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Discussion Starter #1
I switched from working evenings to nights last October. I worked evenings for almost 3 years and never had dinner/clean up/prep duties because I wasn't there. Also we had a nanny who helped out with the cooking and cleaning.<br><br>
Needless to say, switching to being home in the evenings and having DS in day care has injected some major stress into our lives. I had a minor meltdown on Tuesday because I was sick and trying to get dinner ready while taking care of DS and cleaning the kitchen and realizing - hey, this isn't serving ANYONE well AT ALL.<br><br>
So since then I have been trying to come up with ways to make our lives easier in the evenings, and I think I may have hit upon a solution.<br><br>
Up until now I have been making DS's lunch in the morning after I get home from work, sleeping until about 3:20 PM, then languishing around the house until I leave to get DS around 3:45 PM. After picking up DS I would often to a quick round of shopping before heading home for the evening, unless we had something else to do.<br><br>
This morning DS had to use the bathroom just as we were leaving to go to school, and so we ran about 15-20 minutes late. I then extended my sleep time to 3:35 PM, and just rolled out of bed to go get DS rather than spending 20 minutes waking up.<br><br>
As I was driving to pick him up, I realized what an utter waste it is for me to get up at 3:20 PM and spend 25 minutes waking up, when I could move that 25 minutes to the MORNING and spend that time doing something productive after I had dropped DS off at school. Then I took it 1 step further and realized that if I made DS's lunch in the evening (a 10 minute chore), and did my quick shopping trips in the morning before I come home from work, I could do dinner prep/kitchen clean-up in the MORNING before I went to bed, and then I could move my wake up time closer to 4:00 PM (which is good because the later I wake up, the less tired I am at work), AND our evenings would be way, way less stressful.<br><br><b>So here's my challenge to all you working mamas: how could you use your time more effectively? Is there a way to move around some of your tasks to make your life easier? Where is your "wasted 25 minutes"?</b><br><br>
I have no organizational skills so I am rather proud of myself for coming up with this.
 

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I love the idea of using every spare minute we can. I travel by bus to and from school so I use that time to do some reading either school related or pleasure reading.<br><br>
I think organizing is key for working and student parents and making use of the time we have available to do what needs to get done. Its not easy but we can do it! One step at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well I tried splitting up a relatively easy dinner (shepherd's pie) into two stages: the peeling and chopping stage, and the cooking and assembly stage. It was at the cooking and assembly stage that I realized that shepherd's pie is a fairly time consuming meal to prepare. The C&A stage took at least 30 minutes, and I am trying to get weekday evening dinners down to 15 minutes or less. Good thing it was a weekend!<br><br>
I have decided that I will be paring down weekday dinners to either crockpot meals or very quick and basic meals (mac and cheese, etc.). DS has very, very limited tastes and I don't care if I eat the same thing every day. If I can make more involved meals on the weekend, I can feed those to DH twice a week and substitute something easy for the other two days.<br><br>
I must stay that I absolutely <b>hate</b> the fact that I have to schedule my time so carefully, but I guess when push comes to shove I would prefer to be scheduled and have less stress than be more stressed. We'll see how it goes.
 

