Being a parent can be exhausting, and when we're balancing raising a family with going to a job every day, it can be even more so. There are so many things to do, so many responsibilities, and we of course still want to be the best mom that we can be (while being the best employee that we can be at the same time). It's a lot to balance.
If anyone's a working parent, they might have heard of the term "life hack" before and wondered if it could apply to them. Well, the answer is definitely a big, fat yes! Life hacks are pieces of advice that we can follow to make our daily routine much simpler and better for our families. Life hacks are basically a one-way ticket to happiness and productivity; they make us all wonder why we haven't thought of it before.
Thankfully, there are a lot of working moms who are more than happy to share their stories and how they stay productive and get through every day. Their tips are so helpful and can be an awesome inspiration when someone needs good advice. So here are 20 life hacks that take only five minutes that can really help parents with a busy household!
20 Prep Food The Evening Before To Save Time In The Morning
Most people, whether they are parents or not, would agree that the morning is a super hectic time. You might struggle to get breakfast for yourself, your family, and then you have to lunches... That's a lot of waisted time in the morning!
This life hack from Reddit is awesome: spend a few minutes packing your kids' lunches the evening before. As this mom shares, "I like to plan for my mornings during the weekend and the night before. This means I have the water bottles, fruit, snacks, all in their places and organized. I can pack three lunches in under 10 mins because of organization."
19 Run Errands In The Same Area
A reader contributed to a story on life hacks for working moms that was published on Momsimplified.com and said, "Do all of your errands within the Golden Triangle – home, office, and school. From the dentist to the hair salon to the grocery store, make no exceptions. Organize your life so everything is in close proximity. It saves so much time!"
If you can run some quick five-minute errands and you happen to be in the same area, that's a really good idea. You'll feel productive and it'll be a great way to streamline your to-do list, which is always welcome.
18 If You Work From Home, Make Loud Toys Quieter
This idea comes from Reddit: "LOUD toys can be nearly silenced by putting clear Scotch tape over the speaker holes. It knocks the noise out almost completely but is still loud enough that the kid enjoys it. This has saved several obnoxiously loud toys from the trash can. edit: Sorry I didn't mention KIDS toys! Ha!"
If you work from home all the time or even just part-time, it's a good idea to make those toys that drive you crazy a bit quieter. This will help you become more productive and, of course, you won't have to get annoyed by those super loud toys anymore.
17 The Morning Is A Great Time To Spend With Your Kid
Life hacks make life easier but can also make you a lot happier. Here's a smart idea: if you're a working mom, why not spend time with your kid in the morning before you go to work? The more time you have, the more time for snuggles, a game, or a story!
Your kid will love it and you'll both benefit. This idea comes from a working mom who shared on Reddit, "I went to work when my son was nine weeks. Our routine was similar, but I found that he woke up early. I was up at five, and he was up at 5:30-6. We had our sweet quality time in the morning. He was happier then anyways! Bedtime was 6:30, and then we ate dinner and did chores. We rested at eight and were in bed by nine."
16 Pump In The Car During Your Morning Commute
Are you a breastfeeding mom who has returned to her job? If so, this advice is totally for you. Try this life hack from Themuse.com: pump when you're commuting to your job in the morning. As this website says, "Moms, if you’re breastfeeding, pump while you drive. Most pumps have a battery back-up, so connect the parts in your driveway, throw on a nursing shield, and make that commute work for you."
This is one of those epic life hacks that you just don't think of and when someone suggests it to you, you think it sounds way easier than your previous routine.
15 Get Your Kids To Help Out To Save Time On Chores
There are always things to clean up and chores to do when you're a working mom. Getting your kids to help out is always a good idea, and a super easy way to do that is to ask your kid what they want to do.
This life hack comes from a post on Reddit. This working mom says that this is what they do: "Presenting a child two options creates a sense of free will. 'Do you want to clean your room, or fold the laundry'?" When your kid responds with what they want to do, the fact that they're helping you out will save a lot of time.
14 Clean Up Each Evening
This life hack shared on Reddit is about spending 30 minutes cleaning every evening. You can also use this life hack as a working mom and do it for five minutes each night. It will help out a lot since you can easily cut down on clutter (and clutter can be a real annoyance for sure).
As this working mom said, "We also try to do 30 minutes of basic tidying every night before bedtime; dirty clothes in the hamper, dishwasher started, toys put away, dining table relatively tidy, etc."
13 Run Quick Errands On Your Lunch Break
Lunch breaks are super helpful during the day for things besides lunch. You know, on those days when you wanna eat-on-the-go or aren't really hungry. It's also a great time of day to remind yourself that you have at least an hour to yourself. If there are errands that can be done in five minutes or less that you can take care of — doing it during your lunch break is a smart idea.
This life hack comes from a post on Reddit: "As long as you are giving 100% to your job for your peace of mind then it’s just being time efficient. I have to do lots of errands during my break no time when I get back."
12 Work Out With Your Children So You're Hanging Out With Them, Too
Lifehack.org suggests working out with your children so you're hanging out together while, of course, getting some exercise in.
There are tons of super short workouts that are effective and are based on HIIT-style training so all you have to do is Google some workouts or go on YouTube and you'll find a lot of options. It'll be fun to take five minutes at a time and get a little movement into your day, and it's cool to do something active with your kids as well. Use them as weights if you have to! They'll love it and have a lot of fun watching their momma move!
