Making 30 minutes last forever

This post is part of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 series on doing more with less.

When I think of what I don't have in life, sure, there are some wish-list items that stand out. Say, a second bathroom. A washer-dryer that I don't share with 35 neighbors. A parking garage that is actually in our own neighborhood, let alone our own block.

(Oh the joys of city living!)

Mostly I don't spend a lot of time thinking about what I have less of and I feel, especially this time of year, grateful for what I do have. 

But the one thing I really truly find I scrape by on, is time.

Working parents simply don't have the luxury (or challenge?) of countless free hours with the family. We skip pediatrician appointments in favor of parent-teacher conferences instead. We give up school pick-ups. If we make it home in time to catch the kids slurping down the last of the mac n cheese, it's a win of epic proportions.

So the one thing I value--really value--is my time with them. Especially those dark, sweet nighttime moments during which I crouch down next to the girls' beds, stroke their hair, pull the quilts up to their chins, and together we catch up on the day.

Generally we read. Sometimes I make up stories. But always, we talk.

About their days. About my day. About who was nice in school and which friend they played with and what they learned and how many goals they scored. "Mommy, can we do questions?" they ask.  And so I begin.

What was one thing that made you smile today? What was one thing that made you laugh today? What one person did something nice for you today? What is one thing you learned today that you didn't know yesterday?

And then, as the tradition goes, I always end with, What do you want to dream about tonight?

Without fail, Thalia requests something with princesses and purple unicorns named Kelsey and magic butterflies and rainbows. Sage is more interested in princes with swords and friendly monsters named Pukebok who play tricks on people.

And then I kiss their foreheads, tell them I love them so so much (two so's are so so important), and send them to sleep.

Once in a while, if the stars align, they do actually sleep at that point.

The thing is, when you have less time, you have no choice but to do the most with it that you can. My hope is not that my kids will remember how many after-school hours I missed, but how many butterfly kisses I gave. How many princess rescues I described. How many questions I let them answer. How many rainbow dreams I helped bring to life. How many chapters I read doing the silly voices.

How many times I said I love you, so so much.

THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. Congrats to Fer of My Whole Life... who's the winner! I'm so glad it's someone who really really wanted it. Thanks so much for sharing your stories with me. I learned lots of great ideas myself for dong more when you have less time.

The giveaway was brought to you by th enew Windows Phone 7. Less MIA, More PTA. (Which I think means that moms all are in the PTA? Or something? No idea.) Learn about Windows Phone online and see it in person at a local T-Mobile store.


Anonymous Georgette said...

We sit and have dinner together every night and we play the "Conversation Game." Everyone takes a turn to ask a question and we all answer it. It's a great way to connect and I learn so much about them.

11/15/10, 6:16 AM  
Blogger delilah, the unruly helpmeet said...

We have our best conversations in the car, where there are fewer distractions. I ask silly questions and answer anything my daughter can dream up.

11/15/10, 7:47 AM  
Blogger Joanna said...

I love the Tango app to call my nephews, who I don't get to see! I can catch up and see their precious faces.

11/15/10, 7:53 AM  
Blogger Heather Lopez said...

Since I manage several sites and events, my time is very limited and making time for my toddlers is a daily event. Since they aren't exactly the best conversationalists, I opt to spend time with them singing and clapping while they bathe in the tub. They get clean, while we still have a little fun and they thoroughly enjoy it. It helps that their swim classes involve singing altered songs to coincide with what they are learning. (i.e. row, row, row your arms, kicking with your feet....)

11/15/10, 7:54 AM  
Blogger Just Margaret said...

One thing we do to make the most of our time is that we have a family sit-around-the-dinner-table meal at least five nights a week. It gives us a chance to catch up on our days and check in with one another about some of the great and not-so-great parts of our day. And like you, I treasure the nighttime tuck-in when we whisper quietly, sharing dreams and hopes...

11/15/10, 8:21 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

It's such a huge balancing act. Sometimes it's better to eat dinner at Chik Fil A and thus get to spend some good time with my kids than it is to be in the kitchen cooking dinner for an hour. Sometimes we just need to put off projects around the house that need doing, because time with the kids is needed more.

11/15/10, 8:22 AM  
Blogger Wombat Central said...

I love that before bed quiet time when they are eager to reflect on their days. I'm going to have to "borrow" some of your questions! We always try to read a chapter book together before bed, but if it's getting too late we chat for a few minutes. It's the best!

11/15/10, 8:23 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Since I have teenagers I have learned to talk when they want to talk. And how they want to talk. Even if it's a quick picture message to say "I love you more than peanut better". (Of course the proper response is " I love you more than jelly".)

