Strategies for busy parents
Being a parent is a full time job and it can often feel like a juggling act you just cannot win at times.
by Lisa Canning
Being a parent is a full time job. Add in your job, household chores, attempting to exercise and squeezing in time for yourself, it can feel like a juggling act you just cannot win at times.
As a mother of six — and soon-to-be seven — children, trust me when I say I have seen it all. I have experienced times when my life is super organized and productive and it feels like I can conquer anything, and times when it feels so overwhelming and impossible that there is no way I can keep up.
But let me tell you — there is a way. There is a way to balance life, kids, work, and house and not lose your mind. I’m going to be sharing my five-step framework for doing it all at this year’s BabyTime Show in two special presentations on April 27 and April 29. At the BabyTime Show, you can also pick up copies of HOMES Publishing Group magazines, including Condo Life, HOMES Magazine, Active Life and RENO & DECOR.
To get you started, here are some of the strategies that I use to save me time.
SCHEDULE SELF-CARE TIME
This is a simple strategy, but so important. No one else decides how we spend our time, but us. While there are certain duties that we might not have a bunch of flexibility in, I bet if you looked carefully at your calendar you would realize there are a lot of areas where you do have control. So I suggest you schedule time to yourself like you would anything else you prioritize in your life, like a kids’ soccer practice, or a meeting for work.
Literally schedule a block in your calendar and make it a repeating appointment. And spend it however you want, whether it be curled up with a good book, going to the spa, or enjoying your favourite treat (check out my blog right now for my favourite time-out treat recipe with Green and Black’s Chocolate).
SIMPLIFY REGULAR HOUSEHOLD DUTIES
I cannot tell you how many parents I speak to that find cooking for their families a stressor in their home. My solution? Get rid of decision fatigue and simplify the process as much as you can.
For me, this means prepared meals, and let me tell you they are simply the best. You get meals that are nutritious and delicious, and so much of the decision-making and prep work is done for you.
I’m currently loving M&M Food Market’s prepared meals — quick, easy and delicious meal solutions for you and your entire family for your busy weeknights. They have no artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners, and you literally pop them in the oven and in minutes you look like a culinary genius. And many M&M locations offer Click & Collect services, where you place your order online, drive up to the store, and your order is ready for you, often within an hour. Eliminating the time and energy it takes to grocery shop is a huge time saving and energy saving strategy for me.
AUTOMATE YOUR HOME MAINTENANCE
I have worked in the field of interior design for over 10 years and as a result my own home often gets put last on the list where maintenance is concerned. Trying to set up a time for trades to come, and ensure they actually show up, is quite the exercise at times. So, where possible, automate the process by setting up recurring appointments that you set and forget, or use an app like Jiffy that connects you with qualified, insured trades, who come at a time that you specify. The app is also really great for reminding you of seasonal maintenance tasks like barbecue clean up, eaves trough cleaning, or snow removal as the season demands.
CREATE A CENTRALIZED HUB
The amount of paper that comes into a house — between bills, correspondence and school forms — can be overwhelming for a family. How many times have you misplaced an important receipt, a school trip form, or something you need for tax time? This is something I struggle with on a regular basis.
To keep paper clutter manageable, I like to create a centralized command centre of sorts where all this paper lives. So, as soon as the paper comes into the home, it has a place to live until it can be filed away. You can do this simply by having a three-ring binder at the front of the house with dividers for all your important papers, or a series of clip boards that hang on the wall that organize all these documents. I’d also encourage families to place a centralized calendar in the same area so everyone knows what’s going on at all times.
Lisa Canning is a coach, parent, interior design and lifestyle expert. Learn more about her sanity-saving strategies at lisacanning.ca