Whether you identify as a working mom, stay at home mom, work from home mom, side hustling mom, caregiver to older parents while working mom, or somewhere in between, the reality is that the day to day responsibilities of our lives can feel overwhelming. You don’t need the research to tell you that motherhood {parenthood} is quadruple the work of a full time job. You don’t need anyone else to tell you that the mental, physical, and emotional load of parenting is exhausting. Because you know it. You feel it. You face it every day. And while the reward is great–the work still takes its toll.

Mom life hacks - theCityMoms

When I recently wrote about finding and naming your community, I was writing from a place of experience. Finding and naming your village is one place to start in allowing yourself to lean into the support of others to find the balance you need to take care of YOU in the midst of the exhaustion. But aside from self-care, we know there simply has to be a way to make some of this day to day just a little bit easier–to make our everyday lives something more manageable to live into, without just needing to collapse at the end of each day.

A fellow working mom leaned into her village recently – a village I am a part of – and what took place in supporting her was nothing short of beautiful. She was raw and honest and put her heart out there. And when she received grace and support–she reached out further. It kicked off a social media thread that had women furiously sharing and liking, and walking away with a sense of “yes–I can do that!” Multiple women responded “I love this thread!” as we all responded to the following comment:

Let’s all share the number one free {or very cheap} thing we have done in our lives that made it even the least bit easier.

Compiled below are some amazing ideas from a group of amazing women who have found that some of these seemingly “small” things are helping make the day to day just a little bit more manageable.

{saving time on errands}

  • “We started using Kroger Clicklist/pick up about 3 months ago and it’s been a lifesaver on time and our budget!”
  • “I try to exclusively shop at Aldi and it saves time and money/Aldi is much faster to run in and out of than a traditional store.”
  • “I started going to the grocery store alone. It saved money from a [toddler] and husband grabbing everything they saw and I get to be all alone without anyone needing me for one whole hour a week.” {+ self care!}


  • “[We do] baths before dinner to avoid the pressure of getting it done before bed.”
  • “How about no baths? Just showers!”

{purge and declutter}

  • “Cleaning out the kids’ toys and donating them [in an effort to weed out more mess and the time spent putting them all away]”
  • “Keep a donate bag or box going and donate OFTEN.”
  • “I refuse to buy more hangers for my closet. If I run out of hangers, it means that I need to get rid of some items. That way, my closet never gets overwhelmingly full!”
  • “We encouraged my 5 year old future engineer to take apart any toy he wants. He thus purges his own toys in the name of science!”
  • “I have a plastic bin in my kiddo’s closet for clothes that are too small. As soon as she puts something on and it doesn’t fit, she puts it in the bin. I never have to dig through a drawer overpacked with clothes to find which ones don’t fit anymore.”


  • “Doing laundry as soon as there is enough for a load…and folding right away too…that way it never piles up.”
  • “Laundry: I have a basket for each member of the family on a shelf in the laundry room.  Stuff gets sorted by person out of the dryer and put away on Sundays.”
  • “Everyone in the family, except the baby, wears a lot of clothes more than once before washing, if they don’t get dirty.  Saves time, energy, water, and money.”

{kiddo lunches}

  • “The first grader makes her own lunch…I inspect it and occasionally add or remove things, but it’s one less fight to deal with.”
  • “Not caring if my kid eats PB&J as the main item exclusively for lunch for 3 years.”
  • “My K and 3rd graders eat lunch at school every day. If they want a packed lunch, they have to do it themselves.”


  • “I put bowls, cups and cereal down at kid level and they take care of breakfast themselves.” {+ kiddo accountability!}
  • “Cooking dinners for the week on the weekends, so I don’t have to cook all week.”
  • “I only plan for, shop for, and cook two dinners per week. I cook enough that we can eat it at least twice and often have enough extra to freeze a portion, too. Other nights in the weeks are leftovers or something super easy with staples that keep forever and we always seem to have on hand like eggs, canned soup, beans or frozen leftovers.”
  • “Make a full week’s worth of [favorite nut butter] and jelly sandwiches, cut in half, and store in the freezer. Take one out every day for lunch and it defrosts by lunchtime.”
  • “Each time I cook, I double or triple the recipe and freeze. Really saves time for weeknight dinner!”

