Who is a Last-Minute Mom?
A mother who, by no desire of her own, never fails in needing to rush around at the last minute to get everyone out the door on time.
Maybe this sounds familiar …
You and the family need to head out the door in a bit. Play-date, church, doctor appointment, you name it, everyone has to go. Do you ever tell yourself, “I’ve got plenty of time, so let me squeeze this, that, and another thing in because it NEEDS to get done before we leave and then OH MY WORD where did the time go?! We’re going to be late!”
Then you my friend, are a last-minute mom, just like me.
I try, I really do, I try to be organized with all the activities and to-do’s that we have to do in a day. As the saying goes, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach,” my aspirations for the day are my “eyes,” and they can be bigger than my “stomach,” which is my concept of time vs. reality.
I’ve come up with a few tips that have saved my toosh when I want to avoid the last-minute rush-around. These tips and organizational strategies have helped me with things that I usually struggle with on any given day so that I’m not always living like a last-minute mom.
8 Simple Tips to Help the Last-Minute Mom
Your children will benefit from responsibility and so will you! Delegating age-appropriate chores has been a lifesaver. It is easy to drown in all of the laundry and dishes and cleaning that comes with having a big family. Let your kids be your lifesaver!
Kids grow up and it is our responsibility to teach them responsibility.
Take some of the chores off of your plate and pass them along for the kiddos to accomplish. You won’t be rushing to switch the laundry or load the dishwasher if your kids are tasked with getting it done in a specific timeframe. They may not do the best job at every chore, but it is best for your kids to learn how to do chores and handle responsibility while you accomplish other necessities before needing to leave the house.
2. Set a timer.
Setting a timer on our Alexa, my phone, or even the microwave has helped me gauge the time I have left before we need to be getting shoes on and heading out the door.
Organizing my time, quick example…
If we need to be on the road in 45 minutes, I set a 20-minute timer to wrap up any last-minute chores. I use the next 5 minutes to change and find my purse. The last 10-15 minutes are for changing a diaper, making sure all the kiddos use the potty, shoes are on, and buckling into the van and on the road.
BOOM! We are out the door and on schedule!
*Bonus Thought* As we’ve added members to this family, it has increased the amount of time it takes to get everybody ready in the morning. If it takes 1 hour to get myself ready, I add 20 minutes for each additional person that needs to get ready and out the door. It is a general rule I use so that I plan my morning alarm accordingly.
3. Restock the baby bag and purse after using them.
It’s super aggravating to grab the baby bag only to realize I need to refill it! Make a mental note, refill the baby bag after you use it. NOT before you need to leave. It’ll be one more thing you can count on to be good-to-go when everything else is trying to make you late again.
4. Everything has a place and (almost) everything in its place.
Having things you use in a reliable place helps when you have mom-brain and can’t remember where you put your phone even when it’s in your hand. I’m a mom of 5, in my thirties, and I STILL have to work at this one. Every day I have to physically remind myself to put things away and not leave it in the first place I can put it down. I won’t lie, sometimes I am noticeably irritated because I have to put the sunscreen ALL THE WAY BACK in the bathroom cupboard instead of leaving it on the kitchen counter. But you know what? Future me appreciates the effort! (and so does my husband!).
So choose a spot (or a few spots) for some essential things, and ALWAYS leave them there. Several examples of what I currently do…
- Keys. The keys belong in the entryway basket. If not, they are either on the counter, on the desk, or in my purse. I know four places are too many places to leave my keys, but I’m working on narrowing it down to just the entryway basket.
- Sunglasses. They always go on the entryway table or my dresser. Anywhere else and I’ll forget where I left them.
- Wallet. This stays in the diaper bag—or purse if you are happily out of the diaper stage!
- Baby wipes. I’m starting to believe the wipes container walks away on its own! Just kidding, I drag it around the house to wherever it is needed. To stop misplacing wipes, we started to keep one container at the baby changer, one in each bathroom, and one in the diaper bag. If I find myself having to take a pack of wipes from place to place, I know it is time to pop-top on a new one and quit misplacing the only one I have open.
- Phone. I can find it on/near the charger or on my hip. If it’s anywhere else, it’s lost.
- Important papers. This one is tricky because important papers can be anything from medical bills to an upcoming event notice. I have a folder for bills to be paid, and right next to it I have important mail. School-related papers and invites get pinned to our corkboard, and paid bills go on a pile on Hubby’s desk because he is in charge of filing those things.
