Being a mum is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and the most rewarding. However it sure does take up a whole lot of your time. Whether you’re a working mum or a full-time mum you face different daily challenges that make you think “where has the time gone?” In this post, I’ll be looking at the day-to-day challenges every mum faces, and how to get them done quicker so that you feel less stressed and have more time to yourself to relax.
Breakfast, getting ready for school and getting everyone out of the house on time – it seems like such a simple task but all mums will know it’s not for the faint-hearted! Getting the kids out of bed sometimes feels like a military operation and when the soldiers won’t cooperate it can all fall down, but you can have a much more stress-free morning routine with these handy tips:
Prepare the night before
Before you go to bed get everything out that you will need including bowls, spoons and glasses. If the kids usually have cereal in the morning you can pour this out ready and wrap cling film over it, this is a great time saver and saves the tiresome routine of getting several different breakfasts ready in a post sleep haze.
Get the little ones up first
Young children often take the longest to get ready and need more time to wake-up and become ‘normal’ again, waking them up late will only make them more grouchy.
All eat at the same time
When everyone is up tell them the time breakfast will be ready and that everyone is expected to be downstairs by then. Give them a 5 minute reminder and you’ll be amazed how quickly they come downstairs. Be firm – if you aren’t ready in time for breakfast you don’t get any.
Lay out clothes/uniforms the night before
A good place to leave these are over the stair banister or hanging up outside the children’s bedrooms so that they won’t get creased. A great way to avoid the “Mum, where’s my tie?” morning madness.
Pack lunches the night before
An obvious one but a hard thing to master, if you have older children get them to make their own lunch, you’ll see how much quicker it gets done. Organize them all into the appropriate lunchboxes and store them in the fridge.
After School Madness
“I’m hungry” tends to be the first thing you hear as you walk through the door, and whether you’ve been at work, juggling the domestic chores or taking care of preschoolers, you’re not quite in the mood to fix a snack. Create a snack box and keep it in your pantry or cupboards, you can put dried fruit, cereal bars, chocolate, crisps, crackers and whole fruit in it and the kids can help themselves without you running around preparing food for them. This also saves you in terms of the weekly food shop, so long as you have bought enough snack box items you shouldn’t run out of food mid-week from making too many after school sandwiches.
Take a look at these handy hints to ensure a calm household from 3pm-6pm:
Create a routine
Try to create some sort of routine that will ensure everything gets done before dinner and to prevent your kids from watching too much telly. Get them to do their homework before they get engrossed in CITV (short for Children’s ITV), they’ll still be in school mode and you’ll find they will be much more obliging.
Get your kids to help as much as possible, if they make themselves a snack make sure they put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and when they’ve changed out of their school uniform make sure they’ve put it in the laundry basket.
Take a break from chores
Your kids coming back from school might be a perfect time for you to get on with cleaning the bathroom or doing the washing. Take a breather for a minute, make a cup of tea and sit with your kids to ask them about their day. You’ll feel much more relaxed and they’ll appreciate your interest.
Get your children in to the habit of laying the table before dinner, and making drinks for everyone. This leaves you time to concentrate on cooking and not grabbing cutlery and glasses in a frenzy. If you regularly do the cooking in the house get your partner to do the washing-up!
After school activities
Violin at 4, swimming at 5…or was it 6? It’s great that your kids have so many hobbies but you can barely keep track of them all! A brilliant investment is a family organizer, a special calendar laying out week by week what each family member is doing – perfect if you’ve got more than one child as well, you’ll also be able to work out who is going to take who to what and how much extra-curricular activities cost each week so they can be included in your family budget.
Shopping and You
It is easy to forget about yourself when your whole world is centered around your children, and even easier for outsiders looking in to say “chill out, relax.” But you can make things easier on yourself, and indulge in your favorite past-times post-kids.
One of the things you can neglect is your appearance, and nothing can disrupt your confidence as much as that. Feeling and looking great does so much for your self-esteem and will help with your kids confidence too – if they see their mum projecting a positive outlook then they will follow. But how do you fit you in? Here are my top 5 tips:
Set a reminder in your phone
Every six weeks set a phone reminder to get a hair-cut, this is the advised time you should get a chop to ensure your hair stays healthy and shiny all year round.
Do a childminding swap
Once a week take it in turns to swap childcare responsibilities with a friend. For example on Wednesdays you take care of yours and her children, and on Thursdays she takes care of hers and yours. Your children will love a chance to spend time with other kids and you can use the night off to pamper yourself or spend quality time with your partner.
On the swap day or another couple of hours you may have free, for example if you have boys Saturday mornings are best when they’re at football/rugby practice, have a proper pamper. Deep condition your hair, shave your legs and put on a face mask.
Update your wardrobe
Every few months take a look at your wardrobe and clear out anything with the labels still on, that is the wrong size or damaged. Then buy a few key pieces that you love to keep on trend and your wardrobe feeling fresh. Invest in pieces you wear all the time such as jeans, a more expensive pair from a designer brand is bound to last much longer than high street alternatives and tend to be made with technology so that the garment doesn’t lose its shape.
Save time shopping
The best way to shop when you are a busy mum is online, its quick and easy and means you don’t have to drag little ones round the crowds and in to changing rooms. But how will you know how it fits? Since becoming a mum it’s likely your figure has changed dramatically and you’ve been left feeling unsure of what suits you and what size you are.
A great way to avoid changing rooms but shop with confidence is to use a site that offers home-trial or free returns. A great example is Jeanography’s Fit First Time service. You can choose up to 3 pairs of jeans, or a Jeanography stylist will help pick them for you and they will be sent out for you to try on – completely free until you decide exactly which ones you want to keep. This makes it easier for you to look great, saves time and allows flexibility for you to decide which styles you like without having to cough up the cash first.
I hope these time-saving tips have helped all the busy mummies out there – we salute you!