{kiddo accountability}

  • “Responsibility chart. Can make one easy. It allows my boys to know what they have to do in the morning and evening without me telling them.”
  • “I made a morning task board for my 7 year old son who has ADHD.  Mornings used to be brutal and it has been lifechanging.”
  • “Get the kids doing chores and being accountable.”

What is The Village Effect? CityMom Morgan tells us more in this fabulous post right here. 

{time management}

  • “We try to do as little as possible on weeknights.”
  • “We always always always do lunches, homework, and showers right after school and that makes for less stress in the a.m.”
  • “I plan out my kids’ outfits for the week and put them in one of those hanging closet organizers.”

{tending to self}

  • “Waking up 15 minutes earlier in the morning to start getting ready. It feels so much better to start my day being on time.”
  • “Getting up 1 hour before the rest of the house to get centered and tackle a little “me” time.”
  • “My hobby is sewing. I’m currently working on a very elaborate Christmas tree skirt. I sew it during my lunch break at work.” {work/life integration in full swing here!}
  • “5 minute morning journal when I get into work: 3 things I’m grateful for today, today would be great if…, and word/intention of the day…I always feel more centered when I do this.”
  • “Meditation! Trying to teach my kiddos.”
  • “Podcasts [or Audible] on the way to and from work.”
  • “For me lately it has been adding regular time tracking my life a la Laura Vanderkam in “I Know How She Does It.” Seeing how much time I actually do spend with my family and friends makes me feel less guilty and fragmented. Sometimes it’s all about how you perceive things.”
  • “I hopped around town doing free weeks at a bunch of gyms before choosing one.”
  • “Saying “no” or “I’m sorry I can’t help with [X] right now unless I really DO have time and am passionate about whatever it is.”

{collaborative online tools}

  • “The app “Our Groceries” to keep an online list and sync with husband’s, so that any time I can get to the store, I know what I need.” {online tools such as this, Wunderlist, Google home, or Cozi for efficiency and collaboration with life partner}


  • “I’m trying out a select type of outfit for each day of the week [uniform-style]. Hoping it simplifies and encourages more variety in my wardrobe usage.”
  • “Moving to a smaller home which requires more purging of “stuff” and a smaller, simpler yard and smaller mortgage.”

{staying on top of the mess}

  • “Everyone takes 20 minutes each day to clean. Even our kids who are under the age of 4.”
  • “Letting go of the need to have a clean house!”

{general agreement all around}

  • Aldi as a quick and budget friendly grocery store
  • Amazon prime or other delivery services for necessities
  • Prepping outfits for the week
  • Collaborative/synchable calendaring and list making apps
  • Instant Pot for quick meals
  • Goodwill or other discount retailers for budget friendly clothes

{And then there were a handful of “not necessarily cheap”–but insightful and perhaps doable with an eye on a good deal or a budget reassessment:}

  • “…[I took advantage of Amazon Prime Day] for a robot vacuum–with hardwood floors, 3 kids, 2 cats, and no time, this little machine has been a true game changer.”
  • “Something that is NOT free or low-cost [but] I cannot advocate enough to look into hiring help for house cleaning…[to balance the budget with this one] I buy groceries at Aldi and clothes at Goodwill and save money in so many other places [and] my time and my sanity and my self-esteem and comfort in my home is worth every penny to me of what I pay for house cleaning.”
  • “Adding a meal service (Hello Fresh, Home Chef) has saved our sanity in the fall when our schedules are so hectic.” {meal services also known to add variety when getting into a cooking rut.}

Mommas, take note: You will see that even in their tidy little categories there are deeper messages here around simplifying and letting go {of things, of certain expectations} in the name of finding more peace, more wholeness, and more joy in living the everyday.

So give yourself permission to seek these things, to make changes where possible, and remember that in this seeking, you are definitely not alone.


Morgan Studer - theCityMomsABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Morgan Studer is a southern transplant in the Midwest who still considers 70 degrees jacket weather, and is always on the hunt for the best biscuits and gravy. Her day job in the higher education world connects her passions for continuous learning and personal growth with community engagement.

On weekends you’ll find her adventuring with her husband and two children, grabbing ice cream, Geocaching at a local park, or snuggling up with a few good books.

Morgan enjoys a hot cup of coffee, exploring new places on foot, and settling in for a good Netflix binge.