Cook in bulk. I like to make more food than we can eat for dinner so we have leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day. As we clean up, I can easily pack leftovers or parts of the leftovers mixed with something new in lunch containers. Some parents even prefer to cook everything on the weekend and then heat during the week. I love the idea, but I have never been that organized or felt I had the energy to do it all at once.
Make a lunch for yourself when making kids. If you are preparing a lunch for the kids, go ahead and prepare one for yourself too. That way you know you have something nutritious to eat the next day if you wake up to an ugly rheumatoid arthritis day.
Use your Crockpot. I LOVE the Crockpot. On our busiest days I throw in chicken, roast, or some other cut of meat with some veggies and dinner is ready. My dad taught me to put leftover roast back in the Crockpot with some taco seasoning and you have tacos for dinner the next day! If my morning will be busy, I prepare everything the evening before. Just don’t forget to turn the Crockpot on!
Don’t be afraid to buy precut veggies. I do believe you lose some nutrients by using precut veggies but in a pinch, you are still better off than not eating veggies at all. Cabbage is a vegetable we eat a lot of and I will often buy precut because it can be difficult to cut if my wrists are feeling out of sorts.
Have older kids help with dinner. I strongly believe in cutting out processed foods and have found that many fresh meals can be made as quickly as sticking a frozen meal in the oven. I often have my kids start dinner if they get home before me and they have a few meals they make from start to finish.
Clean the kitchen together. My daughter is gone 12 hours a day now that she has started high school and is involved in a sport. I don’t expect her to also clean the kitchen by herself during the week. However, I do ask her to help me so we can spend some time talking about the day or to sit at the kitchen table and do homework while I clean so we can still have time together and I can get to bed sooner.
Break housework into small chunks. Maybe today you vacuum and then nap. Tomorrow you clean bathrooms and then nap.
Use mother’s helpers for younger kids. As homeschoolers, my kids did a lot of work as mother’s helpers between the ages of 10-12. A mother’s helpers gets paid for coming into the house while mom or dad is there to play with the kids while you nap, to take the kids to the park while you clean, or to help fold laundry or other light household jobs. For some moms this even meant the mother’s helper gave mom down time with an infant while the toddlers were kept busy with another activity. You can also use neighbor kids on the weekends to help with a few odd jobs without having to pay a tremendous amount of money and they love it!