Being busy is a parent’s game. You’ve got a lot of family responsibilities to handle, and if you’ve got a job to do on top of that, it can feel impossible to have time to yourself. You’ve never had zero free time before in your life, and it’s hard to even squeeze out a few extra minutes here and there!
And that’s something we want to help you with. After all, whether you’re a first time parent or you’ve been in the hot seat two or three times before, the problem remains the same: being a parent keeps you busy! You’ve got a lot to do, and only 24 hours in a day, and the pressure around being a ‘good parent’ just piles on top.
But it’s not bad to ask for a little help when you need it. Let us get you started; here are some tips for making time here and there when your day is absolutely jam packed.
Don’t Pack Everything into One Day
If you’ve got a lot to do, let yourself have a break every now and then! Because not all jobs are of the same priority, and some can be put off until later without any suffering for it. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you should just get things out of the way – it’ll be far easier on your health to do some things now and some things later.
If it makes you feel better, you could even separate your to-do list into things for today and things for tomorrow. Then you’ll have a clear distinction in front of you. In the meantime you’ll have a bit of spare time and the chance to properly recharge your batteries.
Have a ‘Dumping’ Area
A dumping area is just that: somewhere you can just put things when you don’t have time to sort through. If there are things all over the coffee table, shove them all onto a tray and then pick it apart later. If you’ve got a lot of cables to wind up, put them in a box and leave it until you’ve got a spare minute. Because for now, it’s more than tidied up!
If you’re always feeling disorganized in your own home, this is a good way to banish that feeling. If things are away – out of sight, out of mind – you don’t waste your time trying to ‘over tidy’. It’s done and dusted and you can get on with doing something else that’s probably much more worthy!
Turn Two Connected Jobs into One
If you’ve got a long to-do list ahead of you, try to pack connected jobs in together. Could you polish two or more things off at once, even if you just plan the route round the house right? Say you take your baby out for a walk – be sure to both clean and pack up the stroller at the same time when you come home again.
Take the baby out, settle them down, and then get the pushchair out of the hallway – done and dusted! And it’s easier to manage this than you think when you have the right help. For example, Experts share how to clean a stroller in 7 easy steps, and using them could have the whole ordeal over in about 10 minutes. Don’t leave anything for later if the job is connected and won’t take you long to do.
Cook Ahead of Time
Cooking is a big task when you’ve got a family. After all, it takes at least half an hour to put a basic meal together, especially when you’ve got to make room for four or five portions! So try to get ahead of yourself here, and cook more than one meal at once. You can pack up and store the other meal(s) for later and just reheat them when the time comes.
Indeed, meal-prepping is becoming more and more popular in the modern world. Most people decide to cook in big batches on Sundays for the upcoming week, but you can cook whenever you need to. As long as you’ve got something in the fridge or freezer that just needs putting in the microwave, you’ve shaved hours off of your total parenting work for the week!
Make Do with ‘Good Enough’
As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to have this attitude about things like chores and errands. If something is done, that’s fine. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be off the list – you’ll all live another day!
The carpet in the living room needs vacuuming, but you’ve only got 5 minutes – just get the worst of it up. You’ve booked a dentist appointment for your kids, but it’s a little way off – that’s fine, at least it’s done. If something is done to a good enough degree, you’ll make a lot more time for yourself in the long run.
Learn to Delegate
This can be a hard thing for a parent to do, but it’s a necessary part of life. You’re not going to be able to do everything, and you’re not always going to be able to do things up to your expected standards. But if you get others involved, such as your kids, things will move a lot smoother and faster.
And the more you delegate, the more your kids learn about what it takes to run a household. What needs to happen to keep everyone happy, such as the laundry, or washing the dishes. Chores can be great life lessons, and they free up a lot of time!
Being a busy parent seems to be another part of life. But that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it! You can clear bits of time for yourself here and there when you’ve got a couple tricks up your sleeve. So keep the above tips in mind if you need them; if you can wiggle another hour out of the day, you’ve done a great job for yourself!