As a working mom, I find it very helpful to take some time on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead. It is a way to help you organize a few things on your days off so you can hit the ground running on Monday morning in full force!
Imagine starting your work week relaxed and prepared for the week ahead. This used to be my wish a few years ago but I have learned how to make it a reality over the past couple of years.
Here are six things I have on my weekend to-do list to help me have a productive week.
The first part of my weekend prep is planning my meals for the upcoming week and doing my grocery shopping. Knowing what my family will be eating during the weekend and having all the necessary groceries on hand makes my days so much less stressful!
RELATED: Meal Planning Hacks for Working Moms
To go along with the meal planning, I like to use my weekend to do food prep ahead of time.
I like to make sure that I have some breakfast options prepared. I will either make some pancakes or waffles for our Sunday breakfast and store the remaining butter in the fridge to use on Monday and Tuesday. And for the reminder of the week, the kids will have either peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches or yogurt. For myself, I like to make myself some mini egg Quiche with sautéed peppers or eggs with spinach and onion.
I use a lot of the breakfast recipes from 100 Days of Real Food; How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love cookbook. All the recipes use real food ingredients and are easy to make. My favorite one is the Banana Pancakes. Both of my picky eaters love those.
You can also try out some of Lisa’s recipes at her website. Or check out her two other cookbooks: 100 Days of Real Food Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food and 100 Days of Real Food: On a Budget; Simple Tips and TAsty Recipes to Help You Cut Out Processed Food Without Breaking the Bank.
Another option that I really love is veggie cakes – you can find them at Costco (fridge section, 12 per pack) and Target (freezer section, 6 per box). Or a veggie burger that I eat by itself. These are great options to have on hand when you don’t have enough time on the weekend to cook food for breakfast. I just pop them in the microwave in the morning and my healthy breakfast is ready in a couple of minutes. Having the breakfast prepared for the week is essential to me in order to have productive mornings during the week.
Lunch and Snacks
I will either prep some salad options for a few days, quinoa and veggies, or make sure I have veggies and humus on hand. Great veggie options are mini peppers, baby carrots, or mini cucumbers. I also like to have a yogurt, granola or nuts, and fruit (like berries or pomegranate) on hand for a quick snack.
I also make sure that my snack jars are re-filled and ready for the week ahead. This helps me out a lot during lunch prep for kids during the week or when they ask for snacks during the hectic evenings.
This is the area where I need some improvement! I don’t usually do too much as far as dinner preparation goes. Sometimes I like to cut-up veggies that we will be eating with our dinners. But what I really want to try out this year is freezer meals. That seems to be such a great idea and a time saver. I will report back on how that went! In a mean time, let me know in the comments if you have any favorite freezer meals.
Cleaning and Laundry
Another thing I include in my preparation for the week ahead is cleaning and laundry. I do most of my cleaning on Saturday morning. This is just works best for our schedules right now. The week nights are too busy and I prefer to keep my Sundays chore-free as much as possible.
If possible, try to involve other family members in the weekend house cleaning. My kids, who are 6 and 3, help with dusting and mopping of the floor. They are at the age when they ask to help and fight over the mop:) So while they don’t do an excellent job, I absolutely let them help out.
But my real help comes from my husband. We have a two level house, so I’m responsible for downstairs (kitchen, living room, dining room, my office, bathroom, and playroom), and he is responsible for the upstairs (all bedrooms and master bathroom). My husband also takes care of any work that needs to be done outside.
I also like to do my laundry on Saturdays. I probably do about 3 load of laundry (plus my husband does another load or two of his own laundry – he prefers to do his laundry himself, so I don’t object :))
Doing the cleaning and laundry on Saturday allows me to relax on Sundays and start the week with a clean house and only one load of laundry on Monday. Because, let’s face it. When you are a mom, the laundry basket is only empty for a few minutes 😉
In order to prepare for the week ahead you also need to spend some time with your planner. What is important to remember is that you need to plan ahead for both work and home.
Weekend work planning should be done on Friday afternoon, before you end your work day. I look at the upcoming week to see what meetings and deadlines I have coming up. I then create a plan for the tasks/actions that I need to take in order to prepare. And I put them in my planner. This allows me to end my work week on a positive note, as I already have a plan for what I will be doing the following week. I also found this to be an excellent way for me to ‘unplug from work’ over the weekend.
At our household this usually happens on Sundays. I check for things like any upcoming school activities or projects, afterschool activities, and birthdays. I also check with my husband to see if there are any days of the week where he has to work late. Knowing what’s coming up eliminates a lot of stress during the week.
Quality Family Time
Spending time together as a family is a must! We make sure to plan something fun for the kids. This ranges from going to a museum, park, new playground or swimming pool in the summer. This can also be spending time with our extended family, which includes cousins that are their age. And sometimes we have lazy Sundays when we just stay in the house (or in the backyard) and not go out anywhere. But the idea is to be together and make memories. Because this is what life is all about.
Last, but definitely not least, in order to prepare for th weeke ahead you must make time for self-care. Maybe you like to have your nails done or get a massage. Or maybe you like to go to relax with a cup of coffee or tea and read a good book.
RELATED: 7 Simple Ways to Self-Care
My personal favorite is taking a bubble bath while reading a mystery book. Sometimes I also include a glass of wine. This is the best way for me to relax and re-charge my batteries for the week ahead.