I am often asked, “how do you do it all?” My response is simple, “a lot of coffee.” In reality it’s way more than that. It’s a lot of coffee AND a lot of wine. But seriously, balancing a life as a full time mommy, wife, daughter, sister, successful career woman, and so many other roles can be more than overwhelming.
As a first time mom, I have found myself telling fibs here and there. “How is she sleeping?” “Oh, great! 8-9 hours a night!” LIE. The truth is, I sacrificed showering this morning to stay in bed an extra fifteen minutes AND this is yesterday’s eyeliner. She slept a total of three hours, waking up every hour when that ugly animal sound machine turned itself off. But, thank you for asking. We’re so lucky. She’s great.
There are a few things I have learned and SWEAR by to manage working full time and being a mommy full time. They were simple changes in our daily life that increase our productivity and decrease our stress.
Plan ahead. I pick five outfits for the week and iron them on a Sunday night. My husband does the same. That way, I never have to worry about what to wear in the morning. I pick my shoes, belts, and accessories and line them up in a section of our closet. This saves me from having meltdowns (kind of) over what to wear. It also frees up time in the morning for him to help me more.
Meal planning. This is huge. It was probably the biggest game changer for us when I went back to work. Every weekend I make breakfast for the week. I make ten breakfast burritos and freeze them, wrapped individually and labeled. That way, all we need for a healthy start is to pop one of those bad boys in the microwave for a minute. Quick, easy, healthy, you know exactly what’s in them and you can eat them with one hand while you juggle a million other things.
Set the coffee pot the night before. This is so simple, but we would always forget. There is no argument over who has to get up and make the coffee. No waiting. No stress. You just wake up and smell that glorious smell of liquid fuel.
As for dinners, I love my crockpot. If someone made me choose between my husband and my crockpot, I would probably pick that beautiful little dream machine. I loaded up on “freezer meals” where I measure and make all ingredients, pour them into a large storage bag, label it with cooking instructions, and just drop it in the crockpot. You come home to a deliciously smelling house and dinner is ready. As an added bonus, using crockpot liners makes for an easy clean up!
Each of these requires some prep work. But, for me, the extra time I have with my daughter for a quick snuggle sesh before I leave or some extra play time after a long day at work, makes the initial effort more than worth it.
I would be happy to share some of my breakfast recipes, freezer meal recipes, tips, and tricks with all of you mommies! What’s working for you?
Ashley Smith resides in Berks County with her husband, Aaron; daughter, Gracie, 6 months; her dog, Sam; and cat, Jack, who runs the show. She is an English as a Second Language teacher by day at Wilson, and an amateur chef, yoga enthusiast, Modern Family fanatic, and first time mommy by night. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.