Gettin' it done....

March 25, 2014

As a full time working mom (with my blog on the side) I get a TON of questions about how I get stuff done. And to be honest, I have no clue how to answer this question. Because I don't always get it all done...but sometimes I do. Luckily a good friend of mine has some amazing tips for getting things done...but first let's talk about how I make dinner.

Now, I'm no chef, that's for sure, but I manage to make dinner most nights. Except Fridays...because they don't count....and by them I am D-O-N-E and need a break!

So, here are a few of my "how to stay sane and make dinner" strategies:
(brought to you by my iphone and kitchen floor)
1. Distract, distract, distract. Utensils, straws, bowls, plastic baggies, you name it....they are all great distractions when you really need your hands free. 

 2. Make it a game. Hudson loves to play lobster with our kitchen mitts. The more I sing and dance and make it fun, the less complaining I hear from him!

3. Get them involved. This is rare in my house...but if it's something simple I let Hudson "help" out. Usually he just makes a mess and eats everything...but who could blame him? I want to eat ALL THE THINGS too!

4. Let it go. Sometimes there are tears. And sometimes there is a 27 pound child pulling on your leg. It happens. Hopefully daddy is home soon and can distract the little monster.

5. Give up. Some nights making dinner isn't going to happen. Those are called eat-pizza-and-salad-on-the-kitchen-counter nights. 

Thankfully, my real life friend, Jenny, has some amazing tips for staying sane when you sometimes have to parent solo. Fun fact: Jenny was the very first person I met when I moved to Michigan. She moved away to Colorado but now she's back! I see some Callie and Hudson play dates in our future!

Hello Red Shoe readers! I’m Jenny and I blog over at The Chronicles of We. I blog mostly about my almost two year old daughter, Callie, but also about my running and weight-loss journey, the process of building a house and our family’s little adventures. I know Julie from our time at Michigan State so naturally her blog was the first blog I started reading when I dabbled into the blogging world. Since then she’s been so helpful and supportive answering my questions as a newbie! I’ve been so appreciative for her guidance in blogging I’m thrilled for her to be my first blog I sponsor!

One of the reasons I love blogging is the chance to get and share ideas. My SAHM situation is unique in that my husband’s job is 100% travel. Jake is literally gone every week Monday-Thursday/Friday. I’m always trying to find ways to make parenting “solo” during the week more manageable. Here are some things that have helped me over the last two years that I think can help almost any mom:

 1. Prep for your morning the night before. I always program my coffee pot! If we have a play date the next morning I pack my bag the night before and pack snacks. If we’re going to the grocery store I make sure my list and coupons are already in the bag.

2. Get extra of things you use often so if the dishwasher doesn’t get run you aren’t out. My thing is sippy cups! We have a ridiculous amount of them but I always have a clean one (or twenty)! There have been times it’s been a life savor to soothe a screaming toddler with her favorite cup of milk!

3. Food pouches are not just for babies! I’ve eaten applesauce on the go with Callie. I have also used her reusable food pouches for smoothies for us both on the road too. We eat snacks/lunch on the road a lot and pouches are convenient and mess free!

4. I cook to have left overs so I don’t have to cook every night. Trying to cook dinner with a toddler, two cats and a dog alone is hard. I try to only twice a week while my husband is traveling. Cooking larger portions to intentionally have leftovers has been a game changer for me.

5. I give myself a pass – meaning I don’t pick up every night. Some days I’m just exhausted after Callie’s bedtime. Those days the toys stay out and the only thing I do before bed is make my pot of coffee.

6. Freezer meals. I have a couple of go-to meals that freeze really well, like these meatballs, and I always have them in the freezer. This way if when life gets crazy I know there is an easy healthy meal waiting for us. 

Because she's awesome, Jenny is giving away a $10 gift card to Starbucks! Enter below!

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25 Responses to “Gettin' it done....”

  1. Great ideas! I will becoming a first time mom (and SAHM) this June, so I def need some good pointers!!!

  2. Great tips, from you both! I let my daughter play with her own set of pots and pans that I only keep in the kitchen. Coloring on the floor with an art pad is helpful too. Love your picture of Hudson "helping" with the pizzas!

  3. Love these kinds of posts! My LO is always clinging to my leg when I cook, so I know the feeling. I always like to read how other working mamas manage everything :)

    Loved the post from Jenny too - I may need to incorporate some of those great ideas!

  4. I resort to all the same "making dinner" tactics you do... But have yet to try the lobster with oven mitts! Ours is with tongs.... Oven mitts looks WAY funner!

  5. Love these tips. I'm a stay at home mom AND my hubby gets home before 5 but I still don't manage to cross many chores off my to-do list, so you two ladies are super moms as far as I'm concerned!

    The Joni Journey

  6. Story of my life with a toddler pulling at while you are trying to do everything! Thanks Jenny for the give away!

  7. Great tips for dinner. And I love Jenny! I have such a hard time getting dinner ready and on the table at a decent time. My biggest problem is that I just get home from work in time to start cooking so Mac is in "missing mama" mode and just wants all my attention. I've found that crockpot meals and one-skillet wonders are our go-tos.

  8. Love the freezer meal ideas!

  9. OMG! How did you know that I needed this post??? HAHAHA!

  10. Thanks again for having me today Julie! I love Hudson in the oven mits -- we will have to try that too!!

  11. My son is finally getting to the age that he wants to be in the kitchen with me when I'm cooking, but he's generally just emptying the cabinets and making a bigger mess. Ugh. I'm definitely going to use some of these tips from each of you!

  12. I love all of your tips. I also find that distraction is key. We also use a lot of tupperware, whisks (that turn into microphones) and muffin tins. It's amazing what can entertain them! Thanks for sharing your tips!
    Home Style Love

  13. Distraction and plan ahead - two bets tips imo! But, I wish I was better about freezer meals and making extra to save for later.

  14. thanks for the tips, although it takes a bit of time I've found prepping the night before to be super helpful

  15. I love finding blogs like yours. Thanks Julie.

  16. So glad to "meet" you -- love finding new, great blogs! :)

  17. Hi, Jenny! I'm so thrilled to see you over here! :) I hope you see tons of growth from your guest post!

  18. Being on your own all week every week would be hard. I don't blame you for not picking up those toys after your child is in bed.

  19. How funny you posted this today as I was just going to email you and ask if you were still going to do your "day in the life" post about being a working mom on a work day. This is pretty similar :) Love it and such good tips!

  20. Great tips! I'm planning on getting some reusable pouches very soon. Thank you both for the chance to win!

  21. Great advice Julie and Jenny!!! Although I am at home with my kids my evenings look pretty similar, Julie!!! Having a step stool and getting them involve seems to be the easiest cure for our evening woes!

  22. Hi Jenny! These are some great tips! thank you for sharing!

  23. Great blog!!! New follower! :)


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