11/15/10, 8:41 AM  
Blogger Tonya said...

Our family of six has dinner together each night and we go around the table and tell one thing about our day. Sometimes it's a rather rowdy affair; other days are insightful and answers lend themselves to further conversation.

11/15/10, 8:59 AM  
Blogger MAP said...

It sounds silly but my hubby and I text cute notes and pictures to each other during the day. It is a way to say "I love you" since our our time alone is limited.

11/15/10, 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Miriam yost said...

In the hustle and the bustle of life I try to spend as much time with my autistic son as I can. After I get home I will help him with homework, then I know how Nevis really doing in school, I find out how his day was and he asks aboutmine as well, and we have dinner together either at the table or in the car on our way somewhere. We also make it a point to pray and I tuck him into bed and talk to him to get his mind in a positive gear to go to sleep. We make the most of the time we have, being in a small house w are always multitasking but talking and getting things done. I wouldn't have it any other way!!

Miriam Yost

11/15/10, 9:28 AM  
Anonymous dawn said...

I drag my butt out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5 so that I can get lunch made for my son and myself. I then wake my kids and husband up so that we can have breakfast together (at least at the same time) before I go to work--while it is still dark. I do this so that I can pick the kids up from school 3 days a week at the end of school 3:15. This gives me a few couple hours a week with the kids. This is hugely important because I miss so much being in school a couple nights a week. I also do bath and bed time on the nights I am not in school. I hope that is what they remember--not that I was in school.

11/15/10, 9:29 AM  
Anonymous coffeewithjulie said...

I really like your questions game! I'm going to put that in my ideas bag now. As for me, a fellow working mom, family dinners are really important at our place. We all sit around a circle table that is far too small for us (even though there is a perfectly good size table in the next room) and get squished into our spots. Then if conversation doesn't just "happen" we'll do the "roses & thorns" -- this is when one person tells their top "rose" (good thing that happened) of the day and one "thorn" (not so good thing). It helps keep everything in perspective. Especially if an adult had a bad day at work ... it is super helpful to dig through the day and pull out some good points! Not only do we catch up with each others' days, but I think it models a bit of real life to the children.

11/15/10, 9:50 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

How do I do more when I have less time? I don't. I think I just try to keep in perspective what is most important. Sometimes that means reading Dora and the Rainbow of Colors for the 13,002 time. Sometimes that means playing catch. Sometimes I have to say, "No. Mama can't hold you right now. I'm cooking." I think we all just do the best we can with what we have.

11/15/10, 9:57 AM  
Blogger New York Chica said...

Since I have an eat-in kitchen, I like when the kids are doing their homework on the table because I can help them and cook dinner at the same time. It saves me alot of time because if they have a question, I can just walk a few steps to help them out. I also love the fact that dinner is ready when they are done (most of the time).

11/15/10, 10:01 AM  
Blogger Marinka said...

One of my favorite times to talk to the boys in the family (my son and stepson) is when I'm cooking dinner. I like it because it makes cooking a little less lonely and they like it because they can tell me about their day, the injustices, the craziness and the funny stuff and know that I am not looking directly at them.

We're all so busy and I love that they recognize this time as "just us" time.

11/15/10, 10:01 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

To do more, I actually try to do less. I find that when I actually spend time focusing on whatever I'm trying to do--getting my work done so I can spend more time with the kids, or when I'm with the kids, just focusing on them--then everything works out better. For some reason, I have a really hard time remembering this, though, and constantly find myself in a tizzy trying to do forty things at once.

11/15/10, 10:29 AM  
Blogger JustMom420zaks said...

Most every night we have "Crazy run around time." With two toddlers, the conversation isn't always that good. But tickles and wild leaps into mommy and daddy's laps speaks volumes!

11/15/10, 10:55 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

We have 'talk time' at night, too, and it's alrady a fixture in my 3-year old's bedtime routine. I love how connected that makes us feel. We also have 'dance parties' when we have too much energy, and let loose to wiggle crazily to any songs we choose!

11/15/10, 11:27 AM  
Blogger Erin Walsh said...

sometimes i'm so tired at night that i don't want to read stories or sing songs before bed time. sometimes i try to get away with just one story and one song, but my son calls me on it every time. and you know, by skipping one story and one song, i only add about 5 minutes to my couch lounging time. its worth those five minutes to enjoy a book and a song with my boy.

11/15/10, 11:40 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Instead of "sweating it" when our 20 month old doesn't go to bed well, we call it bonus time. Makes us all relax more and our little guy fall asleep.

11/15/10, 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

As a SAHM, I think I take for granted all these things you talk about missing. Our bedtime routine seems more like a chore than an opportunity to talk one on one with my children about the events of our day.

