When you finish up a long shift at the hospital or hectic day in the clinic, it’s time to relax—right? Well, not quite. Because if you’re like many working parents, you’re coming home to kids who need to eat dinner, do their homework and get to soccer practice. Or maybe you’ve got five errands to run before swinging by the babysitter’s house to pick up your little ones. Or your “big night” includes a trip to the grocery store after you get the kids to bed. Fun.
Daily life is full of responsibilities and aggravations, and it’s always a challenge to get to the good stuff. Here are some strategies to help you bring order to the home front and enjoy daily life a little more.
Create a master calendar
Shared calendars can make a huge difference in your family life. Check out the many calendar apps out there and give one a try. At a minimum, your family calendar should include your nursing shifts, family vacations, school activities and breaks, doctor appointments and family events. Invite your partner and older children to add their own activities as well. It could mean less “you didn’t tell me about your grandma’s birthday party!” and more “I’ll be there!”
Streamline your grocery shopping experience
Grocery stores have entered the digital age in an effort to making shopping easier. Some of the bigger chains offer apps that let you:
Build an online shopping list and use it to shop in the store
Quickly find items in-store by aisle location
View weekly ads and download digital coupons
Find recipes and add ingredients to your shopping list
Refill pharmacy prescriptions
You can even place your grocery order online and pick it up curbside or have it delivered to your home for a nominal fee. So worth it.
Put the kids to work
In a long-running Harvard Grant Study, researchers identified two things that people need in order to be happy and successful: love and a work ethic. They also found that the best way to develop a work ethic in young people comes from having done chores as a kid. Chores help children learn responsibility and make contributions to family life—values they’ll carry with them into adulthood. Some parents use a chore app or a chore chart to keep tasks straight.
Some tie chores to the child’s allowance, and others don’t. Find a system that works for your family, and get those kids to work!
Above all, remember: Your family is unique. It takes time to figure out which time-saving strategies and life hacks will work for you. But with some creativity and teamwork, you’ll get there!