While Still Making Time for Your Kids
“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” — Lucille Ball
It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home, a work away from home, or now in the midst of a pandemic, a work from home Mama. Hands down, moms are the busiest people on the planet. They take care of everyone and do all the things. If you look at any volunteer committee, it’s probably made up of a bunch of moms. Why? Because moms are superheroes without capes. They know how to get things done.
They are the first ones up and the last ones to go to bed. Before my house wakes up I have already run a few miles on the treadmill, done a load of laundry, and gotten the water started for hot tea in the morning. Sound familiar?
As a mom to four growing kids, kindergarten through high school, I’ve learned to work smarter, not harder. If there is an app that can help me accomplish my tasks and spend more time with my kids then I’m all for it.
The days are long and the years are short. I don’t want to miss a minute with my kids. Especially now when my high schooler will be applying for colleges in a few years and my middle schooler wants to spend time with me and tell me about her day. In a few short years they will be leaving home and leading their own lives.
Plan to Eat — Meal Planning App
One of my favorite apps that I have been using since my almost 15 year old has been in diapers is Plan to Eat. It is a meal planning app that helps me plan my meals for the month and helps me create a grocery list to go with it!
You can easily copy and paste recipes from the web onto the app. When you plan that meal, it will create a shopping list. How cool is that? It’s my favorite!
Gone are days of handwriting grocery lists.
The grocery list can also be divided by store. Pre-pandemic I went to three separate stores to get the items I needed. I can easily tag my items to the store where I would find it. (Ex: bulk items at a big bulk store, specialty items at the small local grocery store, regular name brand found at my local grocery store).
Not only can the grocery list be itemized by store, but it will also put the food items into categories within that store for easy shopping. For example it groups all the canned goods, dry goods, meat, etc. It makes grocery shopping easier and faster.
I can plan my meals a month in advance and never have to wonder what’s for dinner, like I did today. But as soon as I opened my app I breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t have to wonder what was for dinner, I had already planned it.
Money saving tip, while this app is worth every penny, I recommend hitting up their Black Friday Special and getting the app for 50% off the regular price. I also have a referral link: https://www.plantoeat.com/ref/hjauquet please feel free to use it, but don’t feel obligated. If it helps you, then that is worth it.
1 Second Everyday: Video Diary
I love this app. As we added more kids to the family and as busy as we are I never seem to remember to take pictures or videos. Do you remember those big VHS cameras for family movies? I remember when my dad bought one and was so excited to film our lives. Those home movies are probably still at my parents’ house collecting dust. I really should put them on DVD.
The 1 Second Everyday (1SE) app replaces that old clunky video camera and allows you to take a picture or a 1 second snippet and put together a little video. We have loved ones who live in another state. The last time we saw them was in January 2020. I have been posting monthly videos for them on social media and they get a snippet of our lives with our 30 second videos. They love it and I love having an ongoing record of our life, even when it didn’t seem like anything of note was going on during the pandemic.
1SE has encouraged me to stop for a moment and really take in the scene and capture it for my memories.
The kids grow so quickly and this is one way to preserve those precious moments.
unroll.me — Productivity App
I have gotten really lazy about unsubscribing the junk mail. As a result I have thousands and thousands of unread emails in my inbox and I hate it.
Mamas, our time is much too precious to be scrolling through email and reading junk. unroll.me is a productivity app that allows you to immediately unsubscribe from the subscription emails that you do not want with an easy swipe. It allows you to keep the subscribed emails you do want but don’t need right away. This “rollup” can be delivered at the time that’s most convenient for you: morning, afternoon, or evening. And everything else stays in your inbox. It’s that easy.
Coschedule — Productivity
I’ve just started using coschedule. It is a great productivity app if you need to push out blog posts or social media posts for your company or as a freelancer. It even has a headline analyzer. I love that you can write down all the topics on your calendar and move around as needed. You can also tag it as drafts, under review, and published to keep everything in order. And you can color code it! You can also shift items around on the calendar as needed whenever you need to reprioritize it.
However, it is expensive, but definitely worth looking in to depending on your business. If you do a lot of writing and promoting on social media, this may be just the thing to help you organize.
This sounds like a gimme and I assume that everyone already uses it. But nonetheless, this is probably the one thing that keeps our lives together when all seems hectic. My husband and I share a calendar and put down all the important dates (birthdays and anniversaries) and all of the appointments or kids’ schedules. My husband adds important work dates and appointments (late meetings, out of town business travel, etc). I put down everything. It’s such an easy way for us to coordinate our lives. When he comes home to an empty and dark house, he’ll look at the calendar and remember we are at swim practice. It’s happened a few times pre-pandemic. I also know when he’ll be later for dinner. It’s simple things like this that keep the line of communication open even when it feels like we are never in the same place at the same time to tell each other what’s going on.
The Google Calender and Plan to Eat are probably the two most important apps I use for our busy (and now not so busy) family of six.
When I became a stay at home mom I found myself busier than ever as I became the family’s “cruise director.” I have four children from kindergarten to high school. If it weren’t for the pandemic, we would never be home. All four kids are at four different schools spread out over the county. In addition to school, we would be going to sports practices and games, after school clubs, and church activities. We would come home exhausted and do it all over again the next day.
I’m happy that we have been able to slow down and appreciate our time together. While life has slowed down, I still need to get things done to keep our family moving along in life. Organization doesn’t take a break even if our world is in a bit of a standstill.
Mamas, our time is much too precious to waste it away on systems that don’t work. One thing I have learned over the years is to work smarter, not harder.
There are only so many hours in the day. Find the systems that work for you. I’m still horrible at organizing, but each of the apps I shared help me throughout the day so that I can do the one thing that I want most at the end of the day: Spend more time with my children.
I hope it helps you, too.