Best Advice for A Single Mom (or any Mom, really) – Be Efficient

20 Sep

I made a decision to move to New York City from the suburbs last year because I knew that I would be able to manage my life a bit better without having to depend on my family too much.  When I moved to the city I found an apartment close to my office and a daycare center right near my office.  As a result, my son and I spend a lot more time together than we did when I was living in the suburbs.

As Moms we need to multitask so many things in order to take care of our family and our home.  We need to shop for food, cook meals, keep the home clean, do laundry, prepare our children for school, prepare lunches, give baths, read bedtime stories and take care of children when they  wake up scared at night or when they fall ill.  If you work outside the home, you need to add another level of “things to do” to this list of things to do – an 8 to 10 hour job.   After the job and the childcare, if you want to remain sane, you need to add things for yourself to the list, like watch a movie, read a book, or go to the gym.

Many people ask me how I manage to do everything I do in a day for myself, my job and my family without a partner.  Here are the things I found that work for me:

1.  Embrace Technology: Almost all aspects of my life are now intertwined with technology (besides this blog).  I do most of my shopping on-line and have everything delivered to my home (www.amazon.com and www.oldnavy.com are very convenient shopping websites).  I take advantage of free shipping options on almost every order.  I even have my groceries delivered to my home (www.freshdirect.com).  I also use my computer as an online tool to keep a behavior chart for my son (see www.goalforit.com).   I monitor my running progress via my garmin forerunner watch and load them up to a website which keeps track of my progress for me automatically.  I keep an electronic calendar on my handheld device – so I keep track of all of the things I have to do. 

2.  Organized/Keep to a Schedule.   My home is very organized.  Everything has its place.  My son is also aware of this rule and he puts his things away (after prompting and a little help from CityMama).  I keep him to a consistent schedule and routine which always allows me to have  few minutes in the evening to myself.  I also keep an electronic shopping list and update it before I go shopping so I don’t have to repeat making my list each time (this has been a life saver).  I also keep a list on my refrigerator door and  in my purse so I can write down what I need to do or things to pick up as the week goes by (thinking about converting this list to my handheld device as well).

3.  Keep up with My passion.  My passion is running and fitness.  In order to fit these things into my life, I wake up before my son does and I workout to some pretty good dvds in my bedroom (approximately 28 minute workouts) two – three times a week.  My favorite workouts are by Jillian Michaels – Ripped in 30.  I get a full body challenging workout and work up a nice sweat in less than a half hour.  I find the time to run at any day (as I always have my running stuff with me).  In addition, when I’m feeling like I need some Zen, I turn to ExerciseTV’s Yoga videos (I either watch them on Demand on my telelvision for free or I run them from www.exercisetv.com).  Running is my true passion and I try to fit in a run twice a week in Central Park for about 30-40 minutes at the end of the workday before I pick up my son.  I also fit in a longer run on the weekends – wherever I am.  Finding time to exercise is very important to me and I try my best to fit exercise in almost everyday and carry my running shoes with me so if there is time for a run – I can get it in.

4.  Cook/Plan Meals on Sunday.  On Sunday and Monday, I prepare a few meals for the week.  These meals are usually healthy meals for my son and I to bring for lunch and have for dinner during the work week.  For example, this week I prepared the following dishes: macaroni and cheese (made mainly of pureed winter squash); lentil soup; quinoa with rainbow swisschard, carrots and onions in a parsley hazelnut pesto.  I also make hummus cucumber sandwiches on a moment’s notice!  Coordinating cooking with online food shopping is really helpful so you can review the recipes that you want to cook for the week and place the order.

5. Stay Focused.  When at the office, I am focused on the office.  When I’m home, I do my best to stay focused on my son and our home life (difficult with a blackberry but manageable if you are  enlightened and only look at the blackberry occasionally – still working on this).

What are the helpful hints that other mom’s could use in order to manage their time more efficiently?  If you have some great tips – please do share!

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One Response to “Best Advice for A Single Mom (or any Mom, really) – Be Efficient”

  1. Sue September 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    as a very new mom, i’ve learned to keep your phone handy and call your family and friends often!! this helps me to keep sane and feel like i’m going to make it through this whirlwind of being a parent!

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