People always say there is no harder job than raising children, but with more and more parents choosing to take on parenthood while keeping their day jobs, raising children can be that much harder on your time management and stress levels. Luckily, staying sane and being there for your family as well as your job is all about the prep work. We’ve prepared – see what I did there? – a list of 5 timeless time savers to help working parents stay on top:
1.) Make Packed Lunches the Night Before
Rather than going to war with your child’s PB&J sandwich every morning, use this time to finish getting ready for work or to sit down with your children for breakfast. This is a great time to talk to your kids about school, ask what they’re excited to do today, and to find out whether they have anything going on that evening. Not only is it great quality time with your family, but it’s also an easy way to make sure you stay up-to-date with what’s going on in your child’s life.
2.) The Freezer is your Friend!
Prepare a handful of dinners in advance and put them in the freeze for later. You can save your vegetables for the night of to avoid them getting soggy or freezer-burned, but basically you can throw everything else but the kitchen sink in your freezer and save hours on meal prep each week! Also a great meal option when you’re short on time: Crock-pot dinners! Put everything in a crock-pot before you leave for work, set it on the slow-cooker setting, and your piping hot meal will be ready for you when you get home!
3.) Hang a Family Events Calendar in your Kitchen
Allow everyone to add their own events and activities to the calendar and color-code each family member. This will make it easier to remember who has what going on after school so you don’t have to worry about accidentally missing your son’s violin recital or your daughter’s soccer game. Set aside specific family time as well so you can all get together without outside distractions like school or work. Movie nights, board games, dinner out…talk to your family about what they would like to do on these special nights!
4.) Make Time for YOU!
Your family is important, your work is important, but guess what else is important – you are! Sometimes you need to take a step away from both your kids and your job to relax and de-stress, and there is nothing wrong with taking one day a week to focus on you. Schedule date night with your partner every Wednesday, or go get drinks with a few friends on a Thursday. If you’re prone to guilt, utilize bedtime so you can spend their waking hours with your kids…and then skedaddle once the nightlights are lit!
5.) Let go of “Perfection”
Seriously, this one is surprisingly difficult, but if you go into being a working parent knowing you’re doing your best and that you love your children, everything will be so much easier. If you demand perfection in your family life, social life, and work life you will be spread way too thin and your performance as a parent or an employee is going to take the fall. Being a good parent is more important (and far more attainable) than being a perfect parent.
Taking a few moments to plan your week ahead of time will give you and your family more quality time together and save everyone from a lot of undue stress. However, it’s also important to know that stress will happen, and when it does you just have to remember that you are not alone in this. Your friends and family likely want to help you out, they just don’t know what you need. If you feel like you’re drowning, use a lifeline and call a friend!