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A mother has many jobs: a nurse, teacher, cleaner, referee, companion, and nurturer. Mothers experience sheer joy, but they also can experience moments of frustration and anxiety.

Here are some tips and ideas for mothers to make the hard times easier

Time

Time can be the largest contributing factor to frustration and anxiety. There is not enough time in the day to get everything accomplished. Many mothers try to cram too much into small slots of time and then become overwhelmed with frustration when everything doesn't go as planned. The levels of anxiety increase because time has slipped away. When the frustration level increases, every reaction is intensified because the mother starts to feel overwhelmed, overworked, and very tired.

State of mind

Each mother is different in her own way. Each excels at different areas, but each must take into account that time is not the only barrier to achieving contentment in motherhood. A mother's mindset plays a significant role in how the she perceives each day's success. Positivity goes a long way.

Housekeeping

Keep in mind that there is, generally, not enough time in the day to get everything done, especially if you try to do everything at once. When you have children, there is always some level of clutter. Constantly walking behind your children and putting away the things they have taken out is inefficient. But you have to make sure there isn't too much clutter. Clean here and there when you have the time, and don't let the mess get too large.

This is where a different outlook can be useful. Not everything that pertains to the running and cleaning of the household has to be done. There is always another day. Sometimes the only deadline maker is the mother herself. Involve everyone in the task of keeping house. From toddlers to teenagers, a mother's relief can come with their help.

A general pick-up of toys and miscellaneous items does not have to take a long time. Generally, a room can be picked up in about 15 minutes. This does not take into account in-depth cleaning that has be done from time to time, which will be discussed later. Toy pick-up is a great way to teach your toddlers and preschoolers to put away things. It reinforces a sense of value within the family unit. When presented in a "beat-the-clock" method, children feel as though they are playing a game. (A food timer works well for this.)

As children get older, involve them in household tasks such as spot-dusting, table-wiping, table-setting, small garbage pick-up, dirty clothes put away, or any small tasks that take little effort on their part but add valuable time to a mother's day so she can spend the added time elsewhere. Involvement also teaches independence and self-reliance and can be done with children as young as two years old.

Dust wipes are easy for children to handle without them having to use chemicals. They just wipe and go. Kids love to wipe things down; give them a damp washcloth and let them wipe away the mess on a kitchen table. Table setting, especially when it involves paper plates, can be useful to you and a great learning opportunity for them.

There are many ways to involve young children in daily routines, and they do like to "help". Include older children as well. By making them responsible for certain jobs, they become an integral part of the family. The choice should be up to the parents as to whether or not their child should receive an allowance for certain work around the house.

For tasks that cannot incorporate children, try taking a task a day. Clean all the bathrooms one day, mop the floor another day, and so on. Not every task is jammed into one day's work; thus, there is variation and housework becomes less daunting.

Remember, housework is never done; it is continuous and once this is realized, then the mother is less apt to feel a sense of failure when everything is not completed. By finding imaginative ways to complete the tasks, these jobs become less overwhelming.

Activities

Activities in which parents and children both are involved can provide a sense of fulfillment. Those who participate have a sense of community or learn sportsmanship and competition. However, activities can also add to the demand on time.

Easing the time crunch that activities add to the schedule is solely at the discretion of the parent or individual involved. Sometimes families busy themselves with so much activity outside the home that there is hardly any time to catch a breath. Many enjoy the bustle of activity but when the rigors of being involved create a sense of anxiety or add stress to the sense of being overwhelmed, it is time to say no.

Over-commitment is a powerful stressor that adds to tension. When the level gets to this point, the inability to function effectively and efficiently outweighs the benefits from involvement in activities. There is nothing that's worth losing peace of mind.

Try the one-activity-per-season rule, as well as saying no to things that are not necessary or integral to the family. Mothers are empowered to take control of their time. Friends and family should understand because they face the same difficulties.

Work

Managing work and family can be an endless struggle and the guilt that goes along with it can be unbearable. Look for alternatives to the work schedule. There are many variations to the work place, especially with the advent of modern technology. From job-sharing to telecommuting, the possibilities are endless.

Many mothers enjoy working outside the home, but there are many who feel they must work for the added income. Every situation is different; however, the average mother who would like to stay home but feels it would be a financial hardship should take a look at the expenses of working and weigh them with other responsibilities. With the expense of travel, meals, and a higher tax bracket, the take-home pay might be less than expected or it may even cost to work.

However, many enjoy the benefits of both worlds, and the best way to struggle with the juggle is to employ creativity. Telecommuting can make the possibilities of working from home boundless. There are several websites devoted to telecommuting opportunities. Search on the web for more information.

Job-sharing is another alternative to working taxing hours. Check with your employer to see if he/she offers this work alternative. Scaling back on hours is another possibility as well as time shifting and the nine-day work week. See if it is possible to work from the hours of 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. or to add time to a regular work schedule to get one day off every other week. Most employers can accommodate these scenarios because they realize the change in the marketplace, and with low employment figures, many employers are ready to do what they can to retain competent staff.

Family Time

Creating memories to last a lifetime is not difficult and can be very meaningful. Young children thrive in participation. They enjoy the sense of being involved and learning. Many family magazines offer easy-to-do craft projects. Most ideas are categorized by age groups.

Taking a family trip is enjoyable and offers new adventures for children's expanding minds. Take plenty of pictures so children can make memory books that capture moments of their vacation.

A day out with a child is another activity you can enjoy. This may take some ingenuity. Set up a date with each child; be creative in finding help with care for your other children. Wait until your spouse is home or ask a friend or relative. During the summer, babysitters may be available, too.

You, Yourself, & Spouse

It is easy to lose one's self in the role of mother but in order to be effective, a mother must keep her sense of identity. To accomplish this, she must take a break from the daily grind. Run errands without children; take a moment to reflect, read, or just rest. A good reliable babysitter is a must. There are creative alternatives if money is tight. For example, there are many parent co-ops that trade time if money is an issue, but that much-needed time to yourself can rejuvenate you.

It is also important to break away with your spouse or significant other. Date nights are important to the relationship; it strengthens the bonds and gives opportunity to talk about issues that cannot be dealt with when children are around.

The most important realization that each mother must make is that although she has many roles, the most important is that of being herself. Molding oneself to fit every mold expected can be taxing and overwhelming. But being true to oneself and taking intermittent breaks can make a mother more effective in her role.

Changing one's mindset and seeing things a little differently can be the determining factor between enjoying motherhood or simply enduring it.