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14 ways—and 1 amazing company—that help you spend less time on your to-do list, mama 🙌

A recent study found that the average mom works about 98 hours per week. (Hey, we believe it!) But with a few simple tweaks, you can get back some extra time for yourself and your family every month.

Here are 14 ways to speed up chores, curb toddler meltdowns, and help you feel a bit breezier this week.

1. Color code toy baskets

Can you imagine a world where you kids picked up their own toys? (It's possible, promise!) Color-coding baskets makes it easier for little ones to quickly put everything back in its place. Example: blocks go in the blue basket and cars go in the green.

Time saved per month: Up to 3 hours

2. Let Gobble handle dinner prep tonight

Skip the grocery shopping and chopping altogether with deliciously prepped and portioned meal ingredients delivered right to your door by Gobble. Each meal comes together in three steps, meaning dinner is on the table in 15 minutes (and no chopping means you can cook even with a toddler on your hip).

Time saved: Up to 7 hours

Click here to get 50% off your first Gobble dinner kit for a limited time this summer.

3. Make it easier for them to get snacks

Protect kids with food allergies by keeping a magnetic sheet of color stickers on the fridge—gluten-free snacks get a purple sticker, peanut-free get a yellow sticker, etc. Plus, with everything clearly marked, they won't need your help to get a healthy snack.

Time saved per month: Up to 30 minutes

4. Pre-portion snacks ahead of time

Rather than scrambling to get the goldfish crackers in a plastic baggie every morning before the school bus arrives, take five minutes when you get home from the grocery store to separate out snack-sized portions you can grab and go during the morning rush.

Time saved: Up to 1 hour

5. Set up recurring online deliveries

Especially in the couple years of your child's life, there are a few items you can virtually guarantee you'll need every month. (Think: diapers, wipes, paper towels, etc.) Take advantage of subscription delivery services like Amazon to save yourself a monthly trip.

Time saved: Up to 2 hours

6. Cut back on the laundry time suck

Rather than washing every item of clothing after it's worn, put the not-really-dirty items back in the drawer for a second wearing. They're mostly clean anyway, and it can cut your laundry in half every week. (And we won't tell, promise!)

Time saved: Up to 2 hours

7. Create after school bags

Skip the after school scramble! Every Sunday night, put together separate bags for each school day complete with afternoon snacks and supplies for that day's activities, like piano lessons or soccer practice.

Time saved per week: Up to 3 hours

8. Create a "signature station"

Hang a clipboard near the front door where your kids can clip permission slips, report cards, and anything else that requires your signature. Every night post-bedtime, spend five minutes tackling the stack—and avoid a morning scramble to sign before the bus arrives.

Time saved per week: Up to 30 minutes

9. Prep meals the night before

Wash and chop fruit, set each place setting, and put out vitamins the night before so it's easier to get breakfast on the table in the morning. Try whipping up some oatmeal + yogurt parfaits in mason jars that each person can grab from the fridge, or bake a pan of egg soufflés in a muffin tin you can keep reheat in the morning.

Time saved per week: Up to 2 hours

10. Streamline dressing your toddler every day

"Dressing your toddler" and "speed" are rarely words used in the same sentence, but this hack can help. Store full outfits (socks and accessories included) in sandwich bags in the drawers. In the morning, simply grab, dress, and go!

Time saved per week: Up to 2 hours

11. Create a car emergency kit

How many times have you been this close to leaving the house when…a diaper blew up? You realized you forgot wipes? Your toddler spilled something on his shirt? Fill a plastic bin with extra clothes, diapers, wipes, first aid items, and bottles of water and keep it in the trunk for emergencies. Pro tip: Set a timer in your phone to update the clothing sizes in six months so you don't forget.

Time saved per week: Up to 3 hours

12. Become a minimalist

Rather than spending hours per week cleaning up toys and searching closets for clothes, spend a weekend paring down your belongings until it only takes a few minutes to find everything or put it in its place.

Time saved per week: Up to 3 hours

13. Designate time to catch up on email and social media

If you feel like you're wasting too much time online, block out 30 minutes every day to catch up on your feeds and respond to personal emails. Try right after your kids' bedtime—if you're like us, your brain usually needs a few minutes to unwind then anyway.

Time saved per week: Up to 4 hours

14. Prevent shopping meltdowns

There's nothing like a toddler tantrum to make a quick trip into Target take over an hour. The next time your little one throws a fit over a toy they want, offer to take a picture on your phone to "send to Santa or Grandma" so they have it in mind for the next gift they buy. (Bonus: You'll already have a running list for the next birthday or Christmas!)

Time saved per week: Up to 1 hour

Whether you win back 34 hours or only 3 this week—more time together is always something to celebrate. Nice work, mama!

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We've had some struggles, you and me. In my teens, we were just getting to know each other. It was a rocky road at times, like when people referred to you as "big boned." I was learning how to properly fuel you by giving you the right foods. How to be active, to keep you strong and in good shape. I wish I knew then what I do now about you and what a true blessing you are. But that's something that has come with the gift of motherhood.

In my 20's, we became more well-acquainted. I knew how to care for you. After I got engaged, we worked so hard together to get into "wedding shape." And, looking back now, I totally took that six pack—okay, four pack—for granted. (But I have the pictures to prove it.)

Now that I'm in my 30's (how did my 30's happen so fast, btw?) with two kids, I'm coming to terms with my new postpartum body.

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If there are two things a mama is guaranteed to love, it's Target plus adorable and functional baby products. Target's exclusive baby brand Cloud Island has been a favorite destination for cute and affordable baby clothing and décor for nearly two years and because of that success, they're now expanding into baby essentials. 🙌

The new collection features 30 affordable products starting at $0.99 and going up to $21.99 with most items priced under $10—that's about 30-40% less expensive than other products in the market. Mamas can now enjoy adding diapers, wipes, feeding products and toiletries to their cart alongside clothing and accessories from a brand they already know and love.


