Survival Tips for the Working Mother
Raising children and working outside the home is not easy, but there are several things the working mother can do to make it much easier:
1 - Use a Crock Pot at Least Once a Week
A crock pot can be a working mom's best friend. You simply need to spend a few extra minutes the night before, or in the morning. The payoff for spending these few extra minutes is that you get to walk in the door to a house that smells like you were home cooking all day. There are so many great recipes out there - beef stew, pot roast, meatballs, lentil soup - there are countless meals you can put together. I like to use my crock pot on Mondays. It makes Monday so much better to come home to a great meal waiting for you. It's one less thing you have deal with that evening!
2 - Get Lunch Ready Ahead of Time
It can be exhausting to make lunches for your children all week, let alone if you also regularly pack a lunch for yourself and/or your spouse. To ease the burden during the week, do as much prep work as you can on the weekend. Have a supply of snack-size baggies or small plastic containers on hand, and pack a week's worth of snacks ahead of time. You can bag up fruits and veggies ahead of time-- easy choices include grapes, orange segments, baby carrots, and sliced red peppers. Just make sure that after washing you allow everything to completely dry before you bag it. You can also pre-bag other snacks like chips, pretzels, and cookies. When you throw the lunches together in the morning, most of your work will already be done.
3 - Put Your Kids to Work
Once they are school age, there is no reason your kids can't help out with chores in the evening. Young children can be expected to at least hang up their coats, empty out their lunch boxes, and put their backpacks away as soon as they get home. After their homework is done they can help with other tasks like emptying the dishwasher, setting the table, sweeping the floor, and putting away their clean clothes. It can be tempting to let them off the hook (working mother's guilt!) but in the long run you are doing them a disservice if you don't give them some basic responsibilities around the house.
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4 - Grocery Shop on Your Lunch Break
Grocery shopping is a time consuming task that can eat into your precious weekend time. And inevitably you will end up with "company" on your shopping trips--clingy, whiny children who beg you to spend money on sugary snacks. That's why sneaking to the grocery store over lunch can be such a lifesaver. You will need to bring a cooler or insulated bag (even in winter your trunk can get warm in the sun). You also might want to bring comfortable shoes to shop in if you usually wear heels to work. Have your list and your coupons ready, and get it done over lunch. Don't forget to enlist your kids' help unpacking the bags after work.
5 - Plan Out Your Meals Ahead of Time
This tip goes hand in hand with your grocery shopping. Before you shop, plan out a week's worth of simple-to-prepare meals. There's nothing worse than walking in the door after a long day at work with hungry children clinging to your legs and you have no idea what's for dinner.
Working when you are raising children can be a juggling act, but with a little organization, it can be very manageable and satisfying. If you have more tips, please comment!
Sage Carter shares ideas, information, and advice for better living. Visit her at http://sagecarter.hubpages.com/.