Top Time Saving Tips
The other enormous shock to my system about being a forty year old mother who spent most of her life free to do things at her own pace, is the amount of time I NO LONGER have! Everything has to now be done in double quick time and I have taken multi tasking to a whole other level. My husband works all day 5 days a week, so I mainly have to do everything flying solo.
I really did under estimate just how much of my time my daughters would take up in a day. Some days I really struggle to get myself and them washed, dressed and fed. I can be dressing our toddler and the baby is screaming because she wants to stand upright, but wants me to help!
Apart from looking after their personal food and hygiene needs, I have to take care of the chickens, the house, the laundry and the family meals. Of course I also have to fit in some mummy and daughter time to. We have to read and play together. I don’t want them having to amuse themselves all day and thinking that their mummy has vacuum cleaner and duster arms. So I am practising becoming the master of efficient time usage and trying to find as many ways as possible to prevent our home becoming a complete shambles.
I get up every day at around 6.45 get downstairs and fill and boil the kettle. I then prepare a bottle for the baby. I’m on medication that prevents me breast feeding. Next I fill up the drinker for the chickens. Then it’s on with my wellies, collect their food, put on some latex gloves and go to see our other girls!
I feed and water them, let them out, clean out their pooh – which most days looks like I’m keeping 3 bears in there instead of 3 birds! Then I collect our eggs and rush back into the house. A teabag is flung into a cup of boiling water and left to stew a bit while I go and get our baby. I get her changed, fed and dressed and she’ll play for a little while with some toys. That allows me to jump in the shower before our toddler descends upon us.
Once I get out of the shower and dressed, I might be able to drink my tea which having stewed for so long resembles tar. Then the thud thud thud will come from upstairs as though we are housing a baby elephant up there. Our toddler is up and ready for a day of rampaging and wrecking.
With the constant demands from both of them, I really have to stay motivated and organised to stay a little on top of things.
Here are a few little time saving tips that I have come up with so far – I suspect over time this list will grow.
1. Get their clothes for the next day ready the night before.
2. Sort the laundry the night before, get it in the machine ready to push the button in the morning when the Pjs and underwear are added.
3. Clean the bathroom and shower while you are in there. Once I am rinsed off from my shower, I spray my cleaner, scrub the shower and rinse. The rest of the room gets done as I dry myself and dress. It’s not a deep clean, I do that at the weekend when my hubby is here to amuse his daughters, but it does mean that if anyone visits you are not mortified at the thought of them using your bathroom! Keeping it reasonably clean and tidy through the week also makes my “proper” weekend clean a lot easier and less time consuming.
4. Make every second count. If you are in the kitchen waiting for a bottle to be ready do some little job, take 5 mins and put away dishes, or clean up the work surfaces, get the ingredients out for dinner. Whatever you can do in those few minutes, even if it’s just to fill and boil the kettle. I try and put away the dishes and give the sink a polish up and put a squirt of bleach down the plug hole. Having your kitchen reasonably tidy makes a huge difference. It also gives the impression that you are organised, even if you are not!
5. I said it in my money saving tips and I’ll repeat it here. Invest in a slow cooker – seriously. Not only can you whip up a multitude of tasty meals, but it will save you loads of time. Open the lid, chuck in your ingredients, switch on, walk away and leave it to fill your house with delicious home cooking smells. By dinner time your meal is ready and you will get the chance to have a HOT meal! A Rice Cooker is my other best buy kitchen item. Again like the slow cooker you just add your rice and water and leave it to it. You don’t have to stir or anything. Most of them also have a keep warm facility (very useful, if you have nappy changes or a sudden baby meltdown right at dinner time).
6. If babykins goes for a nap – note I said IF and not when (she has decided daytime sleeping is for wimps) I will use that time to mop my kitchen floor. I can then go and play with her big sister while it dries.
7. I use my kitchen blackboard and I write my jobs on it and cross them off as I get them done. It kind of works at keeping me motivated to do them, because there are definitely days when I just can’t be bothered, but seeing the list kicks me into gear to do them.
I will add more as I discover them, the above though, do work reasonably well at keeping my house (apart from the playroom, it is a whole other disaster area, but at least most of the mess is confined to there!) in a state that it gives the outward appearance of being clean and tidy – even if I know where all the junk is hidden, any visitors don’t! Appearances can be deceptive ha ha!
The problem I face is that I have wardrobes and clothes that badly need sorting and upstairs is full of hidden mess. My husbands little home office has become a dump ground, as has our utility/storage room. I somehow need to find the time and a means of amusing my daughters long enough to tackle those areas. I don’t really want to spend our entire weekend family time doing it, so I have got to find a way through the week to even begin to sort it. Hiring a skip and a burly man might work!
I have a few sure fire methods of keeping our toddler amused for about 1 hour, they work brilliantly at cooling the tantrum that is threatening to turn nuclear. How long they last into the future – who knows, they work today, tomorrow it could be a whole other kettle of fish.
1. Stickers. Our daughter is obsessed with stickers, she loves peeling them off and sticking them onto just about any surface – her baby sister is included as a surface, albeit a mobile one! I always make sure I have plenty of stickers in the house. If I need to amuse her until I can play along with her, then giving her a supply of stickers usually buys me some time.
2. Build up some arts & crafts supplies. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but over time buy some non toxic paints and thick brushes, crayons, coloured pencils, play doh, pva glue and lots of craft accessories. Things like pipe cleaners, feathers, pom poms, sequins and of course wobbly eyes. I bought an inexpensive drawer type tool box and have filled it with these things. I keep old newspapers and magazines for paper mache. Cereal boxes and toilet roll holders and paper plates are also a must keep. Then just put on old clothes, cover the furniture and get creative together, you will end up having enormous fun too. **tip** Have a packet of wipes close by, really close by.
3. Bake. Just some simple fairy cakes or biscuits, you don’t have to try to teach them how to make a perfect Black Forest Gateau. Yes, it’s messy, yes they may end up like cement because they haven’t quite mixed the ingredients well enough, or they have slipped in a mystery ingredient when your back was turned, but children love to bake and the pleasure they get from it makes up for the disaster than you will lift out of the oven and be forced to eat. In our house this is usually daddy’s job. He walks in the door after work and gets some odd looking thing thrust at him and is made to eat it.
4. Water. Ha ha more mess, but again our daughter loves to have a basin of water and some toy cups and pots to wash and pour water in and out of. She really could spend hours doing this, until she gets a little too cocky and decides she needs to transport cups of water all over the house. That’s toddlers for you!
We do tons of other things together and if the weather is fine, then we are usually outside, pestering the chickens, planting things and of course digging them back up again. Or we are at soft play or the park, with the occasional lunch out thrown in for good measure. The tips above however, are the guaranteed meltdown stoppers in my house. When I can see the rapture building, when she begins to get just a teensy bit more destructive than normal. If I whip out one of the above it usually stops the battle becoming full on war.
Any other tantrum stopping suggestions will be gratefully accepted!