Ask the moms: Time-saving tips

By Published On: May 1st, 2012

Meet our mom panel: Lacey Major is the mom of […]

Meet our mom panel:
LaceyLacey Major is the mom of two awesome kids, Riley (age 13) and Brice (age 7). She is the editor-in-chief of Pregnancy & Newborn. Checkout the Editor’s Letter in our magazine each month for more good-to-know widsom from Lacey.


Rachel Reiff Ellis is Associate Editor at P&N. She is mom to Noah, 7; Rosie, 3—and a brand new baby boy named Max! Want to know more about Rachel? You can follow her pregnancy journey on our Knocked Up blog.


Associate Editor Tracy Brown is mom to 4-month-old, Braxton. When she’s not busy perfecting her diaper changing routine, she loves to volunteer, dance, eat good food and watch college football. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, son and dog, CiCi.

AlysonAlyson West is an Associate Editor at P&N. She and her husband are delighted with their daughter, Alexandra, who is 3-months-old. When she’s not focused on moms and newborns, Alyson is a forensic actor for the federal government.

GinnyAs a stay-at-home mother of two, Ginny Butler spends her days playing peek-a-boo, buckling and unbuckling, and explaining why stink bugs don’t make good pets. In her quiet hours, Ginny writes for P&N as contributing editor from a distance—she currently resides in Salt Lake City with her husband Shawn and children, Charlotte (5) and Finn (1).

One of the hardest parts about being a mom is finding the time to stay organized. We asked our mom panel to share some of their best time-saving tips.
Lacey:Plan ahead! Before I go to bed each night I pack lunches, lay out clothes (including my own!), find lost shoes, and mentally plan for the following day. I even go so far as to note what time we’ll need to leave for each activity to make it on time—preferably with a few minutes to spare—and gather all the supplies we’ll need, like soccer balls or my son’s Scout uniform, in one place so they’re easy to grab. My kids and husband make fun of my advance planning quite a bit (and even I make fun of myself at times), but they also appreciate that I keep everyone on track and make sure we arrive for all our various activities and commitments on time and with everything we need.
Rachel:I used to roll my eyes when people would harp on about preparing for the morning routine the night before, but that is literally what makes or breaks a day at my house. If I select my outfit for the next day before going to bed, that saves me a huge chunk of time, and if I can get my kids to do it, too, we’re totally money. We also keep all our shoes in a basket by the door and I hang my keys on a hook right inside the entrance so I never have to search for them when it’s time to go. As for a time-saving tip for babyhood—multitask while you nurse! I’m really excited about having an iPhone this go around, because I’ll be able to communicate with people one-handedly without trying to balance a laptop near my person. (Obviously, I’m also an advocate of doing some focused one-on-one bonding time while you nurse, too, but it’s nice to have the option to send an email if you need to while you’re pinned to the couch!)
Tracy:My tips for cleaning: A wise friend once told me to clean the sink while brushing your teeth. Before I was a mom, I couldn’t comprehend why that would ever be an issue. Fast forward to now, and I regularly scrub the sink, toothbrush in opposite hand and wipe down the shower before stepping out. Do what you can, when you can. Also try to get the laundry down to one load and put it in as soon as you get home each day. Then you never get backed up!
My tips for traveling with a baby: You know those little hooks on the side of the car seat, the ones you use to hold your car’s seatbelt? It took me forever to figure out that they actually serve another, equally as helpful, purpose. Loop baby’s straps through the holes and you will have a nice, open area to place baby in the seat. There will be no more searching behind your infant for the straps. Minutes saved! Also, just go ahead and buy the baby mirrors for the backseat. It will save time (and your sanity) from pulling over to check if your noodle dropped his pacifier.
My tips for work & daycare: Make your family’s lunches, the baby’s bottles and restock your diaper bag the night before. It’s hard and I never feel like doing it, but trust me, it will make the morning go much smoother. (Tip: Do it as soon as you get home, before you sit down and lose steam!)
Alyson:While I was pregnant, we prepared and froze food specifically for the postpartum weeks. Best idea we had! Burritos, lasagne, soups, chili—it was all delicious, healthy and (most importantly) already in the house. When we shop, we stock up on things we use most that we hate to run out of like toilet paper, peanut butter (seriously!), dish soap, etc. Sometimes, I nurse while doing other things (eating, short phone calls, watching the news, reading) to save a few minutes. My nursing pillow helps tremendously and we use the baby carrier in the house when we’re walking around doing laundry and random chores. Plus, my favorite time-saver: a husband who is a pro cloth diaperer, sock and onesie wrangler, baby soother, mommy-cocktail-maker and friend to laugh with. I can’t imagine doing this without him.
Ginny:Tip 1: I keep healthy snacks in my bag wherever I go. Since my kids seem to funnel their food nearly faster than I can dish it out, I’d rather toss them some dried fruit than pull over to find a fast food joint every 10 minutes.
Tip 2: Although I’m 90 percent technologically illiterate, I depend on my smartphone more than I ever thought I would. The ability to send emails, check Facebook, find directions, or pull up coupons while I’m out doing “mom stuff” means not having to spend my time glued to the computer. Tip 3: I’ve cut back to washing my hair every other day … OK, I lied, every third day. (Utah’s the second driest state in the Union, all right?!) While this may seem slightly unhygienic, it’s both time-saving and disaster-averting. Some of our wildest fiascos (i.e., the horrific hair-cutting of 2011 and a recent episode beginning with a coloring book and ending with a Jackson Pollock rendition overtaking Finn’s face) took place while I was either washing or blow-drying my hair. Shower caps and dry shampoo are a mom’s best friends.
Join us each week in the month of May, as we ask our P&N mom panel to dish out their best advice on a variety of topics that matter to you.