So for me, it's not that I need more time, but that I need to be wiser with all the time I am fortunate enough to have.

11/15/10, 11:49 AM  
Blogger Domestic Goddess said...

How do we do more? Multitasking. I'm the master at it. And also? Procrastinating. Again, a master.

11/15/10, 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Bryony Boxer said...

We have a similar nighttime ritual, and it's the only thing that saves me from massive guilt (well, there's guilt anyway buy a little less).

11/15/10, 12:22 PM  
Anonymous beyond said...

i don't have kids and feel like i have no time for my husband or my friends! conversations with my husband take place right before we sleep, or on the subway...

11/15/10, 12:28 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

As a full-time working mom with a husband who is working on his PhD, time is in short supply at our house! We make every minute count in the evenings by making it all about food and family. We all sit in the kitchen and help with dinner while we talk about our days. It's a great way to reconnect as a family, and we can make healthy, inexpensive meals in the process.

11/15/10, 1:02 PM  
Blogger Billie said...

The hardest thing for me is making sure I get some quality time with my 10 yo son. We have 2 girls under 2 in the house so they demand a lot of our time. I will usually try to get both girls in bed by 9pm so I can spend 30 minutes with my son before he has to go to bed.

11/15/10, 1:05 PM  
Blogger Petit Elefant said...

Liz, this post made me cry.

Touches a little close to home I suppose.

11/15/10, 1:15 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I think that sentimental gifts are the most memorable way to do more with less. My favorite gifts are photo calendars, filled with memories. These are easy and affordable, and can be tailored for families and friends.
Lastly, don't forget to spend a little something for those who can't spend - whether it is adopting a family for a holiday or buying something small for a toy drive. When I was little, I was the recipient of a secret toys-for-tots gift (I had no idea where it came from, it was left at my doorstep), and it helped me continue believing in Santa although my family was not able to afford gifts that year!

11/15/10, 1:39 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Before I had children I remember talking with a colleague with two little ones at home. Trying to imagine how I could possibly balance things as well as she seemed to, I asked her for her secret. She told me the key was that while she was at work, she was at work 100%; while she was with the kids, she was with them 100%. I took a different path and work at home, but her advice stays with me. My iPhone stays in the car when I go to the children's museum. I don't surf the web when I'm supposed to be doing my freelance work. (Well, that one's true... mostly.) You get the idea. So, as much as I love to multitask, I force myself not to, and miraculously, I get more done.

11/15/10, 2:17 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I am also a working mom, and what you described is exactly what I work for. My husband who always gets off work at 4:30, does a great job of having dinner ready and bath and jammies done, teeth brushed on nights I will be late, so I'm only left with the good stuff. He's a good man.

I always take one child with me on a weekend errand, even when it would be faster to do alone. That leaves some one on one with me and my hubby (and hopefully the baby is napping). We talk in the car, talk during the errand. And I just try hard for the daughter I have at the moment to feel like what we are doing is super important for her and I and not just a trip to Best Buy to grab some batteries for the smoke detector.

We always ask at dinner: What was your favorite part of today.

I also pay someone to clean my bathrooms/hard floors/and vacuum the stairs. I can't afford a full on cleaning lady, but those things would NEVER get done if I didn't pay to have it done, or they would wait until they were too disgusting, and they would take me an entire weekend to make right.

Thank you for your post! :) Always good to encourage others as you remind yourself.

11/15/10, 2:19 PM  
Blogger jsetrum said...

We've found it's a lot cheaper to bake our own bread and it's not that that time consuming when we consider all of the time we spent going to the bakery. As an added bonus we have the best conversations while busy in the kitchen.

11/15/10, 2:25 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I sleep less than most people do so that usually makes it possible to get more done. It is not the greatest way of doing things, but it seems to be effective.

One of my favorite times of day has become bedtime because there is this magic that comes when the children are just unwinding. For a few moments we sit in the dark and talk about life and I answer any and all questions they throw at me.

And sometimes I'll stand there and watch them sleep and marvel at the potential that I see in them.

11/15/10, 2:36 PM  
Blogger Shay-Zee said...

I just have to leave work when you decide I need to leave work, unless there is a true emergency. There is always something else to do, but the dirty secret is you'll never catch up. There will just be more to do. Get home and properly bathe those kids rather than give them a military bath.

11/15/10, 3:29 PM  
Blogger My Kids' Mom said...

When there is less time, either the time gets blown away and is wasted... or we focus. I'm sometimes amazed at how much I get done in the short bits of time I scrap together and how little gets done when I have a huge open day.

11/15/10, 3:30 PM  
Blogger Gencie said...

