Life Hacks for Busy Moms: Controlling the Chaos


In the whirlwind of managing work, family, and personal well-being, busy moms constantly seek ways to strike a balance. Is that even possible? 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, some life hacks for busy moms can be game-changers for navigating chaos.

This blog post is dedicated to the modern superheroines—moms who tirelessly juggle multiple roles while rarely putting themselves first. I see myself in this group, and I am happy to be able to share the ways I have learned to manage this challenging lifestyle while letting go of the guilt that plagues me of not always being available.

back of woman who is sitting in front of a laptop working
Busy moms need life hacks to juggle it all.

I grew up in a world where we wanted to be more, be better, be successful, and be able to provide for ourselves. I strived for success and self-sufficiency since I started working at age 13. When motherhood became a part of my plan, I was determined to excel in both career and family life as a “super mom.” And because I grew up in a household marked by divorce and emotional trauma, I was determined to be there for my children, ensuring they always felt supported in a loving environment and knew that I was there for all of their needs no matter what. They always came first.

When the kids were small, I relentlessly forced myself to cook, play, nurture, read, and watch movies, all while striving to be the best at both work and at home. If I couldn’t do this, then I just felt guilty all the time like I was not a good mother.

My husband worked alternating shift work with limited ability to call out or change his schedule. Although he tried to help where he could, he was just not around as much as I was, and I was left carrying the heaviest loads of day-to-day parenting. If a kid got sick, I left work. If a doctor’s appointment was needed, I had to be there. If the school needed a volunteer, it was me. 

Navigating the demands of parenting without my husband’s physical presence was challenging. I constantly rushed to daycare for pick-up, to get kids on and off buses, to doctor’s appointments, or to volunteer at school, all while maintaining my competitive, high-stress career. I tried to be everywhere at once while also being everything at once. It was brutal.

I felt overwhelming stress and sacrificed my well-being time and time again for the sake of my family. But I figured every parent did that, right? 

It took a long time to realize that I needed to prioritize self-care to prevent a breakdown. I needed to let everyone in the house step up a bit more or take a back seat to my needs sometimes. I also needed to find life hacks for busy moms to ensure things got done and stayed on track so I wasn’t upset if my husband came home with the wrong groceries or forgot to get what I asked for when I was so busy.

No matter what stage of parenting you find yourself in, whether it’s managing daycare coverage, reviewing driver’s ed. test questions, coordinating school schedules, applying and preparing for extracurricular activities, or doing your actual paid employment, balancing everything can feel impossible.

I’ve spent soccer games with my laptop out, cheering and catching up on work. I’ve pulled long workdays to make up for time I took off to take care of kid’s appointments. I’ve struggled with guilt if work took me away from a school event or if I didn’t come home and cook a healthy dinner every day. 

When my kids were young I made them get up on their own for school, eat breakfast, pack lunch, and get on and off the bus due to my work. If I was running late they would call me to let me know when they arrived home. And while I loved that they were (and are) responsible, I felt guilty for not being there and not doing those things for them.

Things never seem to get easier. My oldest developed stress migraines that went undiagnosed for months, my husband had major health problems, and then my youngest began to struggle with mental health. It all fell on me, I was the strong one after all. But the weight of everything over the years almost broke me. I started having anxiety attacks and typical mom worries turned into constant worry and feeling helpless and lost. Eventually, I came to understand what I suspected all along truly – I had to make sure I was healthy and happy in order to support my family properly. 

It took a long time, but I’ve discovered invaluable lessons and favorite life hacks for busy moms that make a world of difference in my life. My mantra now is, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything” – which reminds me to prioritize and delegate where necessary.

Woman against the sunset with the phrase "You can do anything, but you can't do everything" on it.

Below are some tried-and-true life hacks for busy moms that have helped me navigate parenthood at every stage, especially when my husband was tied up with work, when kids have crazy schedules, or when I am traveling for my job. 

Give my ideas a try, and remember, it’s okay to let go of the guilt and prioritize your well-being because you can’t do it all. Learning this lesson took me too long, and created anxiety and upsetment I never knew I was allowed to have as a strong woman. Hopefully, some of these small supports can help you learn without the unnecessary stress I went through because every little bit helps!

Here are my favorite life hacks for busy moms:

1. Embrace Grocery Pickup

Initially, I was skeptical about grocery pickup services. I mean, how hard is it to just go to the store, right? But then I realized the time I spent roaming the aisles could be better utilized for self-care activities like hitting the gym or catching up with friends over coffee.

The beauty of grocery pickup is its seamless integration into my schedule. Almost every local grocery store offers online shopping and pickup, so I can easily schedule a time slot to coincide with my other activities. I finish my gym session and swing by the adjacent grocery store for pickup before I head home.

What’s more, I maintain a running online grocery list at home with my whole family and place an order in advance, ensuring I never forget essential items. I plan meals days ahead and can even place grocery orders when I travel. It’s as simple as adding items to my virtual cart whenever I realize I need something. And the best part? No more returning home with the wrong items, a common occurrence when my husband does the shopping.

