There never seems to be enough time in the day to achieve all it is we set out to do in the demanding role that is Motherhood does there?
Routinely, things we intend to do are invariably forgotten, overlooked because we're running late for a million reasons or done haphazardly because we can simply manage no more.
Chasing time is one thing we're all guaranteed to be doing as Mums no matter how many kids we have. It's part of our job description and industry and no-one would even consider disputing that.
Motherhood is, after all, a marathon of doing stuff in an endless round.
I am always trying to squeeze so much into each day. Sometimes I have to stop myself when my logical brain tells me that all I want to do in a few, short, 24 hours is just plain undoable.
Like everyone, I too want the clean home, the shopping done, meals organised, the laundry and cleaning taken care of and time to relax with my kids and Husband and some me time too.
Honestly, I'm worn out just reading it all in a sentence let alone trying to achieve it!
The following are some of my time saving tips I regularly use to get me through my hectic days and weeks with six demanding children in my life:
Start your day earlier: Yep, get up sooner, even if it's just 10 minutes earlier. If you rise before your children with a clear mind in the peace of the morning, it's quite amazing what you can achieve. It's my most productive timeslot in my day.
Ten minutes is time to enjoy an uninterrupted shower or unpack the dishwasher; throw on a load of washing and eat a decent breakfast. (Not all at once mind you but pick your priorities and go with them first.) I rise 30 minutes each working day before the kids and do some or all of these tasks if I can manage it. It's part of my me time (believe it or not) and it's also a great time to get paperwork filed, bills taken care of, school notices sorted and kids clothing organised for their day. (Great to blog at this time of day too!)
Tell the kids to stay in bed until a reasonable time each day. This one won't work for everyone but my kids stay in their rooms on a school morning until 7.30am. This gives me 30 minutes each day to prepare their lunches in a kitchen free of their busy presence and distraction. There is no extra mess, fighting or missing bench space as I get the day underway. My kids have learned to sleep in, play quietly or read until I call them. It took a while to arrange but this method is golden!
Roster and rotate your housework: Make Monday a floors day, Tuesday a washing day, Wednesday a shopping / errands day etc. Work out roughly what type of plan seems to be happening in your life around your daily duties right now and write it down. Try to incorporate how it's working into a new routine. Chip away at housework a little at a time - let's remember it's endless!
It's great to have a clean, organised house but it doesn't have to happen all in one day. Be kind to yourself and spread the work out. No one is judging you except yourself.
Keep treats in the house. Treats are an amazing motivator for children to get them on their feet and doing what you want fast. Have lollies and chocolates ready to hand out in exchange for quick chores. Never hand out treats unless you can get something in return! Have a child bring in the washing, vacuum their bedroom or pick up their toys in exchange for the prize. Modify your tasks to suit the age of each child and treat them all to equal praise. Chores with treats are a regular thing on a Sunday evening at our house. The kids all enthusiastically help to restore our home to an acceptable standard in time for the Monday morning rush.
In line with the above, try lowering your standards. One thing I have absolutely had to do with the arrival of each new family member is lower my expectations of how and when things should be done and what to expect as a result. I used to stress at the mess in the house on weekends especially when everyone was home but now I let it slide (it's hard!) before calling everyone up on it prior to dinner (or after) when we all throw an effort in to restore some order.
Enjoy takeout once in a while and bank the time saving benefits. Every Friday night is takeout night at our house. This is not only something that we all look forward to but the time I save by not having to organise a meal once a week is very much appreciated and put to good use in other ways. Try an online restaurant ordering service such as Eat Now with a selection of local restaurants available to you all in the one place, who will deliver at your designated dinner time. On our takeout nights, my extra hour gained is spent relaxing in front of the television, doing other household tasks in preparation for the weekend or even listening to my prep child read.
Shop online as much as possible. Buy your groceries online in one big shop once a week, fortnight or month depending on your family's needs. Saving your favourite shopping list online is an option with many large supermarket websites which means you can fill your cart in under 10 minutes and have it paid for and a delivery scheduled within a small quarter of an hour. Compare that to actually going shopping which can take an hour or more and you've saved yourself loads of time. Shop for everything online unless you are able to visit a local shopping centre which meets your needs and you really love shopping in person!
Children's activities: If your kids want to learn something new or join a club, try to avoid signing them up for weeknight attendances. Squeezing more into your already 'bursting at the seams' day will just become stressful and impact on you in other detrimental ways. If you can find a Saturday alternative, take it up instead. There's nothing like enjoying a casual class on a Saturday morning after a good night's sleep for all involved. Incorporate exercise into it too by walking to and from your child's activity if practical. Make it work for everyone so that it doesn't become a chore.
Prioritise paperwork: File every bill and important document as soon as it arrives so that you are always on top of payments and duties to be done. Invest in a filing cabinet, desktop document trays or tubs and sort out your important documents immediately. Being organised will save you so much time and stress. Find a good App for your mobile or use your phone's calendar to stay on top of things at the top of your to-do list daily.
Invest in a chalkboard for your kitchen. I popped one of these up after I grew exhausted by the same questions from my kids day in, day out. I regularly write messages, meals and shopping onto the board and invite other family members to do the same. This takes some of the pressure off to be central to so many all the time and involves others in decision making and participation in household tasks. Run out of milk or toilet paper? Don't tell Mum, write it on the board where it will be seen when it matters. Kids like blackboards and chalk and need little prompting in order to keep the system going!
Finally, make time for rest and relaxation every day. When baby's sleeping, kids are at school or in care, take the time to have a break. Take a nap, go for a walk, use the treadmill, watch television or read a book; whatever it is that makes you happy. An unhappy Mum is unable to carry out her important role effectively so be sure to remember yourself in the rush of the day to day that defines Motherhood.
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Do you have any brilliant time saving tips?
How do you make time for yourself each day?