Category Archives: tricks

20 life hacks for stressed out mums

1 Clothes pegs to keep boots together

If your cloakroom/under stairs cupboard is a riot of wellies and waterproofs and things your other half has “tidied away”, like mine, I find pegging boots together an absolute sanity saver.

2 Ikea pockets

In the same kind of vein, little feet tend to shed shoes all over the house and who has time to hunt for them? Especially when you’re already late for school and they’re knocking lumps out of each other. I hung up an Ikea pocket hanger on the back of the door so now I can *almost* always find a matching pair per child.

3 Newspaper at the bottom of your bin

Simple really, soaks up all the liquid that comes from who knows where and makes changing bin bags slightly less disgusting. I mean it should really be a blue job…

4 Crocs by the back door

Once you get over the shame of actually buying them, you realise they cost the same as a large Starbucks and prevent little dirty stockinged feet traipsing mud into your carpet. They can also usually put them on without help.

5 The sacred comb

If, like me, your kids have unruly wavy hair and risk being dispatched to nursery/school looking like ragamuffins, you need a sacred comb. It lives downstairs in a nominated cupboard and never shall it be moved. Ever.

6 The 5 minute menu

Here’s a two-for-one life hack. Do your grocery shopping online (saving the list in “favourites” saves even more time each week) then as you unpack it, scribble down the use-by dates. Voila. Menu for the week.

7 Stock up on yoghurts

They’re usually on special offer so just buy more than any human could possibly consume in a week. Then, when they throw your painstakingly made lasagne at the wall or turn their noses up at that thing they loved last week, you can stuff them full of Yeo Valley. Also very useful for disguising any medications.

8 Use the time delay

One of my kids is such a light sleeper he’ll be up if a mouse farts, so I can’t do washing after 8pm. The machine’s time delay – a new revelation when we moved house – means I can load it up at night and set it to come on at 6.30am and if I’m REALLY organised, hang it out before we go to school. Just make sure your other half doesn’t hit the off switch in a fit of fire-safety smugness before he goes to bed. Sigh.

9 Embrace tupperware

I mean don’t go to a party or anything, just buy tonnes of matching ones from Ikea or B&M so that ALL THE LIDS FIT.

10 Have a Sharpie handy but for god’s sake out of reach

Mine lives above the oven and is used for just about everything in the world from naming clothing to marking those tupperware to signing parents’ slips.

11 Buy this stamp

12 Put a lock on your bedroom door

Enough said.

13 Invest in a good quality vinyl tablecloth

Not a £3 stretch of cow print plastic from eBay that neither covers the whole table nor withstands sharp pencil points, but a proper, huge, maybe even £15, tablecloth. Then tape it down.

14 Have a no-banana rule in carpeted rooms

When it dries in, it looks like shit.

15 Always carry wipes

Even when your kids are out of nappies, hell, even when you’re going to a business meeting, carry wipes for snotty noses, grazed knees and that moment when you realise there’s banana (or is it shit) on your suit sleeve.

16 Get one of those magic erasers for walls

They’re pretty good on scuff marks and not-too-aggressive colouring pencil. On pen and on tantrum-induced expressions of rage, not so great.

17 Teach your kids to pair socks

Turn it into a massive game and sit back and watch while the worst chore of them all is taken care of.

18 Find 5 good babysitters who drive

Save their numbers on your phone and don’t share them with anyone. Pay them well and leave them brilliant snacks.

19 Double up

Sometimes, hell quite a lot of the time, you have to throw money at a problem. If you’re constantly transferring things – shampoo from shower to gym bag, car seats between cars, the good water bottle from the school bag to the weekend bag – just buy more. Use Gumtree or Ikea or whatever but seriously, make life easier for yourself.

20 ALWAYS KEEP THE IPAD CHARGED

Add your own life hacks in the comments and let’s save our sanity together x

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Unrolled rolls, motorway escapes and the joys of motherhood

I am at the stage in my life where I can’t leave keys in the door; tea on low tables or biros anywhere.

My fruit bowl always looks like this:

mummykimmy fruitbowl

and my loo roll always looks like this:

mummykimmy loo roll

I have to leave the toilet seat up for the misfiring four-year-old, but down for the fishing one-year-old. I want one to sleep during the day and the other to stay wide awake till bedtime. I’m delighted when one uses his knife and fork properly but watch in dismay as the other tries to use cutlery.  It’s a relentless, trouble-shooting, fire-fighting business raising two small boys and the noise levels would never pass European laws.

At the weekend, the Wee Man, having surreptitiously listened to a conversation I had with a friend about his 20 month old calling the police to the actual door, dialled 999. I was oblivious, being busy with the dinner, and grumpily answered a ringing phone only to hear an efficient voice say: “This is the police control room, we’ve had an emergency call from this number, is everything alright?”. I was mortified. I quickly reassured her and confirmed our address – then grudgingly admired my son’s awareness. At least he knows the number 9 and what three of them do, I reassured my husband later that night.