- Shoes. As silly as it sounds, it’s a big one! I can’t tell you how often I can’t find the pair I want, and I don’t even have a bunch! Seriously, I am low maintenance when it comes to the amount of footwear I own. Anywho, out of season footwear goes in the back of the bedroom closet. Commonly used footwear goes in the entryway. Church shoes stay at the front of the bedroom closet.
5. “Two on Hand” rule.
I wouldn’t consider myself a prepper, but this is how I stay prepared and avoid last-minute grocery store trips. We have a good amount of people in this house; little bottles can run out quickly! Laundry soap, dish soap, hair soap … a lot of soap products! Toilet paper, toothpaste, vitamins, foil, and cleaning supplies. Ketchup, oil, pickles, peanut butter, snackies, and all consumables. I have one in use and at least one extra. When I get down to my last bottle of ranch or favorite cleaner, I know it is time to put it on the shopping list. If I don’t run out of my staple groceries, then I won’t be frantically trying to figure out what I can find to use in its place!
6. Birthday cards.
Buy a couple of 10+ packs of birthday cards. Having generic but cute cards on hand gives you more freedom and less guilt. You can always buy a specific card for someone if you remember to do so. If you didn’t remember to buy a special card, or you’ve frequently been buying groceries online, then you’ll have a back-up plan!
I hate having to mark “to and from” on top of the wrapping paper. Having extra cards on hand prevents me from having to do just that! And let’s be real, getting a birthday card (even without a gift) is still so very special. Sending out cards to my loved ones to let them know I care is something I’ve always wanted to do, but I was too last-minute to ever get anything out on time, so I skipped it. Even though I know the card will eventually get thrown away, I still feel it shows more love & caring than a text message or Facebook shout out.
7. Have more than one calendar.
This may sound clutter-some, but hear me out. No matter where I am, I can look at one of my calendars & know what’s coming up. If I know ahead of time what’s going on in the week, I can be better prepared for it.
I have a hanging calendar in our shared space. It is only for birthdays & things that happen every year. At the end of the year, I transfer all the dates to next year’s calendar.
There is a much larger calendar in our workspace. I write in all of our scheduled appointments, kid’s practices, church serving times, and any other event that is a one time deal. With this calendar, I can tear off the month when it is over and not have to transfer important dates to next year’s calendar. Also, I made it by hand because sometimes I’m stubborn and don’t want to spend money on something I can do myself!
Do you ever feel that way? Ya you do.
Lastly, utilize your phone calendar. I have been an iPhone user for nearly 10 years. Joe has always been an Android man. This year, we finally made the SUPER SMART decision to get the same phones! We are syncing our calendars, organizing our phones similarly, and Joe can troubleshoot my phone when it confuses me. He also set it up so that each family member has a different color corresponding to their schedule. It has helped immensely!
Your phone calendar can operate as your only calendar. However, staring at my phone all day drives me nuts! I use it for cooking, news, communication and 900 other things. I hate having my nose in it. Utilizing the traditional write-in calendar is fun for me and helps me organize without staring at my phone. It also allows the kids to see what is coming up without nagging us about it. And come on, who doesn’t love a cute puppy calendar!
8. Cork board or magnetic board.
Three of our children are school age, and some days, the amount of paperwork that comes home could form a mountain! You could use your fridge to put papers on, but our toddler likes to pull papers off the fridge, so we’ll skip that for now.
The corkboard, or magnetic board if you prefer magnets over pins, is where I put all immediate school/church notices. Upcoming field trip? Write it on the calendar AND save the info paper on the corkboard. Valentine’s Day class list? Pin it to the corkboard. Bake Sale? Again, straight to the corkboard. I check it weekly because some things are sent home and will need to be addressed by the end of the week, and other events are weeks away. The corkboard helps me visualize and mentally organize. When an event passes, I can remove it and not think twice about it!
The Bottom Line
Intentionally organizing the little things has helped me not be “last-minute” all the time. Eventually, I will even get ahead of the game and arrive early! Until that day comes, I will play the long game and focus on fixing what I can, and using little tricks to help myself out!
Do you live like you’re always in a race with time? Have you conquered your race against the clock, or are you still stuck trying to do everything at the last minute? I’ve always loved the phrase, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Knowledge is power, and I’m sure I don’t know everything I could do to turn chaotic mom-life into a less-chaotic mom-life!