The other night, my husband and I were discussing how we finally felt like we had a good rhythm and talked about the things that helped us get there – the daily habits we have as working parents. We both work everyday and we work outside of home. I get one day at home a week and while it helps, it’s really important for us to stay in communication, know each other’s and the kids’ schedules and have a system or three in place to keep things in check. Each morning it’s a hustle to get out the door…but somehow we do it and manage to keep smiling…most of the time!
Above all, I am convinced that sticking to a routine and developing household habits saves us money in the long run. Which reminds me, are you looking for a new way to save some money? A friend of mine recently told me that since switching energy providers, her household bills have fallen dramatically. So many of us can make a saving on our energy bills if we just take the time to shop around! In a busy house like ours, the utility bills can quickly spiral out of control if we do not keep tabs on them. Consequently, if you are considering changing energy providers you might want to take a look at this guide to Chariot Energy from the Home Energy Club website to determine whether you could potentially make a saving.
Ultimately, healthy habits are ones that can help all of us…working, stay at home, single parents. We came up with seven that have been working in our lives. Whoever you are, whatever your situation…taking even a recommendation or two can help. But they aren’t just helpful tips…make them your habits.
the top daily habits of working parents:
1. Wake up earlier than you do now. We used to all get up around the same time. It was strategic though – didn’t want the kids to wake up early so we’d just lay there with them (while we have the efficiency thing down, we still don’t have the sleep situation under control!!) But now that they are older and understand, they stay in bed and we start hustling with the morning routine. Most of the time, I hop into the shower while he gets breakfast started. Then we switch.
2. Go to bed earlier than you do now. I get it. It’s the only time you as parents have for each other and yourselves. And during that time, you’re often working on a deadline, catching up on Netflix or blogging lol!!. BUT, productivity increases with the more solid sleep and rest that you get. Try to get to bed earlier than you do and especially before 10 okay 10:30pm each night. And make it a habit to go to bed at the same time each night.
3. Prep the night before. This is a no brainer yet sometimes it’s hard to do after everyone is finally asleep. In our house, we try to prep every single thing for the next day while we are feeding the kids dinner or getting them ready for bed. One of us is doing the prep work while the other is focusing on dinner and bath. We have a rhythm now with this that makes prepping for the morning even while the other in unavailable, easy. For example, before bed…our work laptop bags are by the door, the kids’ backpacks are right there too. The kids’ lunch bags are on the counters, water and milk bottles are filled. Our lunch bags are ready. I even put the kids’ socks in their shoes for the next day. And the obvious is that everyone knows what they are wearing and it’s all ready to go the night before. I even recently implemented the KonMari Method into out closets making the getting dressed part that much easier. Less options + everything in its “home” = getting out the door easy and relatively painless and your life so much easier.
4. Clean up the kitchen before you go to bed. This means the dishes too. I hate to admit this out loud. Because my mom will literally cringe and maybe put me in a time out lol – but Hitesh and I went through a period of time, where we just let the dishes hang in the sink til the next morning. We were just too tired after dinner to deal with it. This always made me feel weird. I grew up in a house where this would never be acceptable. But life happened and we just didn’t want to deal with all that after long days at work and taking care of the kids’ needs. But that made the mornings so much stressful. We knew had to change it up. So now no matter what, the dishes are done, the sink is empty. Most of the cleanup takes place while one of us is getting the kids ready for bed. We realized that just a few more minutes cleaning up the dishes made the morning so much better. That those extra maybe 5-8 minutes, made a world of difference in our mindset for the next day.
5. Clean/declutter strategically. This means, while the kids are in the bath, I am giving that bathroom a wipe down – Lysol wipes to it all, sparkle-ify that mirror and a brush to that toilet. While they are getting in a bedtime story with daddy, I may be putting in a load of laundry in or folding a basket of clothes and putting them away, right away. While they are downstairs playing with their toys, I am going into every room trying to keep all documents and paperwork that’s on the floor in one place. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who recommended I checked out a site like FilecenterDMS, as this could be made a lot easier which is what I need. The key is to make the most of the minutes and doing things simultaneously helps. Sometimes, my husband goes ahead and loads the van with the things I need to take for the next day while I am putting them to sleep or sorting through the mail in the garage while the kids are still in the car and not even bringing the junk mail into the house – it’s headed straight into the recycle bin. It’s making every minute count. We really need to declutter our house properly. I’ve thought about getting a skip bin hire but I haven’t got round to it yet!
6. Meal-plan. Enough said. I know that when I don’t do this, the week is nuts. There is no time during the day for me to try to figure out what to make. When I am at work, it’s work mode only. So on the weekend, it’s key for me to figure out at least 4-5 meals and get everything I need from the grocery and prep as much as possible. I simply right down what we are having for each night – kids still eat a little differently than us so I have their food outlined separately. As I type this, I feel great. Because four hours of Sunday were spent making nutritious, yummy foods that we will have throughout the week for lunches and dinners. We can feel good about eating healthy, not stressing about what’s for dinner and save money! Make meal planning work for your life – there is no exact method to it but do something to cut out that unnecessary “what do we eat for dinner????” stress that we all face when we don’t plan!
7. Put everything in its “home”. The key is making sure everything you and the kids need for the next day is in its “home” or designated spot – that’s what my husband likes to call it. But as much as I have made fun of him for that, I agree that everything having its own place, makes life easier – “a place for everything and everything in its place” if you will and it also makes storage solutions easier because you don’t end up with things you don’t need in random places. Put this fact, one you know works – put this into practice. KonMari or declutter your life – this helped me tremendously because the less you have, the less difficulty it is knowing where it all belongs and goes. Our boys already know about this. That less is more and that everything has it’s place and purpose. Do they always remember to put things back? No. But they are learning life lessons of simplicity and a less stressful life. That planning, have some methods in place don’t take away from living and enjoying life – that these habits actually give you a sense of calm and the ability to enjoy life.