Being a mom who works away from the home is pretty tough. Luckily I am able to telework some days with my current position, but that still leaves a pretty long commute for me to and from work. I live in the Atlanta area and traffic can be horrible…honestly it usually is horrible. I did not really realize how bad it was until we moved and then a few months later I got a position where I was no longer able to ride the train to work. Sigh. I really struggled with the transition of starting a new position and gaining a new, very long commute. Currently my commute can range from 40 mins to over an hour. Here are a few tips that I have found to help me make it through the LONG hours in the car.
Audiobooks and podcasts
If you have not checked out either of these you’re missing out. When I rode the train to work, I always had a book with me to read while riding. When I switched to the car I realized I would have very little time to read anymore. There is little to no time to read when I am home and my commute was the time I had carved out of my busy schedule to read. I initially thought listening to audiobooks was not really reading so I held off on trying them out for a long time, but now I love them. I listen to books on the way to work and I am still able to get my “reading” completed. I usually get books from Audible, but I always check my libraries audiobooks first before making any purchases. I was so surprised on find so many of the books I wanted to read were available for FREE from my library. Make sure to check out your libraries site! I was also able to find podcasts to listen to when I did not have a book available. There are podcasts on almost every topic imaginable! Look for your favorite topics from health to fitness to celebrities to social issues. You can find anything and many of the apps to listen are FREE.
This might not seem like a big one, but I did not realize how awesome it is to have time to call friends and family with no interruptions. I work pretty early in the morning, so most of my family and friends are asleep during this time and I listen to my books or podcasts. I make most of my calls when I am driving home in the evening. I call different people on different days. Being a mom of a toddler, when I get home my son is all over me and ready to play. There is no time to call friends or family and even if there is he is making all kinds of noise in the background…LOL! My sister does the same thing and sometimes we talk while we are both commuting home. I can instantly tell when she gets home because everyone is pulling her in different directions and she usually says, “I have to go now.” The same is true for me, so I totally understand.
This might seem obvious, but maybe it is not to everyone. I rarely have quiet time at home. When I have free time I usually catch up on chores or shows I may have missed. Rarely do I just sit quietly and reflect. During this time you can think about what you need to do at work that day or when you get home. You can focus on anything that is causing you anxiety or stress or even pray. You don’t even have to do this for your full commute, but taking a few minutes before you get to work or home can really help. When you arrive at your destination, you can write down any “To Do” list items you come up with or anything you want to remember. Keep your planner or a notebook close by to jot things down when you arrive. Depending on if you have a phone with capabilities to do so (handsfree), you can also dictate things you need to do or remember so you will not forget.
GoogleMaps and Waze (or other mapping apps)
These two apps are my favorite and although they really don’t “help me get through my commute”, they definitely can make my commute shorter. If you are not using one of these apps you should start, especially in high traffic areas. Even though I know my usual route, these apps help to find the fastest way to get to my destination. They are both real time so they have helped me avoid traffic and find the best route for the shortest trip to and from work. They are both easy to use and FREE.
Finally, always remember to travel safely. All of the suggestions I have mentioned should be done when you have a hands-free device available. Do not try to navigate through these apps while driving. Set up your books, podcasts and maps before you leave so you don’t have to worry about trying to figure out your phone while you are driving.
What ideas and tips do you have to make your commute bearable?