The Weekday After School Race: How to Make Afternoons Easier

“What time is karate? What’s for dinner tonight? Which one of us is attending back to school night?” These are just some of the texts that my husband and I have been sending to each other this week. Even though it’s 90+ degrees outside and it still feels like summer, it’s fall y’all! School is back in full swing, the Halloween decorations are starting to slowly go up, and pumpkin spice lattes are at Starbucks.

During the weekdays when school is in session, free time is pretty much nonexistent. Between our children’s activities, homework, and volunteer obligations, there isn’t much left on a weekday for anything else. Even as I’m typing this, my sister who has 4 children texted me: “I’m so tired of homework for 3 kids, I’ll need help from up above when my youngest starts school!”

Most days, I feel like the time in between picking my oldest son up from school and bedtime is a non stop race against the clock. Bring one child to dancing and bring the other to karate, make sure to have something ready and prepared for dinner all while making lunches for the next day, giving baths, bedtime stories, and then tucking them into bed at a normal time. Whew! Just typing it all out is exhausting! The time just flies by between 3 and 8 o’clock; am I right?

NOMB Afternoons

I’ve found that with a little help and these time saving tips, our afternoon schedules have been running much smoother.

Accept help. First off, if you have family around offering their help, take them up on it. My mom is a huge helping hand with my kids. For example, on Mondays, she picks up my oldest son while I take my youngest to gymnastics.

Prepare the night before. Another tip is having all the boys clothes laid out daily. From their uniforms, after school clothes and pajamas; this makes life a bit easier having everything out and organized ahead of time. I can’t tell you how many times as a teenager I was running around trying to find a clean sweater for school! This eliminates morning freak outs.

Divide duties with your spouse. In the afternoons, my husband and I tag team. If I’m giving the bath, then he is doing the dishes or vice versa. If he throws the laundry in the wash, then I am the one folding and putting away the clothes. We are a team and knowing this household relies on one another is what makes it work.

Meal preparation is a tactic that is an extreme time saver during the week. Whether it’s chopping up veggies, making crock pot meals ahead and freezing them, or just prepackaging goldfish crackers for school lunches, it’s a big pay off that requires a little amount of preparation time.

Do you find yourself running around non stop during the evening? What have you done to make your life a bit easier?


Mary Olivio
Mary is a caffeine addicted boy mom to Noah, Liam and Luke. This “stay at home” mom can typically been found cruising in her minivan, jamming to Beyonce with a Starbucks in hand on her way to carpool or after school activities. Mary has been married to her high school sweetheart since 2007. She is a founder of Delivering Hope NOLA and the Vanessa Wolff Scholarship Fund at her Alma Mater. Mary is passionate in the local preemie community and has been heavily involved with the March of Dimes since her sons Liam and Luke were born premature.


  1. Even though our kids are younger I totally agree! I do as much as I can the night before (laying out clothes, lunch for H, even putting whatever needs to come with us right by the back door). It’s hard enough corralling 3 kids without having to run all over the house looking for stuff.

  2. I bought a closet organizers with 10 slots (it hangs from the top rod) my girls are 8 & 9 and they out their school clothes in each slot. They each have 5 slots for the week. We put dancing clothes in first and the school clothes including any accessories, socks or hair bows. We also check out the menu for the week at school and home and the girls started making their lunches in second grade (we make the main course if it needs to be heated) things usually get eaten that way too. Lastly we have made friends with our dancing school classmates. There are a few in our neighborhood and we carpool. I bring the other mother who works later picks up. My current problem is keeping my 10 month old from falling asleep too early in the car. Any suggestions?


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