Life with children is hectic. When they’re tiny it’s the no-sleeping, feeding and changing routine and then when they’re older it’s the ferrying to sports clubs and homework-reminder routine. It never stops.
It’s easy to lose sight of your own identity at times, let alone your sense of organisation, so take in these handy tips for busy mums to carve out a few precious minutes of breathing space every day.
TRY TO GET UP A BIT EARLIER
This may seem like the ramblings of a sadistic monster, but just 15 minutes of waking time before the ravening hordes crash into the day makes all the difference. You can have a quick shower, get some coffee on, stir the porridge or just stare into space…in peace and on your own.
You don’t have to answer every single email or phone call. Similarly, you don’t have to answer every knock on the door. In fact, you could get some notices made to help you get some peace and quiet. No soliciting signs can prevent cold-callers from disturbing your bedtime routine, for example.
DO JUST ONE GROCERY SHOP
You will forget something, but hopefully you’ll only have to make one repeat journey rather than topping up your kitchen supplies several times a week. Make your list throughout the week, or use an online delivery with pre-set items on it. You’ll save time, hassle and money as you’ll be less vulnerable to impulse purchases.
USE YOUR COMMUTING TIME
If you never get the chance to crack a book, then use your train journey to do just that. If you drive, try an audio book instead. Alternatively, you could do some knitting on the train or bus, or plan the week ahead.
IDENTIFY & NIX YOUR TIME-WASTERS
Every night, you’re looking for the kids’ toothbrushes and then in the morning it’s the schoolbags and bike helmets. This could be costing you 20 minutes a day or more, which is two hours or so each week! Award points for placing toothbrushes and bags back in their rightful places each morning and evening and see if you can reclaim some time.
GET READY BEFORE BEDTIME
Those schoolbags can be packed ready for action the next day and you can even make sandwiches for packed lunches. Even if you just lay the breakfast table and put out clothes, you’ll be cutting down on aggravation and chaos.
DON’T TRY TO DO EVERYTHING
You can actually say no to the occasional club, activity or social event, you know. Sometimes you need to retreat a bit and spend quiet time with your family and your slow cooker.
You can spend Saturday or Sunday cooking up big stews, curries or chillies and freezing portions for the weeks ahead. This prevents you from relying on junk food or scrambling to prepare something halfway nutritious at 6.30pm when you’re too tired to think. Aim to have one drawer of the freezer full of pots or bags of wholesome goodness so you’re never more than a microwave ping away from dinner.
TAKE TIME OUT
You’re all too aware that your family needs you, but what happens if you burn out? Or if you’re ratty and unapproachable? Have a long soak at the end of the day when the kids are in bed, go for a run or just catch up on your favourite TV shows. You’re worth it.