Life hacks, I love them.
Since becoming a stay at home mum I have realised in order to stay on top of everything I need to be organised and have some strategies in place to make every day a little bit easier and for things to run just that little bit smoother.
I have compiled a list of things that happen in the Wigglebottom household to make the days and weeks run as best as possible.
Planning What the Week Will Look Like
This is clearly the teacher in me coming out, but every Thursday I write up a timetable of what the following week will look like. It’s not detailed but a quick snapshot of what activities the kids will be doing, what everyone will be having for dinner throughout the week and any errands that need to be done. By doing this I have found I don’t need to think about what entertainment, learning opportunities and meal times will look like at the beginning of each day.
And on a Thursday night I go to the supermarket to do a weekly shop. I have found shopping in the evenings without the kids is a lot faster and the shops are usually deserted. Also, I only make meals that will last us two nights so I don’t have to cook each night.
^ Toby likes to be involved in planning the week to ensure I pencil in lots of walks and lots of trips to the butcher.
Preparing Food in the Morning
This hack I discovered while listening to a Podcast and it is the absolute best! I prepare Andrew and my dinner in the morning so it’s ready to cook come dinner time. By doing this in the morning, I have the rest of the afternoon to spend with the kids. Or if we are out there is no need to rush back home to make sure I start on dinner. So, every morning all the vegetables and meat will be chopped before 8am and ready waiting in the fridge to be cooked when Andrew comes home.
In terms of the children’s dinners, every Monday I cook up Thomas and Felix’s food for the week and put it in the freezer. By doing this, it eliminates the feeling of constantly being in the kitchen cooking. Knowing I have a variety of foods for them for lunch and dinner to go makes the rest of the week run a little easier.
Clean As You Go/ Everything Has a Place
I’m someone who can’t handle messes, when the house is a mess I feel like I’m a mess. I lack the energy, motivation and creativity to be the best version of myself. A clean house has a lot of power over me.
Clean as I go basically means, if I make a mess, I clean it up straight away. If I take something out, I put it back straight away. If I have a dirty dish, instead of placing it in the sink, I put it in the dishwasher. When I get changed I put my clothes back in the wardrobe.
Sometimes when there is a gigantic mess and it seems like it’s easier to walk away I remind myself that everything has a place and pick up the first thing I see and put it back where it belongs.
Put the Timer on for 15 min to Clean the House
Every day I give the whole house a good clean but the catch is I do it within a 15 minute time frame. Usually towards the end of the day, before the kids have dinner and getting them ready for bed starts happening, I set the timer on my phone and make sure every room is clean, things are put away and each room is vacuumed.
What I like about tidying the house just before the kids go to sleep is I get to enjoy a clean house in the evening without little hands turning everything upside down. And I go to bed knowing I’ll wake up to a clean house…until everyone is up.
Listen to Podcasts
Working from home and being a stay at home mum means I definitely feel disconnected from the world. I no longer have people to talk to on a daily basis, I no longer have the opportunity to discuss topics and listen to people’s opinions.
When I became a mum for the first time, I found my conversations with Andrew were suffering as I had nothing to offer in terms of conversation material that didn’t involve the kids.
But then I discovered Podcasts and it has given me that connection back to the world.
Each day I work for 2 hours in the Neckerchief Factory during the day while the kids nap and then for about 4 to 5 hours at night. This equates to 7 hours of podcasts each day where I listen to people talk on all sorts of topics. While listening, I will nod in agreement to what they are saying or argue with them in my head and at times I have stopped what I’m doing, sat down and thought about my future and the future of my family because of what was said.
As I don’t watch TV (coming up to 5 years without it!) or have time to read the news or brush up on current affairs, listening to podcasts kills 3 birds with 1 stone as it keeps me informed, lets me listen to other people’s views and opinions and it gives me material to contribute to conversations when I catch up with friends or with Andrew over dinner.
Make Toby’s Dog Food
I’m really anti wet canned dog food, dogs don’t need it because it’s basically fast food for them. Wet food is full of processed nastiness, it’s like you eating McDonald each night, it’s not good for you. What we’re doing to our own health with processed foods, we’re also doing to our dogs.
Toby gets human meat and not wet food because all cheap brands contain a lot of corn, which is a filler. Corn is cheap, that’s why manufacturers like using them, and it makes your dog feel full. However, dogs can’t digest corn and this can cause your dog to have bad breath that stems from its stomach.
Since Toby was a baby he has had the same dinner, kibble mixed with a tablespoon of mince meat. I buy a packet of human premium quality beef meat, divide the mince up into smaller portions, wrap them up in tin foil and throw them all into the freezer.
Each evening, I grab a small parcel out the freezer, defrost it in the microwave and then mix it through his kibble. Dogs don’t need a lot of meat, all they want is the flavour and if you mix the mince and kibble together, the majority of the food will taste like delicious meat.
By doing this, I get about 30 – 35 meat meals for Toby for around $10.
^ Wrap each portion up.
Eat Dinner Together
Unfortunately Andrew and I don’t get to spend too much time together. He is usually off to uni as the rest of us are waking up and comes home just as the kids are getting ready for bed. And on Saturdays he works all day.
So really our only time together is on Sunday and during dinner throughout the week. We make sure we eat dinner together every night once we have put the kids to bed. Sitting down and eating a meal together symbolises us coming together again after a day apart, a time to debrief, relax and unwind before I go off to work and Andrew starts his uni chores for the night.
Keep the Weekends Free of Chores
Because our Monday to Fridays are always action packed with chores I like to make sure the weekends are free of cleaning, cooking and shopping which makes room for doing activities we all want to take part in.
I love hearing about other people’s life hacks, small things they do to make their lives that little bit easier. I would love to hear yours, if you have any.