Quick Survival Tips
How are we supposed to have "it all" when most of the time we can't even find it? If all our readers submit their top three tips for managing the chaos of modern motherhood, we will have quite a Survival Guide right here on these pages. Sometimes it takes a village just to keep your head above water. Please share your survival secrets.

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Let's hear it for self-preservation. No, make that self-indulgence. After all, if we don't indulge ourselves, who will? Massages, a morning run on the week-ends, a manicure whenever - whatever gives you uninterrupted alone time can be a life saver, not to mention a saver of one's mood.


FOR YOU -- Organize your closet by color so you can easily see what you have and what goes together well. FOR THE KIDS -- Put your kid's clothes into outfits in a zipper bag so (if they are old enough) they can choose an outfit themselves that you've pre-paired.


Toss the cooler in your car one morning on the way to work. Take an hour (or so) over lunch and do your grocery shopping. Don't forget to buy the bag of ice for the cooler holding your perishables. One less thing to do with kids in tow and one less thing to try and fit into your weekend.


Basically I try to think about what will really matter when I look back on my life. Will I be happy to say that my house was always clean or that I spent time on the floor playing with my kids?


Make school lunches the night before. This will make a huge difference as you are scrambling to get everyone organized in the morning.


I do the grocery shopping online and avoid the store altogether. Giant (peapod.com) will deliver for a $6.95 fee and I figure with the money that I am saving comparing prices online and noticing what's on sale, it's completely worth it.


The next time you take a trip, write down everything that you pack in categorized lists by person, type of item (cosmetics, clothes, food, entertainment etc.). Also, list out all your tasks as you do them, like notifying neighbors, setting the alarm code, programming the thermostat, etc. Just write it all down as you do it. Then, keep the list and use it for subsequent trips.


Ask for backup without guilt. BE SPECIFIC. Working opposite shifts, we leave notes for each other taped to the bathroom mirror. For example: "I am going to the bank today. Please leave the check from the insurance company on my dresser, and don't forget to endorse the back!" Always sign with "I love you."


Write everything down. Appointments, school supply lists, shopping lists, things to hunt for during the next Target sale, the cell numbers of everyone in playgroup, the hour your hubs will be in a staff meeting and unavailable. Write it all down somewhere you look often.


Enlist your husband for childcare duty while you go grab an hour or two for yourself - for exercise, a mani/pedi, massage, whatever (and don't call every 15 minutes to see if everyone's okay - trust him, he can handle it!)... Take turns giving each other "breaks" so nobody gets resentful towards the other.