Sunday 25 July 2021

Seven Ways for a Busy Mum to Save Time

Seven different ideas of how you can be organised and save time to make family life efficient and enjoyable.
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

Any mum can tell you that it can be relentless trying to keep the home running smoothly, the kids happy and dropped off to all the places they need to go and also to work or volunteer as well.  Or maybe you're busy supporting your husband behind the scenes as his work takes him out of the house for long hours or periods of time.

Whatever your family situation is, when you are looking after a home, children and possibly pets too, things can get really manic and we all need a few ideas of how we can streamline and be more efficient with our time. Just think how great it would be if you could put aside a couple of hours a week from your chores to spend on yourself, doing whatever you fancy. Maybe having a nice long bath, a coffee with a friend or a trip to the pilates studio.

Do your shopping online

Let's start simple, shopping online is a real timesaver and it can also be a money saver too, which is a win: win situation. If you find a supermarket that you like, you can set up your shopping list and add it to the cart each week and then just add or drop a few items to make sure you have everything in for your weekly menu. 

You can choose the time that suits you and your shopping arrives right at your front door. I then have a trundle truck by the door that I unload the shopping into and can wheel it into the kitchen, and get the kids to help me put it away. Depending on the age of your children you can either make this a fun learning activity, talking through the colours of the vegetables, or perhaps counting items, or with older children, they can earn screen time credits or pocket money by being helpful.

Batch Cook

You know what they say, cook once and eat twice, or if you are really good at batch cooking, maybe even eat far more times. Everyday family meals like bolognese, hot pot, chilli, curry, soups etc can be cooked in great big batches and then either frozen as individual meals or maybe in a portion size big enough to feed the whole family - whatever suits you best. 

I have a friend who spends one Sunday afternoon a month preparing meals for the whole month for her family. She says it is the best thing she ever started and proves a real-time saver, as all she has to do on a daily basis is maybe cook some rice or veggies to go with the main course that just needs reheating. Of course, you have to have a super big freezer to do this, but if you have space and enjoy batch cooking then why not?

Use an online pharmacy

If you have a regular prescription to collect, or you just need items that you can't get from the supermarket then make sure you check out about using an online Chemist. I know it is quite a new thing for many people and some may be dubious, but an online pharmacy/ chemist is regulated in the same way that a physical one is. Just check on the website (normally in the footer area) that they are registered with the GPhC and most will show a 'Registered pharmacy' logo and registration number. 

I've found this to be a really good time saver in the last couple of months, since I swapped,  as my local chemist is always super busy and nothing ever seems to be ready when I arrive to collect it. As my son has terrible psoriasis he is constantly needing more treatments, so it is convenient to have them arrive at our door. 

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

Have regular kid swaps

Have you got friends who have children of similar ages? Yes, well great you can organise some childcare swaps, this is so useful especially during the school holidays. I often find it is no harder to look after four kids than it is to supervise two of them. In fact, when there are more they can often amuse themselves far better and will leave me to get on with some jobs.

So chat to a friend, who you know parents in a similar way to how you do and plan our your diaries for some kids swap days, so you both get some time alone to either enjoy or to get all those jobs done that are hard to do with the kids around. 

Establish a routine

Personally, I feel that having a routine makes a massive difference. Children work better with clear boundaries and being in a routine helps them to know what to expect and when. This will often result in less time wasted due to tantrums and unmet expectations. You might even be the lucky parent to a child who starts to pre-empt what they know is coming next and gets on with their tasks before time.

A part of your routine you can prepare all the school clothes, packed lunches, school bags, coats, shoes etc the night before to make the next morning much smoother. In fact, there were times when my children were younger that we literally set the table with everything except perishables the night before so that whoever got down first could just get the last bits out of the fridge and we were all set. 

Have a chores rota

Realistically the adults will do most of the jobs that need doing to keep the home running well but it's so good to enable your children to feel helpful. Family life should include being involved in age-appropriate chores, so draw up a shortlist or rota so your children know what part they have to play in family life.

For very small children it might be about picking up their toys and putting them away and older ones can help with all sorts, like meal preparation, dishwasher duties, taking out the bins etc. Make sure there is a consequence for not doing their chores so that they learn to understand that things do not just happen, someone always has to make them happen. I think natural consequences are often the best, rather than it being a punishment, that your child might back against. The teenager who doesn't have her favourite clean shirt for a special night out will generally remember in the future when she needs to put her washing in the laundry bin or washing machine.

Clean and tidy as you go

Cleaning doesn't have to be a massive job at the end of the day, or once a week. Try to do the small jobs as you go along. Teach your kids that they can only move on to a different task once they have completed packed away the last. There is no need for it to reach 6pm and there is LEGO, drawing, a dolls house and cars all out on the floor. The children will learn the joy of a tidy space if they just tidy up as part of their normal daily activities.

When my children were younger I focused on a room a day to keep the cleaning manageable and my head stress-free. Your home doesn't have to look perfect, it just needs to be hygienic and manageable. No child grows up and tells their own children about the showhome they lived in, but they do talk about the wonderful hours spent making a den with their mother, or the massive crafting sessions they used to have. 

I hope you can adopt at least one or two of these ideas to help free up some time in your busy life. 

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Seven different ideas of how you can be organised and save time to make family life efficient and enjoyable.

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