Being a parent is stressful. And one big reason it’s stressful is that you are doing 50 per cent more jobs than you should be doing in order to stay sane.
There is one way to mitigate all this pressure, however – and that is by being organised. But not just normal organised. Super organised.
We’re talking mum-of-triplets with full-time job and committed member of the PTA organised. A Kick Arse Super Mum.
We persuaded some KASMs to reveal their slickest life hacks, the ones that help them gain time and keep them saintly serene.
Or at least keep them from exploding more than once a day, which is probably the best most of us can hope for.
And here they are, listed below. Your blood pressure can thank us later.
Prepare for the next day the night before
Lay out clothes on the bedroom floor, keep the changing bag fully stocked and ready to go, lay out the breakfast table before you go to sleep. If you are going out, put the pram in the car boot.
Slick up your mealtimes
Freeze kid-sized meals and snacks such as banana cake, as well as biscuit dough for emergency bake sales/play dates. Have frozen batches of tomato sauce for instant spaghetti and meatballs dinner, chicken and rice or pizza sauce.
Use the slow cooker so you can cook while in your sleep, or start it cooking as you leave your home for work knowing there will be a hot meal ready in time for the kids’ dinner.
If you are particularly over-achieving, make a meal plan at the same time as you do the internet shop. Oh, and make sure you have enough beakers and Tupperware stocked in your kitchen so you’re not washing as you cook (while being screamed at by a hungry toddler).
Kit out the car
Keep a box of toys that are changed regularly to keep your little darlings amused. Also keep a changing bag that stays in the car stocked with nappies, wipes and change of clothes (make sure clothes/nappies are the right size).
Consider having a bag with picnic rugs, balls and frisbees permanently in the boot – this way if you need to go on a picnic all you have to worry about is taking food.
Surround yourself with music
Play this to lower stress levels. Especially on long car journeys. A radio in the kitchen can also help keep everyone yoga-teacher-calm.
Stock up the present box
Buy up gifts when you see them in the sales. Keep cards, wrapping paper, Sellotape and scissors in the box so everything is there when you need it.
Keep a family calendar
Use an electronic diary, shared between all the significant people in the home. No more arguments about who is going out after work next Wednesday.
If you add all the info you need – venue, address, whether you need to take a pair of thick socks – then you don’t end up panic-searching for the email.
Get handy with spreadsheets
Similarly, have a spreadsheet outlining all bills, with account numbers, due dates, contact details, etc.
Keep a holiday packing list that you keep on the computer and amend and change as the children get older.
Chart everyone’s activities
Who needs to be where, when? Which adult needs to leave early/get home late on which days?
Do your bottle admin
Wash, sterilise and fill bottles with water and put bottles in the fridge before you go to sleep.
I know, painful but boy does it make life easier.
Wake up an hour earlier than your kids wake, so you can have a shower, empty the dishwasher or even – gasp – grab a cup of tea before the breakfast-demanders awake.
Battle the bugs
Organise your online food order
Have a basics shop saved within your online shopping account so you can just order it all in a minute when you’re running low on food and time.
Create holding bays in the kitchen/living room
Baskets where you can stash stuff (to be sorted out later on) equals instant tidiness so you can relax. Until you discover your unpaid tax bill six months later, of course.
Stock up on sticker and colouring books
Have a stash of these ready for trips out. Also have a snack box in the kitchen here so you can stock up on Yo-Yos or rice cakes as you are leaving.
Don’t forget your toothbrush, ever
Keep a set of these in the kitchen, so you don’t have to traipse back to the bathroom after breakfast.
And, for when you are really pushed and the school run is particularly late/traumatic, keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in the glove compartment of your car.
A little packed lunch tip
Put a frozen Frube inside the packed lunch box on summer days. This keep everything cool and will have defrosted by lunchtime.
Ignore all of the above and just lower your standards with each child. A sound option to consider.