We know you do a LOT for the little people in your lives (and a fair bit for the big people too) and whether you have one child or 10, a job or a business to run, everyone is juggling more than they ever thought possible. Somehow we manage it, but wouldn’t it be great to carve out a little bit of extra time for yourself in your action-packed day? So, in honour of Mother’s Day, here are 11 time-saving tips to help you streamline your mum life!
1. Have your groceries home delivered
This is by far our favourite time-saving tip! Aussie Farmers Direct home delivers fresh groceries straight to your door. Select one of their fruit and veggie boxes and you’ll get a regular delivery of in-season, Australian-grown produce, along with recipes to help you get dinner going. They also deliver fresh milk, meat and seafood, fresh bread and more! You don’t even have to write a shopping list – create a regular rolling order or manage your deliveries online. Loads of mums tell us how convenient it is to have fresh bread for school sandwiches, lunchbox snacks, or milk for the breakfast rush dropped on their doorstep, without having to lift a finger.
2. Create a chore chart
Yep, we know it’s sometimes quicker to just do it all yourself, but if you never give the kids a chance to learn how to do these things, you’ll never know how much they could help! Even little kids can do basics like putting their dirty clothes in the wash basket and making their bed in the morning. Set up rewards and incentives and put them to work!
3. Start meal planning
Having a meal plan will save you loads of time in the long run. Winter is great for slow cooker meals and soups. Try this idea from Mama & Baby Love (pictured above): spend an evening chopping up veggies and pre-portioning slow cooker meals in to plastic bags, then dump the contents in each morning and dinner will be ready when you get home! You can do the same with breakfast smoothies – cut up fruit and berries and freeze along with cubes of frozen yogurt. Then throw them in the blender with some milk in the morning. When you’re cooking from scratch, double the portion and freeze: get two meals out of everything you cook.
Multi-tasking is a mum’s natural state. We answer phone calls while feeding the baby, cook dinner while mediating sibling conflicts, and sing nursery rhymes while hanging out the washing. Multi-tasking sometimes gets a bad rap for pulling your attention in different directions, but pairing a bit of mindless busywork with your everyday activities can definitely save you time. One of our latest Facebook polls confirmed we all have a HUGE clean washing pile – so do your folding each night in front of the TV while watching Offspring. Another favourite tip is to clean the shower while you are in it!
5. Pre-sort the laundry
Create three laundry baskets, each labelled darks, whites and colours – then teach the family to put their dirty clothes in the correct bin. Yep, you’ll still need to check pockets for tissues, but it will make chucking a quick load on before daycare drop-off a lot easier! Even the pre-schoolers can join in if you colour-code the baskets or label them with pictures, and it’s a good way to teach concepts like opposites (dark versus light). Win win!
6. Stop ironing
Yep, just stop. Doona covers don’t need ironing. School uniforms don’t need ironing. Men’s business shirts, OK, they need ironing. But perhaps the man of the house could learn to do that himself?
7. Get out the door quicker
If you find yourself sacrificing precious sleep-ins because you need to get up earlier and earlier to tackle the morning chaos, it’s time to talk strategy. Create an ‘out the door’ station near your front door where you keep supplies of everything you need to leave the house: umbrellas, sun hats, beanies, wipes, sunscreen etc. It makes packing your bag quickly a cinch. If you have school-aged kids, create a school organisation station near the door or try the ‘daily shelf’ trick: Place baskets for each day of the week on a set of shelves, and fill them with items needed on those days as you think of them: forms, library books etc. Then in the morning simply fill the school bag with that day’s contents!
8. Set up a babysitting exchange
Swapping babysitting with friends is nothing new – but if you get a bit more organised, you and your parents’ group can really benefit. Set up a babysitting co-op where you accrue hours or points by babysitting other people’s kids, then redeem your points for childcare from the group. There are even websites like sit4sit that will help you track all the details. The more people you have in your group, the more likely you are to have someone available on the night you want off!
9. Car pool
When it comes to school pick ups and drop offs or weekend activities, partner with some other mums to alternate ferrying the kids around. You’ll get a well-deserved break when it’s not your ‘turn’ and less cars means less parking hassles!
10. Get Appy
There are loads of Apps out there designed to help you increase your productivity and save time. Shopping list Apps, ‘to do’ list and reminder Apps, menu planning Apps and more. Download a smartphone banking App so you can pay your bills while watching the kids play at the park. Or quickly decide what’s for dinner with an entire cookbook at your fingers. If you’ve got a new bubba, there are Apps to help you keep track of feedings and even packing list Apps to help you remember what needs to go in the daycare bag on Tuesdays!
11. Diarise ‘time off’
Don’t let the extra time you’re saving get absorbed back in to the daily routine. Make sure you set aside time off to do what you love regularly, whether it’s as simple as a coffee in a cafe by yourself every Saturday morning, a chance to read your novel for 30 minutes each day, or a regular training session at the gym. We’ve heard loads of great ways of structuring me-time – but the key word is structure. Some mums have an agreement with their partners that gives them half an hour alone when their husband comes home each evening. Others alternate weekend sleep-ins or take turns putting kids to bed while the other parent chills out. Whatever you do, make sure it’s agreed up front so you can enjoy guilt-free time away. It makes us better parents!
(this is a sponsored post for Aussie Farmers Direct)