Life can be a whirlwind, especially for high-achieving women like us. Whether we're navigating full-time secondary schooling, managing multiple jobs, or running our own businesses, the daily demands can feel overwhelming. However, amidst the chaos, one thing remains clear: prioritizing our health is essential. As someone who has experienced the consequences of neglecting self-care, I can attest that everything else falls into place when our health thrives. Thoughtful preparation is the key to unlocking productivity and wellness throughout the week. Although the way I approach it has evolved over the years, the periods in my life when I invest time in preparation are the moments, I accomplish more in less time.
Being a mother has undoubtedly transformed my life, especially regarding the precious commodity known as "free time." While I may not follow the conventional meal prep approach, I have discovered the power of prepping myself for the week ahead. This helps me stay on track with my nutrition and tackle the responsibilities of motherhood, marriage, and a full-time job (and entrepreneurship). In this blog post, I'll share my journey of finding balance through meal prep and life organization and how you can adapt it to suit your own unique circumstances.
Before we delve into the specifics of my meal and life prep routine, let's take a moment to understand the current season of life I find myself in. With a work schedule from Tuesday to Saturday, caring for my 14-month-old daughter, a rambunctious two-year-old Husky, and supporting my firefighter husband's entrepreneurial endeavours, the bulk of household and food-related responsibilities fall on my shoulders. Additionally, we've hired a full-time nanny to ensure reliable childcare from Tuesdays to Saturdays. Now that you have a glimpse into my world, you can appreciate the context in which I approach my meal and life prep.
Sunday: The First Day Off. Here's how I make the most of it:
Breakfast: I start the day right by preparing a nourishing breakfast for myself and my family. This sets the tone for the day and fuels our bodies for the tasks ahead.
Tackling Chores: I kickstart the week by tidying up our living space and assessing any cleaning or organizational tasks that need attention. This usually includes vacuuming, mopping, and cleaning the bathroom. Fortunately, we live in a trailer in the summer months, so it's a quick space to clean. And if I'm lucky, my daughter watches me clean and occupies herself.
Packing Lunch and Running Errands: I pack up lunch and take it with us as we run errands. This typically involves grocery shopping, visiting the pet store for dog food, going to the dog park or a walk, and having lunch with my husband.
Grocery Shopping: With a comprehensive shopping list in hand, I head to the store to stock up on groceries and essential items. This proactive approach prevents last-minute grocery runs and guarantees we have the ingredients we need for the upcoming week. Since I don't have time before or after work to make last-minute grocery runs, this method saves me valuable time. If I happen to forget something, I can either pick it up on Monday or ask our nanny to help out.
Productive Afternoon: While my daughter Elsa takes her afternoon nap, I seize the opportunity to get ahead on my business tasks, such as writing this blog. This uninterrupted time allows me to focus and be productive.
Special Dinner: Sundays give me a little more time to cook, so I often try to make something a little more fancy or exciting. It's a chance to explore new recipes or create a special meal for my family.
And that sums up how I spend my first day off, which can vary depending on the week and how things go with a toddler in tow.
Monday: The Second Day Off. Here's how I make the most of it:
Breakfast and Smoothie Prep: Mornings can be hectic with a toddler and a dog, so I streamline my mornings by preparing breakfast and pre-packing smoothie ingredients for the next two days. This allows me to have a ready-to-blend smoothie waiting for me in the fridge, regardless of how chaotic the morning may be. It frees up my time to focus on work and a few exercises to kickstart my day.
Meal Planning: Taking a few moments to plan our meals for the week ahead ensures we have a well-rounded and nutritious menu. This saves precious time when it comes to deciding what to cook each day. I upload the menu to my Nanny's schedule, and she usually takes care of dinner, so when I get home, my daughter Elsa and I can eat right away and ease into her nighttime routine. Having this support is a privilege I'm incredibly grateful for, as it allows me to spend quality time with Elsa while maintaining a good schedule.
Meal Prepping: While I don't cook all my meals in advance, I do prep specific components to make cooking during the week more manageable. This might involve washing and chopping vegetables, marinating meat, or pre-cooking grains and legumes like quinoa, lentils, or beans. These small but impactful steps save time and effort when it's time to prepare meals.
Homemade Wraps and Snacks: I enjoy baking tortillas from scratch and making lunch wraps for my husband, who prefers hand-held foods. This allows me to pack his lunch with more nutrition than a typical sandwich. Additionally, I usually bake something delicious for us to have as snacks throughout the week, such as oatmeal cookies, Rani's Famous Banana Date Bread (stay tuned for the recipe), or muffins.
Monday Night Dinner: I make sure to prepare Monday night's dinner and ensure there are leftovers for Elsa and me. This way, we have a nutritious meal ready to go, making the evening routine smoother.
As you can see, Monday is the day I focus on more extensive "meal prep" tasks once I've gathered all the ingredients from the store the day before. I try to limit my time in town on Mondays, depending on the bug situation at the lake. If the bugs are bothersome, I like to take a walk in town with Elsa and my dog.
Finding balance amidst the busyness of being a working mom can be challenging, but intentional meal prep and life preparation have been game-changers for me. They have allowed me to unleash my productivity and wellness goals throughout the week.
Investing time in thoughtful meal prep and life organization has transformed the way I approach my days. By prioritizing my health and well-being, I have found the ability to thrive in my various roles and responsibilities. I encourage you to embrace the power of weekly preparation, tailoring it to your own unique circumstances and needs. With a bit of planning and dedication, you too, can unlock the benefits of increased productivity and overall wellness. Here's to a balanced and fulfilling week ahead!