5 Awesome Ways for the Exhausted Mom to Save Time and Sanity
Being a parent is a full-time job. For moms, it’s often a full-time job done on top of paid work. Autumn is generally an incredibly busy season with the return to school, sports, and many celebrations. Many moms are extra busy this fall– working, managing family life, caring for kids on limited school schedules, managing distance learning, or reacting to school protocol changes. All of those factors make this a perfect time to pull new tricks out of the bag to make life easier to manage. Technology to the rescue!
Here are our top suggestions for apps every working mom needs.
A Menu Planning app
What’s for dinner is a question asked every day, in virtually every home across America. An online meal planning service can make it easier to answer while saving you hours a week.
Several options are available, and they all let you select a week (or more) of meals quickly and easily. They cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so it truly eliminates the scramble that accompanies menu planning and food preparation. You can choose meals based on your health goals, family preferences, and budget. Having a menu for each meal of the week ready to go saves you time, hassle, and money.
Good options include eMeals, SideChef, or Plan to Eat. Once you choose your meals, you can automatically create a shopping list for the meals specified. My personal favorite is Recipe Keeper — it’s an app that lets you add recipes from your collection using the camera on your phone, snap pictures of recipes in magazines, and search their database of recipes. I love that all my recipes are safe, available on every device, easily shared with family members, or social media. Best of all — it creates shopping lists by aisle and one for each store. And, it lets me quickly add ingredients from the recipes to the shopping list, which is a big time saver.
Grocery Delivery or Pick Up
You know that feeling when you are exhausted but realize there’s nothing in the house to eat the next day? With grocery delivery or pick up, this feeling can be a thing of the past.
Several companies, such as Peapod, Shipt, and Instacart, are ready to make it easier for you to fill your pantry by bringing groceries right to your door. And, many national grocery store chains now offer order pick up based on online orders. Your order is brought out to your car while you wait.
It takes some practice to master the ordering process through the app, so give yourself a grace period to get up to speed. (Pay particular attention to sizes. I once ordered almost a gallon of chocolate syrup.) Once you master the online process, you’ll save a lot of time and hassle. I’ve also found that I purchase many of the same things each week (think milk, eggs, bananas), and those items auto-populate after you buy them several times. That process, along with my menu planning app’s input, reduces the chore of grocery shopping to a quick and easy transaction, freeing up several hours a week.
I’ve also found a bonus benefit: no impulse purchases. The money I save on unplanned purchases covers any increased costs of service fees or tips. Overall, grocery delivery/pick-up means hours and dollars saved.
A Photo Storage and Sharing app
The second half of the year is full of picture-taking opportunities. Between summer fun, park dates, the first day of school, a trip to the pumpkin patch, Halloween, and all the fall holidays, it’s easy to take several hundred photos. For many of us, those adorable photos to sit inside our phones, never to be seen or used again.
But, several free apps make it easier to document the life you love with online photo storage, automatic memory books, and easy-to-order prints. Options include Shutterfly, Snapfish, and apps from local stores, like Walgreens, that allow for quick, local pick up.
There are also compelling services like Mixbook, which comes with all sorts of stunning templates and designs that will bring your photos to life and make them easy to adapt for any occasion.
These apps let you keep your photos organized, autogenerate memory books, and order personalized cards and gifts. It’s easy to organize photos or make memory books right from your phone with just a few available minutes, like when you are riding as a passenger or waiting for the orthodontist. You’ll love the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies completing a memory book or ordering a photo mug showing off your family’s recent snaps.
Keeping track of every family member’s commitments, meetings, and zoom calls take a lot of organization, time, and commitment. When you organize school, work, sports, and social events in one place, it’s easier to get a sense of your total workload and identify competing commitments early. What’s more, knowing everything due with one glance makes it easier to decide where to funnel your energy.
Several apps exist to help solve this problem. Choose the one that best meets your needs and stage in life. Options include the Google calendar, Apple calendar, Timepage by Moleskine Studio, Planner Pro, Evernote, or Family Wall. These apps let you track commitments, manage to-do lists, take notes, and leverage templates for everyday tasks saving hassle and reducing stress. For me, I love using my Apple calendar to schedule and share events, meetings etc with my family but also including the address, things to bring, notes about the event, access codes and more. It’s all in one place for me or my family to access. And all of these apps offer the basics of time management and scheduling with slightly different layouts and formats. Browse the options and choose the one that works best for you.
A Goal Tracker app
Setting goals is an integral part of the success equation. Tracking progress can help you stay on track, whether your goals are personal, professional, or both. You can find an app that helps you manage health and fitness, self-care, reading, budget, or practically anything you’d like to track. The right one for you depends on your stage in life and your specific goals. Strides, Done, and Fabulous as good options to investigate.
If your kids are school age, you can also look at tracking apps to help you help them. Check out Homework Pal, Pocket Schedule Planner, and the Power Planner for help tracking homework, chores, sleep, and more.
There are millions of apps available to make life easier and more productive. Finding the right ones can make all the difference. I’ve shared my favorites here. Drop me a line sharing the apps you can’t live without.