how to get stuff done when you’re a mom with young kids

If you’re like me, you’re sick of reading productivity advice you can’t take. Like, sure, I’d love to lock myself in a room and focus for two hours… so you’re going to watch my kid(s)?

I’m gonna cut straight to the heart of it, because I know if you’re a momma you probably don’t have a lot of time! Here are a few of the best ways I know to get stuff done as a mother.

1) Let your kids play by themselves for a while. It’s good for them!

They get to explore and learn things independently; you get to get stuff done. I usually put my daughter in her room with the baby gate blocking the door, so I can visit and see in, for half an hour to an hour every morning, which is about what she can handle right now. It helps.

2) Wake up early

Yeah, I know. Truth time — I usually don’t manage it either. But trust me, it makes a HUGE difference if you can pull this one off. See my previous story, yesterday I woke up early by accident.

3) Have a plan for when you’re desperate

Mine is a kindle loaded with age-appropriate games that could probably occupy her for hours. Yeah, I know I’m ruining/spoiling my child with media. But she’s learning something, and she’s quiet and safe and occupied for a time. I usually try to limit this to around half an hour per day.

4) As soon as they’re old enough, let them help

This is particularly good when you’re cleaning. Even if they’re not accomplishing much, most kids LOVE to feel like they’re helping, and it will buy you some time. My 21-month-old likes to wipe pretty much everything, and she also knows how to put things in the trash and laundry bin.

5) Prioritize

This is a good tip for anyone, but it’s especially true when you’re a mom with limited time and often unpredictable days. If you have ten things on your to-do list, chances are you won’t get to most of them, and you’ll feel quite frustrated at the end of the day. Start with three, in order of importance. If possible, make note of how long they’ll take, plan for when you’ll do them, and plan for how you’ll handle the kid(s) while you do them.

6) Don’t count on nap time

Nap time is my second favorite time of the day (after bedtime!), but we all know it’s not a certainty. Instead of counting on nap time to get things done, set it aside as a time of rest, or for easier activities you don’t mind doing AND you could potentially still do if your child won’t sleep. That way no matter how things play out, there’s no guilt and no sweat.

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Anne Marie is a writer and entrepreneur. She lives with her husband and daughter in PA. You can find her at her online home,, or follow her on twitter @InspireEach_Day.