For some people, multi-tasking is the best way to get things done. Not for me. If I focus on one thing at a time, I tend to get things done much more quickly!

11/15/10, 3:39 PM  
Blogger November Grey said...

Your posts always make me cry! Either I'm A) PMS'ing B) Hormonal and pregnant again (God help me) or C) just really love your blog

I think C. So so much!


November Grey

Pop over for an awesome Art Giveaway

11/15/10, 3:41 PM  
Anonymous KateB said...

When I have less time, I have to be more organized. It's on the crazy days that I actually cook dinner. On our lazy days, I'll look at the clock at realize, "Yikes! It's dinnertime. Can I do pasta again tonight?" So, less sometimes yields more and better at our house. Thanks for hosting!

11/15/10, 3:56 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

This will sound over-simplified, I'm sure, but I find that if I just do not stop moving/working, I inevitably get more done. Nothing slows me down more than stopping to think about how much I have to do!!

11/15/10, 4:14 PM  
Blogger Chara said...

There is something so nice about being with them as they fall asleep. Even if I can't be there other times, I try to lay down with my son and let him tell me about his shop and his flying semi-truck while he touches the moles on the back of my neck. It's really weird, but it's also nice to know that something so specific to me is so comforting to him.

11/15/10, 4:44 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Both of my parents worked when I was little and I definitely remember the moments they were there more than the moments they weren't. I don't have kids yet, but I'm sure yours will remember you the same way.

11/15/10, 5:20 PM  
Blogger marriedsinglemom said...

I find that I do more when I have less time because when I am not in a rush (which is super rare) I can put things off til later. When I have only a little bit of time, I tend to rush around trying to get it all done. And, I am a SAHM.. but I have 3 children and spend my days toting them to and fro, and doing things with and for them... my favorite of which is volunteering in their classrooms.


11/15/10, 5:44 PM  
Blogger fer said...

Despite my frequent evening events as a high school vice principal and my husband's frequent weekend events as a sailing coach, we pride ourselves on having family dinner almost every weeknight. And even if it's only thirty minutes, we cover "the best part" of our days, listening to and honoring one another's stories.

11/15/10, 6:35 PM  
Blogger julianne said...

Silly snuggle time. Just randomly pounce on the wee ones and get them all riled up and snuggle them lots. That physical connection helps keep us emotionally connected.

11/15/10, 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Kelley said...

Right before bedtime I sit in a comfy black chair and my son picks 3 books to read and crawls up in my lap. That time is so so precious.

11/15/10, 7:15 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

Right now I gaze at my two-year-old while we do puzzles. He doesn't really get how they work yet - but his brain is working hard.

11/15/10, 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Kami said...

They looked bigger today. Their new haircuts, the big words coming out of their little mouths, the way they sat on the floor in the library pouring over new and exciting books. Their big-ness makes me proud. And sad. And so I hold them close until they say, "Mommy, stop!" Then, I sigh. And stare some more. At those little people I made.

11/15/10, 8:51 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

I have the best conversations while I am cleaning. I will look over the sink and just talk :)

11/16/10, 2:53 AM  
Anonymous Georgette said...

No matter how busy my day is, I spend 15 minutes with each of my daughters reading, singing, and cuddling. Bedtime is a chance to slow down and connect.

11/16/10, 6:42 AM  
Blogger Katie B. said...

I forget about the little things like picking up the matchbox cars or loading the dishwasher. Instead, I just spend time with my kid!

11/16/10, 10:37 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

When I have less time, I prioritize the things that are most important - my son comes before the pile of clothes yet to be folded!

11/16/10, 11:27 AM  
Blogger Dele O said...

I;m all about the 80-20 rule. I do the 20% of things that brings 80% of benefits.

11/16/10, 11:29 AM  
Blogger Lulu said...

Sleep sometimes gets cut a little short during the work week. We try to make up for it on my off days, so we sleep in, and take his afternoon nap together. (I'm a bad mommy, and my 17-month-old sleeps between us in our bed. He never would sleep on his own, so after two months of trying, my husband convinced me to give it up.)

I always try to make at least a few minutes to hug, kiss, and play as soon as I walk through the door. Then dinner, when we all eat together. After a quick clean-up, I try to make time for some more playing in the floor. We always snuggle and rock and sing songs like "Love You Forever" and "You Are My Sunshine" before bed, too.

Plus, the whole co-sleeping thing, so we have extra snuggles there until he falls asleep.

And don't feel bad about missing a pediatrician visit for a teacher conference. I missed one during the transition from night shift to day shift once, and it took me over a month to reschedule it.

11/16/10, 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Eileen said...

