So after asking what everyone wanted to read about this was the topic that appealed the most – Life Hacks! I sat and pondered and wrote quite a few pages on things to make life as a working mum easier, tips for dealing with a newborn and a toddler and helpful advice for round the house. But it all just sounds so bloody patronising!! We all know the little tricks that can make our lives easier – it just so happens that life gets in the way and our brain farts and we dont actually apply any of them! So I want you to take all of the following with a pinch of salt. No one actually puts everything into practice, those ‘instagram/pinterest perfect mums’ are a figment of your imagination and someone who appears to be really put together is most likely kicking like fuck underneath it all to stay afloat! Hopefully some of this advice will get filtered away and come in useful at some point.
For the busy mummas.
•Instead of having the kids clothes seperated into tops, trousers ect in their drawers; start putting together outfits and fold them together. Makes getting clothes ready for nursery, childcare much easier and saves your husband dressing them like tramps (appologies to all the amazing dads out there! My hubby just seems to be a fashion retard and thinks nothing of matching a red skirt with a green vest and orange cardi for baby girl!)
•Menu plan! Cant stress enough how much simpler this will make your life! Also saves heaps of cash. Set out time to write out a weeks worth of lunches and dinners then plan your shopping around this. Stick a copy up in the fridge so you remember what needs defrosting and whoevers home first knows whats to be made. Saves food waste and arguments come 7pm when nothing is ready for dinner and you end up having pasta and a jar of sauce for the fifth night in a row!
•Clean the bathroom when you go for a shower. Keep those flash bathroom wipes in the bathroom cabinet (or at a push use baby wipes that will always be kicking about) and once you’re out the shower after work or really quickly in the morning, give the place a going over. Saves it getting to the point where it resembles a public toilet – especially if you have boys!
•Get rid of the laundry basket! Best thing we ever did. Start just putting dirty washing in the washing machine-when you can’t fit any more in you know its piling up so sort it out and get a load on! I can’t tell you how much this has saved my sanity. Now I never have piles of washing only ever two loads at most. (My tumble drier and ironing basket are another matter entirely and I’m sometimes quite delusional about whas going to happen to it, I hate ironing.)
•Invest in a handheld hoover and attach the holder to somewhere you can see it. We have a Dyson Animal and seriously have no idea what we did before it! So easy to whip it round to get crumbs and mess and keep the place looking respectable. Like the bathroom it still needs a proper going over every week but for keeping it clean during the week it’s so handy.
Tips for juggling two kids!
•Invest in stair gates and child locks! Stick a stair gate across the living room doorway then you can get on with stuff. Oherwise you will have the baby crawling all over the place and the toddler getting into everything.
•Include the eldest in everything. My son gets me wipes and nappies for changing time. Helped feed his baby sister when she moved to solids and all when he was only 2. (Im a slave driver) I think it helped them get on.
•Use people. Get friends and relative on side to take one kids for an hour so you can have some one -on-one time with the other. Don’t hesitate to do this it’s not ‘picking’ between them but giving them both some quality time to have attention purely on them.
•Sink baths are perfectly acceptable! There are a few nights where I will fill the kitchen sink after dinner and dunk the kids in one after the other for a scrub down rather than spend ages filling the bath. They get a reasonable clean and find it really fun-make sure all dinner stuff is well out of reach first! And towels at the ready. Makes life a bit easier.
•Make sure your other half is on board. Don’t fall into the trap of doing everything – I’m a complete control freak so I’m still working on this! I complain when husbter doesn’t do anything but then shout at him when he does something and it’s not how I do it, no winning. I know I need to relax about things a lot more and accept the fact that others are perfectly capable and my way isn’t the only way (I’ll believe that one day Im sure!)
General Life hacks
•Glue a hook behind the highchair and hang bibs on it, means you’ll always have some handy.
•Stick a cupcake case over the end of an ice lolly stick to stop sticky fingers.
•Buy spinkles. Seriously kids will eat almost anything if you put sprinkes on. Fruit salad for pudding!
•Invest in a shoes rack or basket for the front door and teach the kids to put their shoes in it when you get home. I was suprised how quickly my toddler adapted to this and its saves heaps of time no more searching for missing trainers-well except mine!
•Put your dressing gown back on once you’re dressed in the morning-no more sticky handprints on your work trousers or snot smeared up your jumper! Just remember to whip it off before you leave! Best hack ever!
•Have a box in the garage(or loft) where you chuck toys that are past their best or not being played with. Once a month you can go through it and see if they’ve been missed, if not they can be binned, sold or donated.
•Write out all contact numbers and emergency numbers and keep it on a pinboard on the kichen. Means that when you have someone looking after the kids you don’t have to re write it all you can just show them where all the numbers are.
•Have a car bag. Fill it with changes of clothes for the kids, nappies and wipes, a towel (especially if you have a travel sick tot!) Bottles of juice and some snacks with a long shelf life. Keep some jackets in the car and some of those hand warmers too. Saved my life when i broke down on the motorway on a snowy day with a 1 year old!
•Synch calanders with your other half. I run on my mobile planner, I have to with my shift pattern. So we have collated our work, childcare and social engagements so we know when we have free time and who is doing what. Saves for any arguments or a clash.
•Make doctors/dentists appointments for first thing in the morning as it tends to mean you have less chance of waiting due to them overrunning. And when you are waiting with kids every minute helps!
•Buy birthday cards in bulk. Hide away any bags of sweets the kids are given that they don’t need along with unwanted presents-they always get given duplicate stuff. Then you can look like the most ‘on top of it mum’ when someones birthday comes around! No more mad dash to the corner shop hoping they have a card suitable for a 3 year old boy or having to give a 2 year old a box of milk tray cos thats all the shop had!
•Buy a pad of thank you notes. Come in really handy as you always need to thank people for helping out or for gifts.
And the best hack of all? Stop feeling guilty and just say no! Don’t say you can make an event that will stress you out. Don’t agree to bake for a group when you hate baking and don’t have time. No one actually minds if you are just honest. None of us are Wonder Woman.
Well I hope you manage to take something from all this! Let me know if you found anything uselful and share with me your top life hacks!