As entertaining as my sons’ mischief is for my friends, it is a source of constant stress to a person like me who likes things to be tidy and quiet.

“You were exactly the same until you learned to read,” my mother loves to tell me. I doubt my naughtiness was ever as ingenious, but at least I have some hope for the future. KD at least seems to be channeling his inquisitive nature into engineering tasks, like taking toys apart and opening car doors on the motorway.

Usually though, just when I’m at the point of total despair, something happens to set me back on track. A glowing nursery report or a new word, perhaps. Or a conversation like I had today. The man in question was apologising for yawning – his 10 month old had kept him up most of the night. “She’s a bit of a golden child,” he admitted, before telling me a harrowing story of a longed-for pregnancy confirmed just hours before a miscarriage and emergency operation. They had the fallout of post-natal depression to deal with regardless, following the news they may never have children. And yet here they were, the adoring mum and dad of a teething daughter. This was in the back of my mind as I watched an episode of Call the Midwife, and empathised with a character struggling to come to terms with motherhood and the responsibility it brought.

I went straight onto my WhatsApp group of mummy friends, telling them all how wonderful they were.

“Hard work is what makes a mother,” one of the Call the Midwife characters said in the episode. “We like to think something magical happens at birth…but the real magic is keeping on when all you want to do is run.”

And the rewards are priceless.

mummykimmy KD

mummykimmy weeman

 

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McDonalds Roald Dahl partnership

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I take my kids to McDonalds.

It’s like the trump card you play when you’re dangerously close to losing the game. The last time I sat in with a Choc Chip Frappuccino (my weakness) and a Happy Meal a woman came over with balloons and I could have kissed her. Another woman appeared with a free fruit cup and I could have kissed her too. The Wee Man, who’d been driving me nuts the way only four year olds can, was miraculously transformed. Even KD, one year old and bouncing around in a high chair gnawing on an apple slice, wasn’t causing any trouble.

So when McDonalds’ PR person asked if I’d like to an advance pack of the Roald Dahl goodies planned for the Happy Meal box this month, I was only too happy to accept and write about it.

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The boys were very interested in the golden package mummy brought to the table and gleefully emptied it.

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Mr Twit’s beard

Fantastic Mr Fox

Fantastic Mr Fox

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The accessories were great fun but it was the pocket-size books with excerpts from all the novels I loved as a child that really got me.

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Not only did the boys love them, I found that I could actually remember whole lines. I must have read each book a dozen times as a child. I slipped them into the changing bag when we were done, they’re a great size and another trump card to play should the golden arches be out of range. Thanks McDonalds!

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Distraction: Provide it or be driven to it

In the end it was the dog’s squeaky toy that did it. It was 22 degrees, my hair was in my face, the wee man was screeching, twisting and kicking me in the stomach, the nappy was dangerously dirty and the whole time the dog was going “SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK” right next to my knee.

“CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME?!” I bellowed as my husband and parents remained glued to the Wimbledon final. Rod sauntered out. “Let me do it,” he said in a perfectly reasonable tone, which at that point, made me want to hit him.

“All you need is something to distract him.”

Now that I’m back to my calm, reasonable self, I can see that was the perfect response. While I’ve been subconsciously using distraction with the wee man his whole life, I’ve now realised I’ve actually got to promote this tactic to a rule.

He is now two years and three months. He wants to do everything himself – eating, brushing his teeth, getting dressed, walking to nursery, driving my car – and clearly has not yet got the motor skills to do any of it properly. We battle every five minutes. He does not want to get into the bath. Then he does not want to get out of the bath. The screaming echoes beautifully in there. He does not want to eat his toast. He does want to eat my toast. He decides halfway through chewing that he does prefer his toast, so lets the mouthful fall out. Onto a clean shirt. Five minutes before we leave for nursery. Yesterday, after an almighty battle to get dressed, he ran joyfully outside and fell straight into the dog’s water bowl.

This week I’ve changed tack completely. I’ve decided to pick my battles and always to provide a distraction. I’ve prepared for this by leaving small toys and books in strategic locations around the house.

“Look, where’s your sunglasses? They’re on mummy’s face!” Snatch. I don’t pick the no-snatching battle, instead I swiftly lay him down and change his nappy while he’s trying to hook them round his ears. No bruises on my tummy. One clean bum.

“Where’s the tiger on the cards? No, that’s the lion” I lay out his favourite cards on the breakfast table and swiftly clean his teeth before he can remember to clamp down on the brush. The no-snatching battle doesn’t even start and the teeth are clean for another 12 hours.

The beauty of this tactic, I mean rule, is that it’s portable.

“No, we do not grab toys, say sorry to Arthur. Now look at this car, it goes beep beep” before the screaming and chasing after Arthur can begin.

I’m becoming a master manipulator.

I’m also realising this tactic can be applied to grownups…. But that’s another blog.

chocolate

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