Being a parent often feels like a full-time job where you’re always understaffed–add that on top of having an actual full-time job, and juggling all of your responsibilities can feel nothing short of impossible. Luckily, there are a lot of shortcuts that you can take–and a lot of them can often be your saving grace during super busy days.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or a working parent, these smart shortcuts can help your life at least a bit easier:
1. Drop laundry off at the dry cleaners
In busy households, the laundry hamper never seems to stay empty for more than a few hours. And sometimes, it can feel overwhelming to see a mountain of laundry that you don’t have enough time to do. But what if your kids need the soccer uniforms that are at the bottom of the hamper tomorrow? What if you’re out of blouses to wear to work? Instead of getting stressed over something as simple as laundry, take it to the experienced dry cleaners to get it done quickly and efficiently.
2. Make one-pot dinners
Making fresh, homemade dinner every night is just not feasible for parents who have packed schedules. Usually, this leads to ordering takeout several days a week or making convenience foods that are packed with sodium and preservatives.
Cooking dinner doesn’t have to be a laborious chore every night. There are lots of ways you can make healthy meals in little to no time–and one of the best ones is making one-pot dinners. The term itself is pretty self-explanatory; with a one-pot dinner, you simply toss all the ingredients in a pot or a slow cooker and leave it to cook. You can use the time you save to do other important things or just rest after a long day–and yet you still end up with a warm and healthy homemade meal! Here are examples of one-pot slow cooker recipes that can get you started.
3. Meal prep lunches
Why prepare your family’s lunches every morning when you can just meal-prep them on Sunday and sleep in a few extra minutes? On the weekend, make a week’s worth of lunches that your family can just take from the fridge and pack into their lunch bags. You can make sandwiches, salads, pizza rolls, tortilla wraps, or just about anything that can last when refrigerated. Less hassle in the morning, and you get to save money, too.
4. Buy extras of necessities
Buying in bulk ultimately saves you money. But for busy parents, stocking up on necessities can also help you avoid those last-minute races to the store when you run out of toothpaste, laundry detergent, or your child’s favorite snack.
5. Delegate cleaning tasks
Parents can’t do the cleaning all by themselves, especially when both are working. Hiring a cleaning service may also be out of the question since it will add to your expenses. So, what do you do? Delegate!
Assign age-appropriate chores to your kids so that they can do their part in keeping the house clean, no matter how much they moan and whine about it. They will complain about it at first, but kids easily get used to a routine, and soon enough, you’ll come home to floors clear of toys and an empty sink.
Delegate simple cleaning tasks during the weekdays; your kids have homework and other responsibilities to take care of after all. Reserve bigger tasks like vacuuming floors or cleaning the showers for the weekend when you can do them as a family.
6. Say “no” to other commitments
Is the PTA asking you to be a committee member for the next school event? Are your neighbors inviting you to join their book club? Is your boss offering you a leadership position for the next project? No matter how good you are at managing your time, it’s impossible to do everything you want. So if people are asking you to commit to something that doesn’t align with your priorities as of now, don’t be afraid to refuse.
7. Get a nanny or babysitter
Let’s face it, sometimes you need help with the kids or just need some time to yourself. During these times, it’s okay to hire a nanny or a babysitter, and it won’t make you a bad parent to want to get away from your children for a while. After all, you can only offer your best if you take care of yourself, too.
No parent is perfect. Sometimes, we need a few shortcuts to get through our day a little less tired and a little less stressed. So even if you are not the busiest parent in the world, use these shortcuts to make life a lot easier and more efficient.