Oh! I so relate. We do more with less by "overlapping" our work schedules. I'm out the door at 6:30am while DH gets the girls off to school. Then I'm home at 3pm to help with homework (and the other drudgery!). Husband is home at 6pm for a family dinner. It works about 75% of the time!

11/16/10, 12:12 PM  
Blogger ~Kat~ said...

I'm a single working mom who tries so hard to carve out precious minutes with the kids. I don't get home from work until dinner time, so I call on my way home and spend my 1/2 hour commute catching up with each kid so that when we sit down to dinner, I can spend time talking about everything they told me, saving time without compromising the importance of a great coversation with them.

11/16/10, 12:45 PM  
Blogger Joanna said...

Bed time is a challenge, but also a joy. Once we get through the routine and are settled into bed with their chosen books, I can read to the kids. Then I give them snuggles separately in their beds (they have separate rooms). I sing songs that involve being a princess falling asleep to Berry and talk about the day for a while with Duncan. It's the sweetest time of day. If I'm lucky, I make it out of the bed before falling asleep myself.

We also eat dinner together every night and go around the table picking out our favorite moment of the day and sharing it. Sometimes after dinner we play the Telephone game (there's always at least 5 people at the dinner table, often 7).

11/16/10, 1:37 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

Lists. Lists are definitely how I do more with less time, and are they only way I seem to be able to stay on track!

11/16/10, 3:04 PM  
Anonymous MOV said...

What a sweet blog. You are an inspiration.

11/16/10, 3:25 PM  
Blogger fer said...

I clean the kitchen while daughters do homework at the table. I can pay almost perfect attention to them (i.e., not too much attention), and afterwards we all feel accomplished and ready for story/snuggle/song time.

11/16/10, 4:20 PM  
Blogger MsJoanie said...

My sweet boy can't speak yet, at least not more than one word at a time. Which most often is NO, CAR and CHEESE. So I'm envious of your questions.

But I suppose I do more with less (of his talking), by always talking myself. I say the color AND name of whatever he points at and translate his grunts for other people. Sigh. I'm sure I sound like an idiot in the grocery store, but hopefully all of my talking will rub off on him someday...

11/16/10, 4:43 PM  
Blogger Random Chick said...

Your post made me cry. A good cry. Thanks.

11/16/10, 6:20 PM  
Blogger DuMei said...

I do more when I have less time by making a list. I get distracted easily so it keeps me on track
dumei42 gmail com

11/16/10, 6:22 PM  
Blogger Jodilynn said...

I try to be there, to be present, each day instead of fixating on my To Do list. Doesn't always work, but keeping my laptop off as much as possible helps.

11/16/10, 6:30 PM  
Blogger Marketing Grrl said...

I have a little something for days when nothing goes right...it's called alcohol :p

11/16/10, 10:44 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

I like making up stories one sentence at a time. its kind of like mad libs

11/17/10, 1:45 AM  
Blogger Tricia said...

At bedtime, my son often requests the "list of people who love me." And I start out with the obvious ones and by the time I've hit his kindergarten teacher and swim teacher, he says, "That's enough, Mama," and goes to sleep. Dreaming, I hope, of all the people who love him. Sometimes 30 minutes is enough.

11/17/10, 11:51 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I don't have kids yet, but I struggle to find enough time with my sister/roommate and with my boyfriend. I work full time and am in grad school, so even when we're all home, I still have to do homework. My solution: one of them cooks dinner while I do homework, then we eat a nice family dinner. Having the school stuff done helps me focus on them, not on worrying.

11/17/10, 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Crysty said...

I turn off the radio and tv, have family dinner at least 4 times per week, and really listen to them when they talk & want to play. Sometimes I fail. But sometimes I read that Dora/Elmo/Goodnight Moon book 5million times because it's what they want. Or I play Littlest Pet Shops when I really should be tackling the "Laundry Monster" - in the end, I hope it all balances out.

11/17/10, 12:33 PM  
Blogger fer said...

Saturday mornings the girls jump in bed with us and "snooze," which lasts all of five minutes, before some of the most joyful, giggly moments of our lives ensue. Brief, happy times. Enough to fuel a weekend.

11/17/10, 2:25 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I find when I have loads of time on the weekends, I just sit around and watch TV. It's those busy times of the year (like the holidays) when I'm actually inspired to DO things. When I'm inspired, I'm up till midnight doing craft projects and baking. It's all about the motivation for me.

11/17/10, 2:26 PM  
Blogger Aaron & Cassie said...

Although our days are rushed, we always spend dinner together. Everyone talks about their day and asks about everyone else's. It's a great way to connect!

