When you can’t even get two minutes alone to complete a basic bodily function in peace, there’s very little chance you’re going to be whipping up gourmet meals every night in your sparkling clean kitchen. Thankfully, there are ways to stay on top of what needs to be done. We’ve even discovered how to make sure there are healthy, delicious meals on the table each night without having to set foot in a supermarket or leaf through recipe books.
1. Prep the night before
Yes, we’re all exhausted at the end of the day. And we all promise ourselves that we’ll get up early and make the lunches, do the dishes, fold the laundry and so on. But mornings are manic in most households, as everyone is rushing to get ready for work, school, daycare.
Even something simple like organising the kids’ clothes for the next day can be such a huge help (no last minute rush to try and find matching socks).
2. Get the kids involved
While it may seem counterproductive, allowing the kids to ‘help’ is no more troublesome than being interrupted every 30 seconds. Kids love having a sense of responsibility, even when they’re toddlers, so give them their own jobs.
For little ones, it may be as simple as popping the washing into the machine as you sort it. For older children, things like washing the dishes and making lunches ready for the next day are perfectly acceptable options. And remember – it’s all an investment in the future! More hands to help around the house will pay off as they get older.
3. Outsource what you can
Take help when it’s offered – never be too proud to let your mum, dad or a friend help out if you’re snowed under. Or you can pay someone else to do those jobs that are the bane of your existence – a cleaner, someone to iron clothes – there’s no shame in upping your cleaning game!
Doing your shopping online (and not just groceries) can save you precious time otherwise spent hauling children around the shops – and you might even find that signing up to a weekly meal subscription service saves you not only time but money, since it should eliminate unnecessary purchases. Plus, you won’t have to think about what to cook!
4. A list is your friend
I am a huge believer in lists. Being able to visualise what you need to do, and having the satisfaction of crossing off each task gives you a tangible way to see what you’ve achieved. You can also make up lists for the kids, so they know what’s expected of them in the morning (eat breakfast, brush teeth, put away toys).
A list helps you to work methodically through everything, and will help you remember what needs to be done.
While we’re all used to using our smart devices for everything, I much prefer an old school paper list – something that can be pinned up and seen by all – so that every member of the family can see exactly what it takes to keep the household running – and perhaps chip in and help!
Also, make sure you use an app with a family calendar so you can all be on the same page, so to speak. Many schools have apps which allow you to add events to your smartphone’s calendar – it’s an easy way to keep tabs on what’s happening, and get reminders.
5. Fake it ’till you make it
Confession: we all have laundry piles. Sometimes they’re Everest-style, sometimes they’re a little more modest. Don’t sweat it – iron as you go (who has the time or inclination to spend two hours ironing for the week?), and fold what you need to get you through.
Use life’s modern conveniences – the dishwasher, clothes’ dryer – and don’t feel guilty. These things were created to make our lives easier!
Remember that life with little ones is always going to be busy, so the best tip to help calm the chaos is to be organised.