Tag Archives: working mum

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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In praise of the Whirligig

The bane of my life, as a working mum

Is laundry. It’s such a pain in the bum.

Yet something exists whose effects are quite big

The wonderful, functional Whirligig

 

My granny had one, but my mum never did

A clothes line is what I would see as a kid

“The garden’s for flowers” she’d say and she’d dig

So blind to the glorious Whirligig

 

My friend bought a house with one in the front

As builders began the poor thing got the shunt

But oblivious Sarah did not give a fig:

“I’m not 80, I don’t need a Whirligig”

 

I moved to a house as a wife and a mother

Adjusted to life lived on top of each other

When chores finally ended, I’d do a wee jig

While still unaware of the Whirligig

 

My son got more mobile, the pile of mess grew

The washing and ironing was all I would do

With clothes drying all over, I lived like a pig

If only I’d known of the Whirligig

 

We moved to the north and searched high and low

For somewhere to live where our family would grow

On moving day, opened the wine, took a swig

Gasped :“What’s that – out back – it’s a Whirligig!”

 

My life is transformed and my time is my own

On laundry day never again will I moan

I hang out the washing, run round playing ‘tig’,

As it spins, flutters, dries on the Whirligig

 

My house is so tidy, the heaters are bare

There’s no smell of damp or dead flowers in the air

I’ve time to blow dry! Hair sits good as a wig

All thanks to my fabulous Whirligig

 

If you’re reading and thinking this woman’s gone mad

Don’t diss me, dismiss me as really quite sad.

Who wants to do chores? Feel light as a twig!

Go get yourself one – praise the Whirligig!

whirligig

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Working Mum’s Guilt

I have a confession to make. I don’t…really…cook for the wee man. I mean, I make him scrambled eggs and spaghetti hoops on toast and fish fingers and stuff, but I don’t cook meals from scratch. At all. Some of my mummy friends put me to shame with tales of Sundays spent cooking up a storm and portioning into freezer bags ready for the week. I don’t do that. I used to cook and puree sweet potato and carrot and stuff, but when it got to the proper meals stage I just… stopped. I didn’t have time. I don’t have time. I’m running a business and raising a child and hoping my husband gets home from work before 7pm and doesn’t have too many nights away this week – so really Ella’s Kitchen pouches and Hipp Organic jars have been my saviour.

Not any more.

Last night, while ordering the online shop, I pulled out the Annabel Karmel book (the one I hid cos it was making me feel inadequate) and diligently added all the ingredients to my list. I even learned a new word: Passata. Yes I know you’ve probably heard of it. My smart-arse sister scoffed and informed me mum has two jars in the cupboard at all times. Well, I’ve made it almost to my 30th birthday without knowing what it was. Now I’m thinking, hmmm, I should have two jars in the cupboard at all times.

My husband is on jury service this week (a huge inconvenience for him but a boon for me, as he’s home at 5pm) so I took advantage of the unexpected childcare to do some chopping. It looked kind of small there on the board, so I decided to double up all the ingredients. If I was going to portion and freeze I might as well make a whole load. Of course I then forgot I was doubling up and panicked when I found half a sweet potato hiding behind the coffee machine. But I figured, hell, it’s getting pureed at the end anyway, I’ll just fling it in. I even washed lentils, something else I’ve never done as I’ve always been scared off by their after-effects.

Thirty minutes later, with Rod sniffing appreciatively and asking when dinner would be ready (eh, in like an hour) I lifted the lid and saw orange. Why is all baby food orange? It’s a bugger to get off their faces and out of their clothes. A wee bit was stuck to the bottom  – in my head I used the puree excuse again – grated in twice as much cheese and blended. I tasted some of the burnt bits and they were gooooood! I think the wee man’s going to enjoy his lunch and dinner for the next week.

Voila! Lentil & vegetable puree

(Wait – what? He can’t have the same thing for every meal? I need to go and cook some more? Hand me that butternut squash!)

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