11/17/10, 2:33 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

After dinner every night we turn music on and the whole family dances in the living room. Its a great way to bond with one another and we get excercise too.

11/17/10, 2:41 PM  
Blogger Susan W said...

I love your post about reading with your kids - my daughter and I bake together a lot...and paint. It can take as little as 15 minutes and yet she loves it so much - and so do I! It's hard not to release the stress from the day when finger painting :) I find it so hard to be a full time WOHM and have quality time in that small window at the end of the day when I'm fried - so I try to focus on something we both enjoy and can bond over. Oh, and we read a ton too!!! But didn't want to use your thing :)


11/17/10, 4:18 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

i like taking kids somewhere they havent been before, such as the jelly belly factory's free tours

11/18/10, 1:48 AM  
Blogger The Sweet Escape said...

i kick my husband out of the kitchen, it’s easier and faster when he’s NOT helping, lol

11/18/10, 3:46 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I dropped cable last year. Don't get me wrong, we still watch plenty of TV through Netflix or Hulu. However, I find that when you have to make a conscious choice about what to watch, instead of channel-flipping, you appreciate the show more. We end up talking about the movie or show we picked more than we would with channel-flipping.

11/18/10, 10:10 AM  
Blogger fer said...

I am working on my laziness. I am a pretty busy, hardworking person, but wasted time that is stupid just makes me unhappier. So I am working on rewarding myself with the satisfaction of taking ONE MINUTE to get something done. I get lots of minutes of self-smugness afterwards.

11/18/10, 2:31 PM  
Blogger Jim Reid said...

I stay organized with Microsoft OneNote, which helps me do more with less time.

11/18/10, 2:37 PM  
Blogger E: said...

My husband and I use google calendars to stay organized and maximize our time.

11/18/10, 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Last weekend, while I was walking across a parking-lot with my daughter, a stranger commented: "Wow, she has a lot of questions." It hadn't even occurred to me that we are pretty much constantly talking, even while doing an errand that could have been boring.

I'm trying hard not to multi-task myself into ignoring the present moment. Fortunately, most toddlers are natural Buddhists, I think. My daughter and I tend to talk about what ever is right in front of us. The moon, the taco-truck, someone's hat, or a skateboarding teenager all fascinate her & prompt tons of questions that are surprisingly challenging to answer.

It's even better when we can take the time to patiently observe something that has interested her. Those are the best 30 minutes of zen-like awareness.

It's one of the unexpected joys of motherhood: watching my toddler watch a snail.

11/19/10, 1:35 AM  
Blogger Samantha said...

my mom always cooked with me. it made me appreciate home cooked food more and make my food healthier

11/19/10, 2:13 AM  
Blogger Dele O said...

i'm all about replacing my stone age phone. I'm sure it will allow me to do more with less time

11/19/10, 2:36 PM  
Blogger Thea D said...

As a working teacher mom I have learned the art of multi-task grading. On public transportation, during commercials, during church (okay I have only thought about that one.) But the best place and time to grade is while you are pumping! My kids have never gotten their papers back so soon!

11/19/10, 5:08 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Notes in the lunchbox are a cute, quick way to connect during the day. Besides, I hope it's a little reminder to not just eat the cookies!

11/19/10, 5:44 PM  
Blogger Mely said...

At our house we value our time too, we enjoy and cherish dinner time but since our daughter started competitive gymnastics 3 days a week for 3 hrs each day our schedules has changed. So we have to manage our time together the best, but right now I'm without a cell and with all the expences from gymnastics and Christmas around the corner this will be an excellent tool to make our life a little easier. Thanks!

11/19/10, 10:49 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

I love making up stories with kids. Well start with a story we all know like cinderella and then change the ending or the setting. Its fun and easy

11/20/10, 2:22 AM  
Blogger Mahreen - Veni Vidi Blogi said...

I think not having enough time is something every Mom can relate to. We try to make time every night catching up on the day (much like your questions). In the quiet darkness, sometimes I feel like it's the best way to connect after a long and hectic day.

11/20/10, 7:41 AM  
Blogger Dele O said...

Calendars are a huge help. And the Outlook Quickstep is a great shortcut tool that helps me quickly create some of my common tasks, appointments, and emails while on the go. The win phone 7 will be a great mobile tool to aid in this

11/20/10, 11:51 AM  
Blogger Austin said...

We have conversations cards that each of us has made. In the car we each say respond and share with eachother.

11/20/10, 1:25 PM  
Blogger fer said...

One interesting way I planned to save time was by agreeing to coach my daughter's soccer team. I mean, I had to be present for practices and games anyway, right? And then I could schedule practices around MY and my daughter's schedules! I thought I was so brilliant, and crazy. No comment on the other variables that experience added to my life. Season ended today. I have Saturdays back.

