The Rolling Stones may have belted out that "time is on my side," but most busy parents would beg to differ.
Sometimes, it's all you can do to carve out five minutes for a shower, never mind leisure activities like reading or vegging out in front of the TV. That's where author and motivational speaker Lisa Druxman, who penned "The Empowered Mama: How to Reclaim Your Time and Yourself While Raising a Happy, Healthy Family" and founded FIT4MOM, wants to make a difference.
Her tip: Start small.
First and foremost, here's a good rule of thumb: If anything will take less than two minutes to accomplish, don't put it off! Just do it, and get it off your plate.Speaking of plates ...
- Breakfast is always a stressful time when trying to get kids out the door. So try these no-bake breakfast cookies. Combine rolled oats, peanut butter, chia seeds and honey in a bowl, add chocolate chips if you wish, press flat and pop the whole concoction into your fridge for an hour. Presto! You have breakfast for the week.
- The only thing tougher than getting kids fed is getting them dressed in the morning. So, save time by repurposing a shoe organizer as an outfit organizer in your child's closet. Label each pocket with the day of the week and preplan each outfit. Line them up.
- For the adults in the house, hang an ornate hook on the wall, labeled with days of the week. Pick your outfits for the week, hang them up, and grab and go!
- Save time at the store by buying matching stuff in bulk, meaning, buy multiples of same socks, gloves and undershirts, in the same color, so there's no time lost tracking down mismatched items.
- Make the best use of your smartphone with the Doodle app, which creates a polling calendar that's shared among participants. No more long email or text chains - imagine the time saved in frustration alone!
- Break a sweat with your kid. Instead of trying to carve out time for the gym, try a stroller barre class, or do barre workouts at home while the little ones nap.
- Make a daily laminated task list for your kids so there's no argument about chores and tasks. They'll know when to brush their teeth, put on their socks and grab their backpacks every morning without endless discussion and debate.
- Instead of letting your fruits and veggies rot in the back of the fridge because you forgot to eat them, wash and cut all of your produce one time per week. Use a product like Eat Cleaner and the produce will last longer. You'll save money and eat healthier.Don't have a junk drawer. Instead, opt for a handy basket that's labeled and contains the stuff we use every day, like pens, hair ties, reading glasses, small notepads and sticky notes.
- Create snack and food bins so kids can help themselves when they're hungry, and pack their own lunches. Fruit goes into one bin, bars go into another, and pretzels in yet another. Create a bin for their (clearly marked) water bottles and make them accessible to the kids so you're not always hunting around for them.
- If you're roasting one chicken, it's just as easy to make two. The same goes for lasagna. So at least once a week, double the amount of what you're making for dinner and put the extra portions in the freezer. You'll have plenty of options for busy nights when you don't feel like cooking.