking dinner only to find out the dishwasher is still full of clean dishes, or even worse, full of dirty dishes!

3.  Get the Right Tools for the Job

I remember when Swiffer brooms and dusters, Clorox wipes, disposable toilet brushes, and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers first came out thinking what a terrible waste of money.  There was nothing wrong with my mop and bucket, my bottle of 409, and paper towels, and if you are single, or maybe married without kids yet, its true.  But once the kids come the most precious thing on earth…time, becomes a commodity you will never ever have enough of.  If you don’t use these items yet sign up on P&G’s website.  They will mail you high value coupons.  Also, the last Sunday of the month P&G puts a pack of coupons in the newspapers.  Clip those coupons and purchase yourself wipes, a Swiffer Wetjet , and the like.  These items save you valuable time.  I remember the first time I caved and bought this stuff thinking how on earth had I survived this long without them.

4.  Oil of Olay Regenerist Facial Cleansing Cloths

After a full day of teaching, parenting, cooking, grading papers, and dealing with whatever crisis has arisen, I am practically dead on my feet come bedtime.  I’ll confess a dirty little secret.  For years I went to bed with my makeup still on.  I was just too tired to care that my pillow the next morning was covered in mascara.  I washed my face every morning and applied new makeup.  Then one day while clipping coupons from a P&G coupon insert, I saw coupons for Olay Daily Facial Clothes.  I bought a pack.  I have been purchasing them ever since.  Now at bedtime I grab my adult version of a baby wipe and in about 10 seconds I am makeup free and no more black smudges on my pillow case.

clothes cubby

5.  Buy Each Child Their Own Monday-Sunday Hanging Cubby

You can get them at IKEA, or I just ordered mine from Amazon.  You hang it in the closet, and then every Sunday I stuff the cubbies with pants, shirts, underwear, and socks.  I take care of my five years old’s and I did my other son’s for years, but he is now old enough to do it himself.  Every Sunday I check to make sure he has filled each cubby with needed items.  If certain days require school spirit T-shirts or you have to wear a school color just stick it in the cubby for the day of the week it is needed.  This trick saves tons of time in the morning.  No looking for lost shirts, no squandering time deciding that days fashion choices.  Just grab and go!

6.  Lay Out Your Own Clothes Each Night

You have probably heard this one before, but it is true.  Each night I pick my complete outfit, shoes, socks, and accessories before I go to bed.  I check the weather to see if I need my water proof coat or if I can wear my wool coat.

7.  Buy Black Pants…Lots of Them

I own 7 pairs of black pants.  Seriously.  I have some awesome jeans but I can’t wear them to work.  I have khaki pants but teaching first graders all day who use dry erase markers for assignments and are sticky from lunch time inevitably means spots and marker blotches on them.  I wear black pants to work pretty much every day.  I wear all kinds of colors when it comes to my shirts and sweaters, especially jewel tones like red, purple, and emerald.  I love my leopard ballet flats, my sandals, and my black ankle boots.  I love scarfs and toss one around my neck all the time.  But, ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am almost always in black pants.  It’s just my thing and it makes putting outfits together so much easier and for my busy mom lifestyle it just works.

8.  Deal with the Mail as Soon as it Arrives

1 blog pile on desk

Sometimes I feel like mail and paper are the bane of my existence.  I hate junk mail.  I hate bills.  I hate catalogs that just tempt me into buying things I don’t need.  I have gone to websites to try to stop it, but since I do a lot of online shopping for the sake of convenience I get massive amounts of catalogs, fliers, advertisements, you name it.  I have learned to deal with the mail on the spot or it quickly consumes the entire counter top.  I don’t even bring the catalogs in the house.  My recycling bin is in the garage and I go through the garage to get to the mail box.  Before entering the house ALL items of junk mail, or items that could lead me into making unwise spontaneous purchases (Pottery Barn, J Jill, and Land’s End) are placed in the recycling bin.  Once in the house bills are sorted and put into a folder marked BILLS.  Other items that need to be dealt with are placed in their own folder for when I have the time to sit down and address them.  In the end there is NO mail left on the counter top.  I do the same with the boy’s book bags and notes home from school.  If a note comes home about an activity it is put on the calendar with any directions we need and the paper tossed in the recycling bin immediately.  Fliers for things we don’t plan to do go in the bin or get used as kindling for the fireplace.

9.  Accept the Fact that Your Kids are Going to Watch TV

I know a lot of moms like to brag that their kids never watch tv.  Well goodie for them.  Mine do.  There, said it.  After school the oldest goes in his room to do homework, but the youngest is allowed to turn on cartoons.  This is how I manage to cook dinner and fold laundry.  Otherwise my kindergartener would be wanting my attention every five seconds and I would get absolutely nothing done.  The tv goes off as soon as dinner is on the table, and from then on we limit screen time but I am pretty sure watching some tv will not completely fry my children’s brains, and it helps to save my own sanity as well.

10.  Use Your Grocery Store Sales Paper to Plan a Week of Meals

Each week I look at my store sales paper to see what items are on sale.  I clip whatever coupons I need, and then decide what I will be cooking for the next several days, or if possible the week ahead.  Tuesday is piano practice so no time to cook, which means Monday’s dinner must be a double batch so we will have leftovers.  Friday is T-ball so Thursday’s dinner needs to be a double batch.  Just a little bit of planning can save a lot of time.  I hate coming home and everything is frozen and I have no clue what to cook.  I am not saying that never happens, it does, but I try hard to have a plan so we eat healthy as much as possible and I’m not stressing out.  I do have some emergency backups.  Two bags of Chicken Voila Alfredo are always in my freezer, as well as frozen Oreda steak fries and from Costco the 100% White Meat Tyson breaded chicken tenderloins.  Add some frozen veg and dinner is served.

11.  Buy Lots of Wine

I have GOT to get me one of these!!

I have GOT to get me one of these!!

Or vodka, or gin, or what ever special mommy juice you need for when even your best laid plans go to hell in a hand basket.

Feel free to add to this list in the comments.  As a busy mom I will never turn away from a great idea or suggestion.

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