Balance. Is it a tangible goal when you’re a busy mom?
As I watch our four kids getting older, time is disappearing. For a long time, I would be able to run errands on the fly, let daily routines slide and to-do lists did not dictate my life, without any real consequence.
But as our twins have moved out of the baby phase, my work is becoming busier and our older kids’ social and recreational lives are constantly peppering our calendar. I am having to find some real solutions to this feeling that I am falling into a black hole of time each day.
About a month ago, I was sitting in our backyard, coming up for air after a head-spinning busy and frustrating week. It was one of those weeks where I felt like my wheels kept spinning, messes kept piling, meals weren’t getting made and to-do lists were left unchecked.
As I sat there on a Friday afternoon, watching our kids run around, playing in the afternoon sun, letting out gleeful screams, while getting delightfully dirty, that thought that tends to consume a mom-of-four crept into my head: we need groceries.
But wait—hadn’t I already grocery shopped three times that week? As I reflected on our previous week, I realized that I was quickly popping into the grocery store (without a list in hand), almost daily, between meetings and deadlines, while our kids were in childcare, grabbing a few random items each time.
Then it hit me: grocery shopping was my wormhole of time.
Despite my best, previous efforts trying to be that ultra-organized, meal-planning, weekend-grocery-shopping mama, I knew that I was not that mom. I have since made peace with myself, but I had slid so far the other way that I was stepping into chaotic, hot-mess mom territory.
Was there such a thing as finding a sweet spot in between? Maybe a hot-organized mom?
Haha, OK maybe not that title. But possibly the busy, life hack mom? Yes! That sounds like me. I regularly use parenting hacks for laundry, catch-all counter mess and craft cupboard organization. Why couldn’t I find a life hack for grocery shopping?
I had heard about pre-ordering and car-pick up grocery shopping from a few mommy friends of mine and decided it was time to give it a whirl.
So right there, in the comfort of our backyard, I grocery shopped. As my kids jumped in the sprinkler and ate popsicles, I mastered the LOBLAWS CLICK & COLLECT online grocery service and got the job done.
As I worked through the online departments and searched for specific grocery items that our family loves, I realized that I was able to recall every food and home item we would need for the next week.
While I grocery shopped from my phone, I realized that I was able to save my work as a list. I named it Big Grocery Shop, and to this day I use it again and again as a baseline. I also added notes like, how green I want my bananas so that I could get exactly what I wanted.
As I was finishing up, my husband Mike arrived home from work. He gave me a knowing look, we needed groceries and he wanted to know who was going and which kids to take. When I told him I was grocery shopping, right there in our backyard, his jaw dropped and he quickly embraced our new life hack.
The next day, I packed up our car with all of our kids and headed to Loblaws for our online grocery pick up (we chose the following day but it can be as far out as two weeks, or four hours from when my order is placed).
I simply called the number on the sign at the designated parking space and poof, a Loblaws employee showed up at our car with our groceries.
I paid using their portable debit machine right next to my car as the Loblaws employee loaded the groceries into my trunk for me. The service was impeccable and so speedy. The convenience and speed of the Click & Collect service has helped establish a grocery shopping routine our family we so desperately needed.
Before I knew it I was on my way home, stress-free and ready for the week ahead.
So, in my opinion, some form of balance is tangible as a busy mom. But I have learned that “balance” is different for every mom, and it is OK to use shortcuts and life hacks to get there.
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Disclosure: This content was created in partnership with Loblaws and Today’s Parent. While compensation was provided, all opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the opinions of Loblaws or Today’s Parent.