My top tip for fellow picky shoppers: opt for “no substitutions.” I would rather not get something than receive something I do not like or something that costs twice as much as the item I requested. You can also set specific substitutes or decide what you are and are not okay with subbing. With grocery pickup, convenience and customization go hand in hand, making it a huge time saver for busy individuals.

2. Foster Responsibility in Your Kids

In our household, we have a simple rule: ‘You live here, so it’s your job too.” I firmly believe that it is not solely my responsibility to handle every task—from cleaning and cooking to scheduling and paying bills. While I’m here to offer support, I need assistance to keep things running smoothly.

I remember arguing with my mother-in-law when my kids were young about my unwillingness to pick up their toys. I’d prompt them to clean up before bed, only to hear her offer to do it instead. My response was always a firm “No, thank you!” It was crucial for our kids to understand that they were accountable for their messes and belongings.

From a young age, I involved them in age-appropriate household tasks like cooking, emptying the dishwasher, and even raking leaves (mostly for the joy of jumping in them). These activities instilled a sense of responsibility and ownership in them.

Chores have been a staple in our household, and they’re not tied to monetary rewards—they’re simply expected. Thanks to this approach, my kids now respond with a simple “okay” when asked to pitch in. Sure, reminders are sometimes necessary, especially now that they’re teenagers, but they understand the importance of contributing to the home we all share.

Letting them take on tasks not only lightens my load but also equips them with valuable life skills. Every little effort they make, regardless of how small, contributes to our shared burden of responsibilities and their personal growth.

3. Automatic deliveries and online subscriptions

One of my favorite strategies for staying stocked up without cluttering my space is setting up automatic deliveries for essential items—it not only saves me time but also often saves money.

  • Pet food – With a 5% discount and deliveries every six weeks, I bid farewell to the days of lugging heavy bags of pet food through the store to feed my clan of pets or running out and having to go to the store and back for an hour out of my day.
  • Snacks –  I’ve set up recurring online subscriptions for certain favorite kid snacks that I often can’t find locally, plus buying in bulk can save even more and keeps me stocked up. If we’re ever running low and the next delivery isn’t imminent, a quick online update ensures our snack stash remains fully stocked for lunches or on-the-go bites.
  • Meals – the meal subscription services are plentiful, often have discounts, and can make cooking, especially after a long day, so much easier.  Plus, once the kids were old enough, they would have to make dinner and it makes for an easy recipe with everything they need to get it done. Just keep an eye on costs and make sure to update your recipe selections or skip weeks when you do not like the menus.
  • Prescriptions – have also become a breeze with automatic refills and home delivery options offered by most drugstores. Recently, I discovered a sync service that consolidates all my prescriptions into one convenient delivery, sparing me the hassle of multiple trips to the pharmacy.
  • Wine – yes, even that gets delivered to my doorstep. While it’s not automatic, the convenience and savings make it well worth the effort. With fantastic deals often found through platforms like Groupon, I can indulge my inner wine snob without breaking the bank.
  • Delivery services – can be a godsend for busy schedules, but it’s essential to keep an eye on fees and hidden costs. I’ve learned the hard way that some grocery delivery services inflate prices based on purchase history, prompting me to opt for store pickup services instead. Going direct to the store for delivery is often a low-cost option when you really need that time saver or just can’t make it there yourself.

And for items not yet available for automatic delivery, online shopping remains a lifesaver. Whether it’s stocking up on household essentials like toilet paper and paper towels or indulging in my favorite hair products, the convenience of online ordering never fails, especially with the flexibility to shop during downtime, even during remote meetings. You can still shop local too, check out Myti.

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of embracing digital shopping is the money-saving potential. From digital coupons to exclusive discounts, the ability to snag deals with a simple click has revolutionized my approach to shopping. No more hunting for paper coupons or remembering to bring them along—just effortless savings with every purchase.

4. Batch Tasks and Pre-prep

Minimizing unnecessary effort can be a game-changer, especially when it feels like I’m constantly shuttling back and forth between places throughout the week. There’s always that sudden need for something that requires an immediate store run, or a forgotten school event or sports activity demanding an instant dinner solution. To alleviate stress and stay ahead of these surprises, I’ve learned the value of being prepared.

Whenever possible, I consolidate similar tasks to streamline my schedule. Whether it’s coordinating the kids’ checkups and dentist appointments on the same day or combining school drop-offs with quick errands like grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions, I aim to maximize efficiency. During the kids’ hour-and-a-half sports practices, I seize the opportunity to tackle other errands, make important calls, catch up on work, or enjoy a refreshing walk for some exercise.

Additionally, I prioritize weekend meal prep to simplify weeknight dinners. While I’m not fond of eating leftovers repeatedly, I’ve found creative ways to repurpose ingredients. For instance, I might enjoy tacos one night and transform the leftovers into quesadillas a couple of days later, or grill extra chicken to use in a salad or pasta dish the following day.

