Before my husband and I were married we were required to meet with our priest for several premarital preparation courses. We learned a number of things that we still use in our marriage today. (Like when you want to argue, you should think of the word HALT, which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. If you are feeling one of those emotions, you should wait on having a discussion until you are in a better state of mind. In taking that advice, I haven’t talked to my husband in almost thirteen years.)
Another piece of advice we were given is that there are only 24 hours in a day–no matter what you do with it–so you need to be intentional on where you spend your time and make sure to spend a little of it together. Of course, as newlyweds, we scoffed at the idea that we would struggle to find time for each other.
Fast forward a few years. We are now middley-weds and, as a mom, my 24 hours of time to be intentional feels like it is shrinking. The lists I find online about making sure you get together with your gal pals and whip up 100 magical, organic, free-range, nutritious freezer meals on the weekend or take time to exercise and focus on myself (when I barely have time to get a hot shower alone) just don’t seem realistic. So I have decided to devise my own, much more realistic, time-saving tips for moms who are less chore-chart abiding and more often than not Febreezing their kids as they head out the door.
Sleep with your glasses on
Sure, some people might call it passing out in the chair whilst catching up on some much needed Netflix binging, but I call it multitasking. It might be only seconds you save but as they say, every second counts. Pro tip: Skip pajamas and get dressed for work the night before. This works best on Mondays, so you know at least for one day you aren’t duplicating outfits. Don’t forget, real friends won’t mention wrinkles, stains or baby puke.
Get a dog
Okay, to be honest I don’t have a dog, nor do I foresee getting one anytime soon, but I do know when the kids drop food on the floor at dinner I like to be like other moms and say, “Don’t worry, the dog will get it.” Having a dog in this situation would at least save me the time of going back after everyone else is done eating and having to sweep it up. (Yes, I know this logic may be flawed. Don’t send me hate mail; I don’t have time to read it.)
Cry in the shower
We have all cried at least once over the hardships of being a mom – and if you haven’t, let me know your secret, because you/I might not be doing it right. Crying in the shower is not only a time saving tip, but it is environmentally friendly, as you can save on water. (You might not be able to rinse your hair with your tears, but just like seconds, every drop counts.) Also, let’s face it, if you are crying in the shower it means YOU ARE GETTING A SHOWER, and that my friend, is your silver lining.
Remember what your kids look like
This might sound like an obvious one, but if we could just remember what our kids looked like we would save hundreds, if not thousands of hours, trying to get the perfect picture. We would also not have to spend time saying things like, “No, just do a normal face,” or “This is going to hang on Grandma’s wall for a year. Could you please just open both eyes at the same time?”
Don’t have nice things
Sure every parenting article shows moms wearing clean, white linen pants, surrounded by breakable heirlooms, watching kids without sticky fingers play on unstained furniture. Let’s face it, if we didn’t have anything nice we could probably save 5 or more minutes a day not having to say, “This is why we can’t have anything nice.” Don’t worry, kids grow up. You’ll have nice things again, but if you are looking for more time in your day, you’re best to just chuck anything remotely nice now and start again in 18 years. (For those of you keeping track: that is five minutes a day x 365 a year x 18 years = 32,850 minutes back to your life – give or take if we skip leap years.)
Lie to your kids – Tell them your favorite foods are spicy
This tip might not work for every family, but for many Minnesotans like me, ketchup is a little spicy. If there is something you really want to eat, and you don’t want to waste time sharing it with your child, tell them it’s spicy. This works for pretty much anything, depending on the age of your child. I’ve tried it with Pop Tarts, ice cream, and even a candy bar or two. (Judge all you want, this is a safe space.) But wait, you ask, won’t this add extra time to my day when they find out I was lying to them. Maybe, but you can always distract them by telling them Santa is watching.
Avoid hot food at all costs
Sure, everyone likes a hot meal, but in the five and a half years since having my son I have saved a ton of time by not ever burning my mouth or having to dance around fanning my face as I exclaim the universal hoooo-haaaa-hooootttttt that everyone else has time to do. You can never be too careful in avoiding hot foods. Pro tip: Order foods that require lots of cutting into smaller pieces and be the point person for when your kids are going to inevitably announce their need to go to the bathroom the minute the food shows up.
Stop looking for advice on what makes other people happy
Sure some advice is important to heed, like don’t eat the yellow snow, but overall I feel like we spend way more time doubting ourselves instead of just doing what we feel is right for us and our families. So what if some celebrity has found inner joy by steaming parts of her body? If you find joy in snuggling up with your kiddos while the living room looks like a bomb went off – DO THAT. You don’t need some random article on the internet to tell you that. (Well, besides this one.)
What are some not-so-perfect, time-saving tips that you use?