Life as a mother runner is BUSY. If there is anything we have in common, it’s that we are time-poor. This means we must be clever in how we use our time to get things done. This is why I wanted to share 15 mom hacks to save time (and run more!)
These mom hacks come from mother runners around the globe, including myself, and save hours in the day so you have more time to run, be with your kids, and possibly just…be…
Honestly, when I think about all we do in a day, I get exhausted just at the thought.
Moms are like sharks—constantly moving. We’re constantly working, running, cooking, cleaning, fixing boos boos, settling disagreements, and playing monster trucks…These time-saving hacks can help you put more time back into your day to maybe even do something for yourself!
These mom hacks are clever and help maximize the time you have.
But first, let’s answer some questions about mom hacks:
What is a mom hack?
A mom hack is something that makes your life easier and saves time. Some of them require you to let go of perfectionist standards and be okay with just getting stuff done. Many of these mom hacks have you work ahead to save time later.
A few of these time-saving hacks help you be prepared for opportunities that pop up for you to be productive. All of them put time back into your day!
How do you stop wasting time?
Many of us waste time without even knowing it. The three main ways for people to stop wasting time are:
Put down your phone.
Don’t try to complete a task while checking emails. Or distract yourself from playing with your kids while scrolling on Instagram or Facebook. This will make the task take longer or completely erase the quality in the time you’re spending with your kid.
Also, don’t scroll before bed. It is a major time suck and getting more sleep will serve you better in all that you do including your recovery from running and mood with your family.
You would think you’re maximizing your time when you do more than one thing at once. But you’re not. Instead, you’re getting distracted and slowing the process.
Studies show that people who multitask are about 40 percent less productive. When you’re working on a task, be all in. Don’t fold some laundry, then take a break to clean up the fort in the living room, then start packing lunches.
Do one thing. Complete it. Then move on to the next. This will also help with your stress level. When faced with a mountain of work, it’s always easier to focus on what’s right in front of you, than look at what’s looming ahead.
Establish a routine.
You already know that routines are good for your kids. But they are also good for you, too!
Have a routine in which you get things done. This will help you carve out time to complete it, help you not forget to do it, and signal to your family that this is the time that mom does the laundry, packs lunches, etc. (Hey! Maybe they will even lend a hand!).
Schedule your runs while you are at it so that your family knows that mom runs in the morning while dad gets everyone ready for school. Or mom runs in the evening while dad gets dinner out of the oven.
Communicate your plans for you and the family, and make sure everyone knows what to expect!
15 Mom Hacks to Save Time & Run More (That You Wish You’ve Known!)
I talked with fellow mother runners and round-up 15 life hacks that save time so you can run more, relax, or spend engaged quality time with your family! Do more by doing less, mother runners!
Wake up before everyone else.
This is the first rule of the mother runners’ club. If you want to get anything done, you must wake up early and do it before your time and energy are in demand.
Of course, if you’ve been up all night with your child, sleep as long as you can and rearrange priorities. But, if you want to be productive, rise and run. Or, rise and work. Or even just rise and relax.
Related: How to be a morning runner
Prep everything the night before.
If you’re waking up early to run, make sure you lay out your clothes before. Prep the coffee. Make breakfast easy and accessible. This way you don’t waste time looking for things in the dark or risk waking up your family.
This rule also goes for the morning routine with your kids. Make sure lunches and bags are packed, and clothes are laid out to streamline the morning.
Make all your kids’ lunches for the week in one batch if you can. Or do it every other day. If this isn’t possible due to refrigerator space or freshness considerations, make your kids lunches when you are making dinner.
Plan your meals for the week ahead of time. Divide the week into categories such as casserole, slow cooker, Italian, and taco, night. You can also use apps like Mealtime and Tasty which generate grocery lists for the recipes you select.
Buy items in bulk and cook in bulk. One mother runner does all her cooking for the week on Sundays. Others cook foods in larger quantities they can use for different meals throughout the week like chicken, salmon, pasta, and quinoa.
Enlist your kids’ help.
Depending on your kids’ ages, they can help (and possibly earn some allowance or treasure box trips). Have them sort the laundry, make their beds, layout their own clothes, or pack their own school snacks.
Outsource tiny and simple tasks that add up in time. One mother runner has a chore chart with corresponding allowances so the kids can pick and choose what they want to do and earn.
Related: 7 Self-care tips for busy moms
Get a Roomba.
If you buy anything to help you save time, buy an iRobot Roomba vacuum. It saves me hours a week of work. It may not do as good of a job vacuuming as I do but it does an amazing job maintaining the floors.
Mine get so dirty with two big dogs and two little kids coming in and out. I start mine any time we leave the house!
Use dry shampoo.
Don’t waste time washing and drying your hair every day after a run. Save time by using dry shampoo! I like Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo. It smells good and then I pull my hair into a ponytail for the day.
Shower less frequently.
Forgo showering if you can and must. If you are really short on time and just running errands and picking the kids up from school, then skipping the shower puts 20 or more minutes back in your time bank.
Get a treadmill.
Invest in a treadmill, or even get a small fold-up treadmill, to sneak in miles when the kids are home or asleep (and your partner is gone). Treadmills are an amazing resource for mother runners to be able to run without the need for childcare. They also come in handy during inclement weather!
Put weights in a convenient place.
Put your weights, foam roller, exercise bands, etc. in a convenient place so you can sneak in some strength training or rehab when you have a few minutes.
I have my weights and a pull-up bar in the playroom so that if my kids are playing or painting, I can be with them while I work out. Another mother runner has dumbbells under the counter in her kitchen so she can lift while she cooks!
Make sheet pan dinners and slow cooker meals.
Speaking of cooking, opt for easy meals to prep like sheet pan dinners, meals that can all go in the oven at one temperature (like fish, veggies, and fries), and slow cooker meals.
These come in handy especially if you run before supper time. It can be all ready by the time you get home!
Related: 9 Healthy Habits of Mother Runners
Get the groceries delivered.
Instacart or any grocery delivery service is a MUST. According to my app, I have saved hundreds of hours on Instacart. Yes, it does cost more but time is money, honey!
Every Saturday morning, I have the week’s groceries delivered to our door. Then after my run, we carry it all inside and put it all away.
Avoid the snowball effect.
Don’t procrastinate the menial tasks like laundry and the dishwasher. Do them regularly to avoid the snowball effect.
This will also lower your stress level, so you don’t worry about how much work you have waiting for you.
Outsource the deep clean.
If you can afford a cleaning service, do it! If you can’t, try to schedule them to come seasonally to do the deep clean. It will save time and help you relax so much more knowing that someone will handle dusting all the shelves and wiping the baseboards.
Related: 5 Ways to a Healthy Kitchen
Use screen time strategically.
Allow the kids to watch their show or tablets when you need to focus on completing a task like putting away all the groceries (if you can’t get them to help!). If you can minimize interruptions so you can more quickly finish a task and get back to them, do it!
It’s important to note that if you have any moment to just sit, enjoy stillness, and quiet, please do that. It is good for your mind, body, and soul.
Life as a mother runner can be so busy and frenetic. Enjoy stillness whenever you can. (I love the Calm app, by the way). Even if this doesn’t feel productive or like a time-saving hack—it can be a life-saving hack instead.
If you need more help figuring out how to fit in your training into your busy life, please check out my run coaching services.