By finding inventive solutions to reduce my workload, I can whip up a homemade dinner in 15 minutes on those exhausting nights—a better option than spending 45 minutes and additional money on takeout that none of us truly enjoy.

Use Technology Wisely

Streamline your home tasks by leveraging technology, whether it’s setting up automatic bill payments or utilizing smart home devices to manage your environment, like lights, thermostats, and even your coffee maker.

As a cybersecurity and intelligence expert, I prioritize privacy and am cautious about devices that constantly listen. I recognize their usefulness, however, and use them to my advantage when I can. For those opting for voice-controlled devices, I advise reviewing and adjusting the settings to safeguard privacy and placing them strategically in areas of the house where less conversation occurs. I prefer using my phone for immediate needs and disabling all listening features.

I’m a strong advocate for automatic payments, deliveries, and reminders.

Smart plugs are another tech-savvy solution I highly recommend. They offer convenience by allowing you to automate various appliances, from lights to coffee makers, all managed through a single app. This simplifies your routines and provides peace of mind, especially for those prone to worrying if they’ve left appliances on when away from home.

Keep a Schedule

My calendar app is the first thing I check every morning—it’s my lifeline as a mom. There’s an unspoken expectation that I’ll have all the family’s schedules memorized and won’t miss a beat, even when I’m away from home. It’s like I’m the designated keeper of everyone’s plans! This is not my favorite role.

To stay on top of it all, I’ve developed a habit of using a calendar app and making it a point to review it with the family during our Sunday dinners. By setting this expectation, everyone is aware of upcoming events, appointments, and commitments. This approach eliminates the dreaded “What? Why do we have to do that?” questions and ensures smooth sailing throughout the week.

When my family knows what’s on the agenda, there’s less room for complaints and surprises. It’s a win-win situation: I’m less stressed, and everyone stays on track. This is truly an essential life hack for busy moms.

four women, backlit against the sunset.

Form Your Tribe

Seek out a supportive network of people who can assist with tasks and provide mutual aid. Initially, I felt uncomfortable asking for favors like driving my kids or picking them up from activities. However, I soon realized that establishing a system of mutual support benefits everyone involved.

Whenever I arranged carpools with other parents involved in sports, scouts, or school activities, it eased my burden and theirs. Interestingly, I often found myself initiating the arrangements, but everyone was always happy I did.

These same individuals became my go-to support system in times of need. Once my daughter disturbed a yellow jacket nest while my son was at baseball practice. Amidst the chaos of trying to protect her and worrying about a potential allergic reaction, we raced home and left my son at practice. With my husband at work, I didn’t know what to do, but having reliable friends to turn to was a lifesaver.

In essence, having a dependable support network is indispensable because you never know when unforeseen circumstances may arise.

Prioritize Self-Care

It’s crucial to carve out regular time for yourself, even if it’s just a few moments each day dedicated to activities like meditation, reading, or indulging in a hobby. Neglecting my own needs often made me resent my family and be more stressed that I was not doing something about it.

To ensure I made time for myself, I would wake up at 4:30 AM to hit the gym before the day’s responsibilities kicked in. While the early mornings weren’t always easy, knowing I’d be back home in time for our morning routine kept me motivated. Plus, the camaraderie of the amazing women I met at the gym made it something I looked forward to each day.

Additionally, I decided to invest in a monthly massage subscription. Pre-paying for the service eliminated the hassle of scheduling, and seeing it marked on my calendar for months in advance ensured I prioritized it over other commitments.

Taking a class was another self-care strategy I tried, although admittedly, it wasn’t always easy to prioritize between family and work obligations. Whether it’s a painting class or a one-day workshop, I make a concerted effort to find opportunities that align with my interests and schedule, ensuring I don’t neglect my personal growth and enjoyment

woman's legs in a bathtub.
Life hacks let you find the time to take care of yourself too.

Finally, talk about it!  It’s not really a life hack for busy moms, but it is an essential practice.

When I recently moved, I found myself spending more time in the year leading up to it trying to catch up with friends I knew I’d be leaving behind. During those gatherings, I discovered something eye-opening: we were all going through similar struggles – from anxiety and mental health challenges with our kids to the general exhaustion from work and neglecting our well-being.

What frustrated me most was realizing that none of us had shared our burdens with each other. It dawned on me that I had been conditioned to keep things bottled up, to believe that what happens at home should stay there. It was a wake-up call to recognize that while I was grappling with my issues alone, my closest friends were doing the same. Not only did I deny myself the support I needed, but I also failed to be there for those who mattered to me.

Since then, I’ve become more open to these conversations. I talk about the tough stuff now, and it’s been incredibly beneficial for everyone. Yes, sometimes it’s difficult, and not everyone knows how to listen at first, but they eventually get there, and you both need that support.

It’s perfectly okay to prioritize yourself, to take shortcuts, and to acknowledge that you can’t do it all alone. Everyone needs life hacks, especially busy moms. Just remember, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything,” and that’s okay.

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