The best part? The Target team has ensured that the affordability factor doesn't cut down on durability by working with hundreds of parents to create and test the collection. The wipes are ultra-thick and made with 99% water and plant-based ingredients, while the toiletries are dermatologist-approved. With a Tri-Wrap fold, the diapers offer 12-hour leak protection and a snug fit so parents don't have to sacrifice safety or functionality.

So when can you start shopping? Starting on January 20, customers can shop the collection across all stores and online. We can't wait to see how this beloved brand expands in the future.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Many people experience the "winter blues," which are often worst in northern climates from November to March, when people have less access to sunlight, the outdoors and their communities. Another 4% develops Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of clinical depression that often requires formal treatment.

If you have the winter blues, you may feel “blah," sad, tired, anxious or be in a worse mood than usual. You may struggle with overeating, loss of libido, work or sleep issues. But fear not—it is possible to find your joy in the winter, mama.

Here are eight ways to feel better:

1. Take a walk

Research has shown that walking on your lunch break just three times per week can reduce tension, relax you and improve your enthusiasm. If you are working from 9 to 5, the only window you have to access natural sunlight may be your lunch hour, so head outside for a 20 minute brisk but energizing walk!

If you are home, bundle up with your kids midday—when the weather is often warmest—and play in the snow, go for a short walk, play soccer, race each other, or do something else to burn energy and keep you all warm. If you dress for the weather, you'll all feel refreshed after some fresh air.

2. Embrace light

Research suggests that a full-spectrum light box or lamp, which mimics sunlight, can significantly improve the symptoms of the winter blues and has a similar effect to an antidepressant. Bright light at a certain time every day activates a part of the brain that can help restore normal circadian rhythms. While light treatment may not be beneficial for everyone (such as people who have bipolar disorder), it may be a beneficial tool for some.

3. Plan a winter trip

It may be helpful to plan a getaway for January or February. Plan to take it very easy, as one research study found that passive vacation activities, including relaxing, "savoring," and sleeping had greater effects on health and well-being than other activities. Engaging in passive activities on vacation also makes it more likely that your health and well-being will remain improved for a longer duration after you go back to work.

Don't overschedule your trip. Relax at a beach, a pool, or a cabin instead of waiting in long roller coaster lines or visiting packed museums. Consider visiting or traveling with family to help with child care, build quiet time into your vacation routine, and build in a day of rest, recovery, and laundry catch-up when you return.

4. Give in to being cozy

Sometimes people mistake the natural slowness of winter as a problem within themselves. By making a concerted effort to savor the slowness, rest and retreat that complement winter, you can see your reduction in activity as a natural and needed phase.

Research suggests that naps help you release stress. Other research suggests that when your brain has time to rest, be idle, and daydream, you are better able to engage in "active, internally focused psychosocial mental processing," which is important for socioemotional health.

Make a "cozy basket" filled with your favorite DVDs, bubble bath or Epsom salts, lemon balm tea (which is great for “blues,") or chamomile tea (which is calming and comforting), citrus oils (which are good for boosting mood), a blanket or a favorite book or two. If you start to feel the blues, treat yourself.

If your child is napping or having quiet time in the early afternoon, rest for a full 30 minutes instead of racing around doing chores. If you're at work, keep a few mood-boosting items (like lavender spray, tea, lotion, or upbeat music) nearby and work them into your day. If you can't use them at work, claim the first 30 minutes after your kids are asleep to nurture yourself and re-energize before you tackle dishes, laundry, or other chores.

5. See your friends

Because of the complex demands of modern life, it can be hard to see or keep up with friends or family. The winter can make it even harder. While you interact with your kids throughout the day, human interaction with other adults (not just through social media!) can act as a protective layer to keep the winter blues at bay.

Plan a monthly dinner with friends, go on a monthly date night if you have a partner, go to a book club, get a drink after work with a coworker, visit a friend on Sunday nights, or plan get-togethers with extended family. Research suggests that social interactions are significantly related to well-being.

Realize that given most families' packed schedules, you may need to consistently take the lead in bringing people together. Your friends will probably thank you, too.

6. Get (at least) 10 minutes of fresh air

A number of research studies have shown positive effects of nature on well-being, including mental restoration, immune health, and memory. It works wonders for your mood to get outside in winter, even if it's just for 10 minutes 2 to 3 times per week. You might walk, snowshoe, shovel, go sledding or go ice-skating. If you can't get outside, you might try these specific yoga poses for the winter blues.

7. Add a ritual

Adding a ritual to your winter, such as movie night, game night, hot chocolate after playing outside, homemade soup on Sundays, or visiting with a different friend every Saturday morning for breakfast, can add beauty and flow to the seemingly long months of winter. Research has suggested that family rituals and traditions, such as Sunday dinner, provide times for togetherness and strengthening relationships.

8. Talk to a professional

Counseling, which helps you identify the connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, can be extremely helpful for the winter blues (especially when you are also experiencing anxiety or stress). A counselor can assist you with identifying and honoring feelings, replacing negative messages with positive ones, or shifting behaviors. A counselor may also help you indulge into winter as a time of retreat, slowness, planning, and reflecting. You may choose to use the winter to get clear on what you'd like to manifest in spring.

The opposite of the winter blues is not the absence of the winter blues—it's taking great pleasure in the unique contribution of a time of cold, darkness, retreat, planning, reflecting, being cozy and hibernating. Nurturing yourself and your relationships can help you move toward winter joy.

Weary mama,

You are incredibly strong. You are so very capable.

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