Life Hacks for Busy Parents
If you're like me, there aren't enough hours in the day to lean into your passions, be a Michelin star chef (or get your child to eat their veggies), raise the next tech giant (and monitor their technology use), while looking like you got it all together. I have one child but sometimes it feels like I have 3, on a good day. Children hold this thing called an abundance of energy. They are the epitome of a Duracell battery, and keep going...and going...until they burn the midnight oil. My lack of this abundance of energy made me assess my everyday habits, to try and determine -how could I accomplish more by doing less? Here are some things I found that were key to helping me stay woke, literally.
Wake Up Time
I've heard that the most successful people wake up early to start their day. Some of these hours I would describe as "are you kidding me, they must be robots," feeling like only the super human with no kids could possibly achieve that goal. Then I learned there were some truths to rising early. Starting my day at 5am allowed me to workout, write daily lists, meditate, and eat a balanced breakfast, all before my daughter got up. It also allows me to be more productive during the day, and when the evening comes I could actually spend that quiet time with family and not on my laptop. It requires you to get to bed early (10:30 pm), and put everyone on a set schedule.
Oatmeal for the win! My child can't seem to start her day without it. I use to give her the packaged oats because it cut down time, until learning how high it was in sugar; let's just say organic does not mean healthier. Now, I cook a few days worth of steel cut oats, add maple syrup and cinnamon, and always prepared for the morning rush. I myself drink a cup of green tea with honey, and eat an egg whites and spinach omelet. Eating light doesn't make you sleepy, and sugar will make you crash.
Lunch, Dinner, and the In-Betweens
Show how strong your meal prep game is by actually doing it. Not only does it allow you to make more conscious decisions with what goes in your body, it allows you to save a lot of time and energy wasted on cooking everyday. Save money by only buying what you need for a weeks worth of prep. So if those tacos aren't part of your meal prep, then leave them on the shelf. I also suggest prepping snacks. Buying the snack bags is easy but cost more than bagging your own. I bag a weeks worth of snacks for her lunch and leave in the cabinet until ready to leave for school. Oh, and always have treats readily available for bribery purposes. It's a sad reality, but who's judging??!
Dressed With NO Stress
On Sunday's, I go through our closets and pick 5 days worth of outfits, including the undies, socks, etc. This may seem anal, but the hour I spend doing this is a lifesaver. Everyday I wake up knowing I don't have to find something to wear, it's already done. While I would love to go for the Mark Zuckerberg look and wear the same T-shirt everyday to focus on other areas of my life, I'm not in a place to do so. I like expressing myself through clothing, and see everyday as an opportunity to have a first impression. Trust me, they still count.
P.S.A. Always leave a change of clothes in your kids book bag.
Running Lists and Tasks
In order to run an orderly household you must be an effective leader, and by that I mean to write lists with daily tasks and mental notes. These daily tasks are the bread and butter to getting you through the day. Two hours of focus with no distraction is almost the equivalent to an 8-hour workday. When you need to get groceries, write a list. Have to do some work at home? Write a list to prioritize what's most important. Hell, write a list for the list, and find yourself getting more things done because you chose to simplify life by taking action.
Keep in mind that these tips work for my current schedule, and I would change them based off of work and school. You have to find what works for you and stick to it. Simple changes can ease up your life and make room for progress.
On those days you want to pull your hair out while cleaning the kitchen, remember the kids will grow up and leave the nest. Cherish those moments, even the messy ones.