11/20/10, 2:48 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

My work and school situation demands that I take work home a lot. I try to firmly separate working-time from family-time, so I can focus 100% on whoever I'm with.

11/20/10, 6:11 PM  
Anonymous dina said...

why do you always make me cry???

How do I do more with less time? Make a lot of noise when I go to bed so at least one of the boys will wake up and crawl in bed with me to cuddle. :)

11/20/10, 11:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Reid said...

I’ll be able to get more done with less by consolidating my devices when I get a Windows Phone.

11/21/10, 7:39 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

As my kids were growing up there never did seem to be enough time but the one thing we did is talk since you can do that while you're cooking or cleaning and we still talk all the time to this day.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

11/21/10, 5:58 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I pre-prep a lot of my food including chopping and freezing onions and bellpeppers, even making a week's worth of meals on Sunday if I have the free time.

11/21/10, 6:48 PM  
Blogger Dele O said...

I do more with less by spending my time wisely with family, friends, and loved ones.

11/21/10, 11:49 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Before bed, we all get together and pack our lunches for the next day. It's a nice way to look forward to the next day and get rid of leftovers while we're at it.

11/22/10, 10:38 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

We recently moved in with family after moving to a different state. we had to put most of our stuff in storage and I really don't miss it. It makes me wonder if I will have an overload panic attack when we do find a place and get everything out of storage.

11/22/10, 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Heather D said...


On our way home everyday, my toddler and I play a game of I-Spy. We always look for busses, trash trucks (I can't help it..he's obsessed), concrete trucks, and trains. He made me smile today because he saw a stationary caboose and said "train", then made the signal of pulling a cord and said "choo-choo". Aw, those 15 minutes in the car should last forever. I can do so much more with him in less time.

11/22/10, 9:09 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Everyone adds to the grocery list throughout the week, including meal ideas. This helps ensure that the meal-planning doesn't just fall on one person, and everyone can get what they want, reducing mealtime sniping.

11/23/10, 11:33 AM  
Blogger Amy beth said...

sometimes i'll drag the tea party table into my bedroom and let the kids eat dinner there while i fold the mountains of laundry or get clothes ready for the next day. that way i can watch them eat, talk with them, and get stuff done. It makes things run smoother for me and they like to act like they're out at a new restaurant.

11/23/10, 12:16 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I love Amy Beth's idea! In nice weather, it feels so special to eat on the front patio. Something about carrying everything out there makes it feel like a special occasion.

11/24/10, 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Andy P said...

I deeply regret the lack of time I gave to my family during my final year of college. Sadly it was the year my father passed away, which left me with great regret that I did not spend more time with him sharing our moments and memories as he did with me when I was young.

11/24/10, 11:44 AM  
Blogger fer said...

Along the same lines as your post today, the irony of the desire to do more with less is that we often spend money in our quest to do so: buy organizers, storage bins, etc. Put the wallet down (sometimes, put the bills down), and play.

11/24/10, 12:38 PM  
Blogger Dele O said...

Doing more with less means keeping your cars as long as possible especially when they are paid off.

11/24/10, 4:04 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

We have a similar bedtime routine - we read stories and then talk about the day and what our plans are for tomorrow. it's the best time of the day for me, and makes my day end on a high note

11/24/10, 8:29 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

i have pretty awesome conversations with my older relatives over meals. food makes conversation flow easier

11/25/10, 2:30 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Happy Thanksgiving! During the holidays, when I'm camped out on so many deal sites, I make sure to keep an eye out for kid's books and toys. This helps stretch my giving-to-charity budget so I can donate more to Toys for Tots, school libraries, etc. Amazon has a Flat Stanley boxed set for $7.50 now! It's more fun to go to the store as a family, though, and do your shopping for others together.

11/25/10, 9:23 AM  
Blogger thecostofliving said...

We always, no matter how busy I am, always have cuddle time before it's time to go to sleep. We cuddle and talk about anything that made him happy or bothered him that day. Once I hear the relieved sigh, I know that all the thoughts that built up during the day have been straightened out a bit and his mind is cleared for sleep time. :)

11/25/10, 6:01 PM  
Blogger fer said...

We lost one of our high school students in a car accident yesterday. Today of those parents who want one of any thirty minutes back.

11/25/10, 9:13 PM  
Blogger Dele O said...

Doing more for less is all about doing dishes before, during, and after thanksgiving dinner. Saves a lot of time the next day.

P.S. happy thanksgiving

11/25/10, 11:37 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

We stopped ordering dinner out and started cooking and eating dinner as a family. TV goes off and we sit around the table and actually talk. Cooking dinner takes more time than ordering, but it still seems like we have more family time when we cook.