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I try to spend every other Sunday cooking meals for the week and feeding my freezer. Yesterday I made chili, chicken creole, meatballs, a big salad and 10 cups of rice in my rice cooker (what a life saver that thing is). This way dinner only needs to be reheated. It kind of stinks being chained to the kitchen for so many hours on one day but it makes the rest of the week so much easier.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kewb</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10343170"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It kind of stinks being chained to the kitchen for so many hours on one day but it makes the rest of the week so much easier.</div>
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Absolutely. That's my big deal. I lose Sunday afternoons because I grocery shop and precook. I too hate that I have to be so organized, but I can't imagine the crud we'd eat if I weren't! I also menu plan - even down to what we have for lunch (we pack ours).<br><br>
We eat the same breakfast every day. Thankfully no one has complained about the monotony!<br>
!<br>
I cook a LOT of the same meals (easy ones). I actually use Excel spreadsheets! One lists all the main dishes I frequently cook, separated by meat/chicken/pasta/beans/eggs. I occasionally use that to get out of a rut.<br><br>
I and shop at the same couple stores (no browsing - I'm in and out with my grocery list. I have an Excel spreadsheet that has all my "staples," that is the things I need to make my frequent main dishes. The spreadsheet is laid out in the order in which I walk through one store. The *other* grocery I use has a web site that does that for me (giantpa.com). It's awesome!<br><br>
Then I have a spreadsheet with column labels for: day of the week, weather (hot, cold, wet, snow), special events, dinner, lunch and "prep." Which tells me exactly what I need to do to make the next day easier (e.g. right now I'm going out to my kitchen to prep the crock pot soup I'm making for tomorrow, I'll put the liner in the fridge and in the AM I'll just toss the crock into the electronics and leave!).<br><br>
Not very innovative, maybe, but at least you know you're not alone in feeling very rigid sometimes!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lisac77</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10318407"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Then I took it 1 step further and realized that if I made DS's lunch in the evening (a 10 minute chore), and did my quick shopping trips in the morning before I come home from work, I could do dinner prep/kitchen clean-up in the MORNING before I went to bed, and then I could move my wake up time closer to 4:00 PM (which is good because the later I wake up, the less tired I am at work), AND our evenings would be way, way less stressful.</div>
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I did my shopping this morning before I got home and got a substantial amount of food in less than 10 minutes! It's amazing how quick I can be when I don't have a kid hanging off me!<br><br>
I really think this could make our lives easier. We got home about 20 minutes ago and we're both relaxing... and we'll both continue to relax because all the chores are done and we're hitting the pizza buffet (DS's request) tonight instead of having our planned meal.
 

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Organizing work clothes and my sons clothes were left until the morning. Now I do it the night before. Same thing if I prepare a lunch for work, all done the night before.<br><br>
If there is one thing I loathe, it's rushing in the morning. Because I've become more organized, we're now relatively relaxed about getting ready in the morning.<br><br>
Another BIG thing for me is ironing.. I must do my ironing on a weekly basis and everything is ironed. If I leave the ironing and do it on a day to day basis, it's a great deal of fuss and stress for me.<br><br>
I suppose really, each Sunday night I could organize ALL of the clothes for that week for each day. I hadn't considered this before.<br><br>
It used to be a case of Nana collecting my son from Nursery at 1pm everyday, however, my son has expressed that he wants me to collect him from Nursery when I finish work at 2.30pm on my early shift. Now that this minor change has occured, I need to organize myself the night before in regards to food preparation for dinner.<br><br>
Peace <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lisac77</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10347670"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I did my shopping this morning before I got home and got a substantial amount of food in less than 10 minutes! It's amazing how quick I can be when I don't have a kid hanging off me!</div>
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This is one area that was a great deal of fuss for me. I don't drive, so when we did our big grocery shop every fortnight, it would involve traveling there by bus and then using a taxi to bring all of the food home. And I loathed every single second of it.<br><br>
Now we do all of our grocery shopping via the internet. No traveling, no stress and it's all done within the space of 30-40 minutes of sitting in front of the computer <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
Peace
 

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I was just watching Rachel Ray's 30 min meals, and she was able to cook a shepherd's pie in 30 min, including prep and cooking. I try to get most of the stuff ready the night before. Eg. cleaning pump parts, filling my Klean Kanteen with water. Then in the morning I just make 2 sandwiches, pack the ice pack in the pump and grab my water. I get ready first, then start and load the car and wake up DD (if she isn't already awake), change her dipe and off we go. I need to start laying out my clothes in the evenings, but can be difficult since DD's crib in is my room.<br><br>
I tend to try to cook enough for 2 meals, either leftovers for the next night, or freeze, that has been a life saver.
 
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