11 Write Down A List Of Who Can Watch Your Kids In Emergencies
This will only take a few minutes but will be really helpful. Parentmap.com suggests having a list of who can look after your kid if there is ever an emergency.
If you sit down and take five minutes, you can come up with some friends or family members who can do this, and this article also suggests looking into some babysitting services. Either way, you'll feel a lot better knowing that you have this all figured out ahead of time. You can also share this tip with your friends and relatives who have kids — they'll thank you for it.
10 Spend Five Minutes And Plan Your Weekly Menu
If you spend five minutes and plan out your weekly menu of what dinners you're going to make, you will breathe easier and feel much calmer by the end of the day.
This is an awesome life hack from Reddit: "So, I mostly get through it by planning ahead on everything. A week's menu is planned in advance and I make the shopping list in detail. I try to make double what we need so that I can portion out the leftovers for future meals."
You can definitely make a decision on a meal in five minutes because then you can make quick decisions about what dinners to make and won't stress about the many options dinner menus can sometimes have.
9 Multitasking Is Your Friend
The same mom as above who posted on Reddit loves to multitask and it definitely seems like you could multitask and get small things done at home in five minutes.
She said, "There is no such thing as doing one thing at a time, and relaxing is something I do while at work or sleeping. I hang out with the baby while folding laundry and looking up recipes. I mop while I return calls. I do dishes while I make dinner. And mostly, I spend all weekend running errands, taking care of the yard, and cleaning the house like a mad woman."
8 You Can Get Your Children To Clean Up, Too
As this working mom said on Reddit, "You train your kids to clean. My daughter had been doing some dishes every day after school this year. Both my kids pick up their room, put their laundry away, etc." This just goes to show that no matter how young your child is, they can still learn how to have responsibilities and help out. They're gonna have to learn how to clean up sometime, right? And who knows, your kids might even enjoy helping out!
7 Make Sure Your Hairstyle Isn't Complicated So You Don't Have To Spend Time On It
Working Moms Against Guilt shared this smart tip: when you're a working mom, you don't want to have a fancy hairstyle that takes a long time every morning. They suggest a short haircut but you can have something longer if you like that and prefer that. You should just make sure that you don't have to spend more than five minutes on your hair every morning.
After all, you have a long to-do list as a working mom, and it's super easy to just brush your hair or pull it into a bun and call it a day (or get your day started, which is more accurate).
6 Go For A Short Walk During Lunch
This working mom who—shared on Reddit that they go for a walk during their lunch break—brought up a really good point: Why not use your lunch break for a short walk?
She said, "12 pm — Try to take a quick walk outside if it's nice out. If I was really together, I would go to the on-site gym, but I am not together and I do not have time to deal with changing clothes or showering in the middle of the day. So I take a walk, it's better than nothing. If it's not nice out I try to get a little extra inside activity, like going to get coffee on a different floor, taking stairs, etc."
5 Prepare Easy Dinners That Kind Of Make Themselves
Working Moms Against Guilt had a great idea for being a working mom and still getting dinner together: using your slow cooker or Crock-Pot. They said, "Cook meals that can sit for a long time and doesn’t require you to stay in the kitchen (for instance, slow cooker meals or meals that bake or simmer)."
This is great advice since you can literally prep your dinner in five minutes and then just pop it in the slow cooker. You can do this in the morning before you go to the office and you'll come home to dinner that is already ready. It will take a load off.
4 A 'Cooking Marathon" So It Takes Five Minutes To Get Dinner Together
Global News interviewed a couple who did a "cooking marathon" where they made a lot of meals over three-four days and froze them. You could definitely only spend five minutes getting dinner together after doing that kind of work.
After all, once everything is done and your meals are frozen, you can just defrost them and then have dinner with your family. It's low maintenance since you'll feel like you're having this all-star meal (since, of course, you are) but you won't have to spend time cooking when you get home from work. You'll definitely want to share this with the other working moms you know.
3 Explain Things To Your Children And Always Have A 'Reason'
Psychology Today said this life hack of giving your child a "reason" for something takes only one minute.
It's a really good idea to do this because when we explain things to our children, they'll understand why we need them to do something and won't get so upset. Now, who knows how long this reasonable conversation will be with your child, but when your child is receptive, it will definitely take five minutes or less. They'll also learn a great deal about reason and listening.
2 Say No When You Have To
Working Mother suggests that you say "no" when you have to — don't say yes to everything just to be the "good cop." No means no.
It takes less than five minutes to do this, and it's a good reminder that saying yes all the time and filling up your to-do list, which is not necessarily the best idea. If you say yes to everything and everyone, you're only going to get stressed out and overwhelmed. It can be exhausting, and it won't be helpful to anyone, least of all you.
1 Spend Five Minutes And Come Up With A 'Pumping Schedule'
Thanks to this working mom's post on Reddit, we know about this really smart idea: doing a test run of your schedule once you go back to work after having a baby and making sure that you have a schedule for pumping as well.
They said, "I would practice your new schedule (whatever you decide it will be) a week or so before you go back, so both you and your baby (and caretaker/daycare) will get used to it... This 'practice' should include the pumping schedule you plan on using when you go back to work."