No promises that I can actually deliver on this title, mind. Mum guilt is a tricky bastard, looming ever-present and only slightly hushed by a large gin.
I’m ever so sorry, but I’m going to witter on again about being a working mum. It’s quite prevalent to me at the moment, you see, and to be frank I have sod all else to write about because I’m surviving on a very limited base cycle of eat, sleep, work, repeat. Work here denotes office stuff, parenting stuff, and gym stuff. Therein you have my current life.
Over the last month, though, I’ve tried to be a bit savvy with my planning, using my inner control freak to hopefully limit the amount of proverbial bollocks I drop. The main thing I’ve realised as a working mum of two smalls is that there’s just NO TIME anymore. Every minute is precious, especially on my work days. Dawdling, faffing, tantrums and the like have no place in my house, and that’s just my husband. Organisation is truly key, so here’s a sneaky peak into my tried and tested ways to keep the wheels on the track.
Don’t be hating because it’s hassle – you know it makes sense. I meal plan at the start of every single month: I sit down with a bucket of coffee, my Paperchase meal planner notepad, and some recipe books with “quick” in the title (basically my whole collection). Yes, it’s boring. No, I don’t stick to it 100%. But it does mean that I can look at the month overall and check that we’re not eating too much shit, we’re making the most of big buys such as a joint of meat, and we’re getting a nice variety of dishes.
I’ve also had to learn to adjust the plan for my workdays. The first Monday I was back in the office, the meal plan stated that dinner was to be chicken enchiladas. Fab, love those. Except standing at the cooker at 5.15pm, with a chatty toddler and a squawking baby thrusting herself out of the highchair, I was NOT up for dicing raw meat and veg, pan frying it and then waiting for it to cook in the oven. So now, I’ve adapted my Sunday meals to make sure I have bung-in-the-oven leftovers for a Monday. I’ll make two lasagnas, or make enough spag bol to have the leftovers with micowaved jacket spuds. If all else fails – cheese. Cheese makes most meals sing even if they’re burned and you don’t fancy eating exactly the same thing you ate yesterday.
6.30am is not the best time to be making well informed outfit choices for the three females in mi casa. So it stands to reason that picking out our outfits the night before really helps to save time and not get us laughed out of town for wearing utter shite. Disclaimer: I still sometimes look like utter shite. I’ll even organise the pile in the order it needs to be thrown on – so for Moo, it’s nappy at the top of the pile, then vest, tights, dress, and cardigan. You get the idea.
I have previously taken this too far though, by getting out the five outfits needed for that week. It made the room look messy, with these teetering piles of clothes, and it probably took me longer to plan five “looks” in one go than it does to plan one a day. There’s a fine line between white hot organisation skills and overachiever burnout.
Ok, I imagine everyone already does this because after one day of wrestling coats out of the cupboard and losing my car keys inside a wellington boot, I realised that I was doing it the hard way. Before I go to bed, I get out our bags, shoes and coats and I line them up by the front door, with my keys next to my bag. That way, when the time comes to get OUT because we’re almost very LATE, it’s just a quick assembly exercise in the hallway and then off we march.
A small aside here about my keys. Since moving house, I’ve not had a stable relationship with them, having already lost the spare key on the way to the gym and then leaving my entire key collection in the lock on the OUTSIDE of the front door, overnight, including my car key. Which would open the car, parked two meters away. Could’ve been a silly!!
Never Skip Wash Day
I don’t know about you, but we do a load of washing every single day. At least one. On a Sunday my washing machine doesn’t know what’s hit it, as I do the towels, sheets and whites as well as my disgusting gym clobber from that morning. We’ve just got a tumble dryer which is rocking the absolute bones of my world but before this, especially in winter, if we skipped a day we’d have to hang clothes from every stationary surface indoors to get it dry. I was looking at some old photos recently and there was a rare, gorgeous one of me and the good husband, but in the background were the sodding freshly washed sofa cushion covers draped over the doorframe.
Oh my god though, that tumble dryer. If it had a heart I’d marry it.
I’ve just started to keep plastic storage containers in our bathroom cupboard, for each of us. They contain spares of everything – so the girls’ toothpaste, shampoo, bubble bath, my husband’s manly man smelling man stuff, and my multitude of girly crap. There’s another one for cleaning supplies, and another one with the medicine tin and first aid kit. It means that rather than rummaging around in a plastic treasure box looking for a new bottle of mouthwash, I can instantly see who is running low on what.
Er, I may have accidentally ordered 12 bottles of shower gel from Amazon so while everyone else has a respectably sized caddy, I’ve had to draft in a literal archive box. Archives of shower gel, that’s how I roll.
I hope these tips have helped, anyway. Good luck with the whole working parent thing – you’ll feel like you don’t know your arse from your elbow, but an erroneous overstock of shower gel will give you a nice smelling elbow at least.
-SJW February 2017