Donegal mum Maria Rushe shares five parenting hacks to make it much easier to get back into routine.
So it’s time to finally get back into our grooves, however wobbly they may be this year, and return to normality and reality with everyone back to School, Childcare, activities and work.
I don’t know how you other Mammies are feeling, but I for one am exhaustipated even thinking about beginning the balancing of all the plates. It’s been a long 5 months.
Even though the girls have been up at Stupid O’Clock most mornings over the past 5 months, suddenly having to have everyone out the door, fully dressed and even partially fed, is giving me the heebyjeebies. I may have to set their alarms for 5am to get out of the house by 8am.
It will take a few weeks to get back into the swing of it, but here are a few things that I do each year which do help, if only a little bit.
- Meal plan:
I do out a plan for the week of what meals we’ll be eating and then base the shopping list on what I needed for these. I’ll get back into the habit of making extra dinner for me to have as lunch the next day too. Especially now as space and time will be limited in the staffroom. Ready to eat lunch boxes are going to be essential for me.
Planning the week’s meals might seem a bit boring, but it saves a fortune and allows me to plan meals around how much time I have each evening too. Less waste and an empty fridge by the weekend.
Also, chop fruit (Melon etc) before you put it into the fridge as you unpack the shopping to allow for faster lunch making! Oh. And I have a keep the stuff they like in sandwiches in one container in the fridge so I just have to lift it out when making lunches.
- All hail the Slowcooker:
Unfortunately, with The Him and myself working 482 hours per week, family dinners are only a weekend thing here, so yes I usually end up cooking twice a day as the girls are often in bed before he’s home. When I’m off, this is not a problem, but now back at work, where you have to condense your whole day into 2 hours, it becomes one. And so my trusty slowcooker will be returned to regular use.
Also, big pots of curry/chilli etc can last a few days and freezing random portions allows for the evenings where my plan fails!
- Beat the Early Birds:
Yeah yeah, cliched I know, but it is so true. I’m an early bird; not because I like getting out of bed. No. I LOVE my bed. But I also love having an uninterrupted shower and a full hot cup of coffee.
If I’m not up at least 45 minutes before the girls, morning melts into mayhem. But if I can be up, washed, caffeinated, dressed and have the lunches packed BEFORE the noise in the hall begins, things are a whole lot more peaceful. If all I have to do is to focus on getting THEM ready, we can do it with a LOT less stress than if we all fall out of bed at the same time.
- Daily Drawers:
I introduced this little trick when Mini-Me was in Naionra and it’s worked a treat for the past 5 years. It’s now in my youngest’s room as she starts school. I bought this stack of drawers and labeled the front. Every Sunday, I put clean pants and socks into the drawers.
Her PE gear/swimming stuff goes into the day she has PE and her shoes go into the bottom drawer every evening when she takes them off and the uniform hangs beside it. She loves it and it means we don’t have the
“Wherethefeckareyourshoesforgodssakewewillbelate” debacle every morning! It’s also great for encouraging them to dress themselves.
I have also invested in new shelves for the utility. So now, each of us has a place to keep school/gym bags, coats and shoes. I’m hoping it’s going to stop the kitchen floor or back hall being crammed with bags etc. Every little helps eh?
- Clean on a Thursday night:
Since I have been working, even before I had the girls, I have always tried to be in the habit of cleaning on a Thursday. I do whatever washing needs done, clean the bathrooms, hoover and mop, and give the kitchen a once over. It means that when we get home on a Friday evening, the house is more pleasant than usual.
And while the breakfast dishes and mess from Friday morning might be waiting for us, the house itself is generally clean and so apart from throwing uniforms and work clothes in the machine on Friday night, Mammy can focus on important things when they go to bed on Friday night… like what I’m going to watch and whether I want red or white!
Now, do NOT get me wrong. Mary Poppins I am not, but these are 5 things that are GENERALLY easy to turn into habits. Apart from the odd week, I’ll manage to maintain most of these goals and therefore, most of my sanity!
If you have any other tricks of #parentingwin hacks, please share them in the comments.