Ok, I’m not going to lie…I’ve been daydreaming of someone getting Dilan dressed in the morning while I eat a sea salt sprinkled pain au chocolat and get 10 minutes to myself. You guys know how it goes. The third trimester is just tough. You’re running at the same speed as everyone else while you’re growing an entire human being. Sounds simple, but it’s actually pretty amazing…and exhausting. On top of that, I’ve been running behind a (sometimes tantrummy) 2 year old, packing for our move in April, trying to keep things awesome at work, and getting everything ready at home for a newborn. It’s hard not to drop the ball somewhere, but instead of beating myself up about it, I know better these days. I’ve got 7 tips for how to beat the busy…whether you’re moderately busy like me, crazy busy like I hope I’ll never be, or just trying to get your everyday tasks done.

1. Plan your meals ahead. We usually plan dinners for at least the 5 work days of the week, but many times for the weekends as well. This does not mean that you have to cook religiously every day. We do “take-out Tuesdays” and pick a healthy take-out option. It breaks up the week and gives me a break as well. The hubs wants to do “Wine Wednesdays” after I give birth. See why I married him? Sounds awesome, though this mommy really wants to nurse for a while first. We’ll get there eventually. The point is that you won’t feel as stressed when you’ve planned ahead. No one wants to be HANGRY.

2. Grocery shop once a week. Having the time to shop multiple times a week sounds amazing, but we really just don’t. I do one large trip for the entire week. This obviously requires that you’ve taken care of step 1 above. Want to know something else that’s awesome? If you’ve got a Harris Teeter around, you can shop online for a small fee and they’ll bring the groceries to your car. It is by far the best thing ever and I wish every store would do this. I can see this becoming super useful with multiple kids in car seats (and diapers).

3. Simplify breakfast. As I’ve mentioned before, we make healthy¬†smoothies almost every single morning. It’s by far the easiest breakfast you can make because you’re simply throwing ingredients into a blender and that’s about it. You can drink your smoothie on your way to work (or play) and if you get your hands on a good blender, it’s super easy to clean up too. Frozen fruits are life savers, especially during winter. ¬†Added bonus: most toddlers dig fruits and you can sneak in veggies too! Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

4. Purge one area per week. After living in the same house for 8 years, I’ve learned one thing: crap piles up. It just does, unless you are really diligent about purging cabinets and dressers. I’ve also learned that it can take ages to get through those plastic cups that used to sit in your dorm room and the useless kitchen gadgets your mother-in-law thinks you have the time to use. The best way to get through it all is to select just one room or cabinet a week and focus on that only. I wish I had done more of this over the years. It sure would have made moving a lot easier.

5. Use a great planning tool. We love Trello. We actually did drop the ball and stopped logging freezer meals a few months ago, but we picked it right back up last weekend. We also log things like furniture findings and purchases, car maintenance, and new home to-dos. It’s great to get that stuff out of your head. Let me know if you need any Trello tips once you try it out.

6. Get house cleaning help. This one is sooo controversial. I had a tough time with it for a while because I CAN DO IT MYSELF, DARN IT! I soon came to realize that getting our house cleaned from top to bottom is one of the best investments we can make. It would take me at least 6 – 8 hours to properly clean on a weekend, but now, I get to spend time with my 2 year old and husband instead. Uh-mazing. Seriously worth considering, especially if you’ve got a household with two full-time working parents. We still clean plenty in between. Don’t believe me? This is roughly what we’re cleaning up on a daily basis and it’s plenty for me:

mess

giant_mess

7. Nap while you can. Nap time is time-out for adults. It gives you a chance to re-set, maybe think about what you’ve been doing with your life, or maybe just pass out in less than 10 minutes while you drool on your pillow. I think that once you become a parent, you get to appreciate naps much more than you did before. I don’t feel bad about napping on some weekends over the last few months. I know these are some of the last few weeks that I’ll be able to since we have just one child right now. I’m a better mom when I wake up because I had a chance to calm and slow down and sometimes even snuggle up with the 2 year old. And what could be more amazing than that?