11/26/10, 12:10 AM  
OpenID swoodsonshoeclips said...

I do more with family with less time by scheduling 'unplug' time! The content and quality is waht matters, so I do more by being engaged and more active. scg00387 at yahoo dot com

11/26/10, 1:24 AM  
Blogger initial J said...

My parents' tried to make what time we had to spend together memorable. We always took pictures of everything so we could hold on to the memories. Give your kids memories for life.

11/26/10, 1:39 PM  
Blogger Abbey said...

I try to make sure that in that time we are actively together as much as possible (rather than my son/husband passively playing video games). We talk, cook, craft and plan. This month we're doing a gratitude project so every day we think of 5 things to be thankful for. Little everyday things mostly, but I know I will treasure them later and it takes about 5 minutes or less each day.

11/26/10, 11:15 PM  
Blogger fer said...

I'm up a little earlier than I'd like, so I can squeeze in computer time and a run before the kiddoes get up. Trying to wake sooner so I save more time for them, with them.

11/27/10, 9:34 AM  
Blogger libertymama said...

I crochet to fill orders in my Etsy shop WHILE I oversee math lessons in my home school. I cook with my kids; they think it's a party, but I really had 22 mins until Daddy's off work. I listen to podcasts, etc while playing with my kids at the park. There's never enough time, and I'm learning to be cool with the things I'll never get around to. What choice do I have?

11/27/10, 11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I try to make lists, just so that I can plan ahead of time as much as possible. If I didn't multi task things would never get done
k k g r a y 8 8 @yahoo

11/27/10, 11:42 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I put off doing the things I'd rather not do, such as the housework, in favor of the things I do value. Such as reading bedtime stories to the girls (we're currently working out way through the Oz series) or holding and cuddling my infant after he's fallen asleep while nursing. I know these years will go fast, and I can have a neat, orderly home when the kids are out of the house. (srollin@gmail.com)

11/28/10, 1:49 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I recently chopped off 8 inches of hair, all the way up to my jawline. It's SO much quicker and easier to do my hair now, which leaves more time and patience for all the other million things every morning. Plus, it means I can't just toss my hair up in a ponytail every single day.

11/28/10, 4:20 PM  
Blogger fer said...

My daughters are at an age where I can increasingly often resist the impulse to do it myself, real quick, and instead, involve them in what I am doing...making dinner, folding clothes...we usually end up laughing at something...no chore!

11/28/10, 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for me doing more with less is a combination of organization, planning ahead and multi tasking. if i didn't do all of those, there wouldn't be enough hours in the day to get things done
k k g r a y 8 8 @yahoo

11/28/10, 11:35 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

So. I'm finishing my master's (Holy thesis, Batman!), I work as a translator, I have two absurdly rowdy boys, and my husband is in the military so I do 100% of the housework and child-caring. What I do is make our activities multipurpose (like furniture!). Making dinner involves talking to the boys about their day, exercising happens when we bike ride together, car drives to soccer practice are perfect for going over the science test questions. jogo@hotmail.com

11/29/10, 9:22 AM  
Anonymous anu said...

i've just gone back to work, so i'm still trying to figure out how to do more with my family when i have so much less time. the best thing, and how i am happiest, is figuring out how to integrate my toddler into my crafty projects. i love fostering his creativity, just have to remember to be patient and okay with stopping mid-project!

anumgomez AT gmail DOT com

11/29/10, 3:16 PM  
Blogger fer said...

I have a great sense of accomplishment when I set the crockpot to cook our meal. I not only do more in less time, I cook more, too!

11/29/10, 5:54 PM  
Blogger LumaLilt Mobile Software said...

I use time stuck in traffic to talk to friends that are with me.

11/29/10, 7:29 PM  
Anonymous bjdove1 said...

I do more with less time by viewing only the most relevant web content.

bjdove1 AT msn DOT com

11/29/10, 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do more with less time by being organized so that I can better multi task. I also try to set deadlines for myself with certain things
k k g r a y 8 8 @yahoo

11/29/10, 8:25 PM  
OpenID greenlee42 said...

To do more with less time- I try to prioritize things, just so that I don't get too caught up in things that really aren't all that worthwhile.
greenlee42 at yahoo dot com

11/29/10, 8:28 PM  
Anonymous mealoro said...

I do more with less time by using quick-hardening epoxy.

mealoro AT hotmail DOT com

11/29/10, 8:44 PM  
Blogger Dele O said...

Doing more with less could be decorating the christmas tree as a family. More work done in less time, and lots of family time together.

11/29/10, 11:19 PM  

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