kids

Eight life tricks every busy mum needs to know.

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I have three children (and a husband, a dog, a cat, three budgies and three fish) as well as a job, friends and family. If it weren’t for the busy mum hacks I’ve honed and developed over the years my family wouldn’t be washed, dressed or fed, not to mention all the work I have to busy myself with each and every minute of every day.

Here are the 8 busy mum hacks I SWEAR by that take multi-tasking to another level. Each is designed to save time so I get my “me time”. The more “me time” I get, the better I am at everything.

1. Do girl hair the night before.

Twice a week my daughter and I play hairdressers. I sometimes colour mine, I put a treatment in her curly locks, then I plait her hair so the next day I only have to take it out and style it quickly.

For mine, I do a full blow dry and then I wrap it up into a top knot. The next day I just shake it out and spray it. Done and done.

"Twice a week my daughter and I play hairdressers." Image: iStock.

2. Stock up on educational toys.

While we are doing our hair and having our girlie bonding time (added bonus) I have to make sure my boys are busy. By stocking up and good quality engaging toys I can rest assured that I will have plenty of time to do both our heads of hair knowing that my boys are happy and engaged. The fact they are learning something at the same time removes all of the guilt. Boys have it so easy when it comes to hair.

3. Never cook only one meal.

Always cook two dinners at a time - one for that night and one for later in the week. Some afternoons and evenings get so busy that you can end up feeling tired and drained and cooking dinner is the last thing you want to do. Or you might not have time to cook a proper meal. That’s when you get out the pot of spaghetti or heat up the baked chicken. It’s a time-saver, a money-saver as well as much healthier than going the fast food route.

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4. Delegate.

Repeat after me: You are not your children’s slave. Even the youngest of children can learn to pack up after themselves and tidy up piles of toys. My children were putting their dirty clothes in the hamper as soon as they could walk. The trick is to make it fun and start it young.

5. Freeze everything.

Children can be fussy eaters. Even those who try new foods know what they are like. The trick is to never run out. And because shopping for specific food items or baking can be so time-consuming, it’s a good idea to buy or bake enough to last the month, using all the freezer space you have.

Repeat after us: freeze everything. Image: iStock.

6. Always hang your favourite clothes inside.

I hang all our favourite clothes – the ones we wear the most – inside on a clothes horse to dry or on the dining table chairs. That way I don’t have to worry about it raining and by doing it the night before, by the next day they are dry and ready to wear. This is particularly useful when it comes to kids’ play clothes and your work wear.

Better yet, put them on a coat hanger to avoid any ironing. And once your kids start school, use this same system for their school uniforms. You’ll never be caught out by bad weather.

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7. Embrace online shopping.

I only have time to grocery shop in person every few weeks. The rest of the time I rely on online shopping to get the weekly shop done and the great thing is I can do it anywhere. Sometimes I grocery shop in the parking lot before picking up the kids. Other times I’ll do it on the bus on the way to and from work. You have to make good use of all of your time and whenever you have a spare few minutes you can get the groceries done, pick up a new outfit and stock up on kids toys and art supplies for birthdays, Christmas presents and other events that are coming up.

"I rely on online shopping to get the weekly shop done." Image: iStock.

8. Schedule “me time”.

When you feel rested and healthy and happy, you are in a much better place to deal with stress and cope with a particularly busy day. When you can, schedule “me time”. You don’t have to do anything fancy. For me I like to go for a light jog while listening to music. My kids know they can’t come with me because that is my special time. Sometimes if I am going somewhere I leave earlier or come back late, taking the time to go for a walk or sit down in a café. Whatever relaxes you and feeds you should be scheduled, and same goes for your partner. Otherwise it won’t happen. Making it happen means you’ll always have enough energy and patience for your family.

What is your busy mum life hack?