Any mum will know that trying to get out of the house with everyone’s hair brushed, teeth cleaned and uniforms looking slightly presentable (aka hiding last night’s spaghetti hoops stain) isn’t easy. Even less so when you hear the dreaded words “Mummy, I need a poo” when you are already late and walking out the door.
It can be even more challenging when you are doing it solo and trying to get yourself to work on time too. I have a 5 year old daughter, a black Labrador and myself to get ready for school/work.
I have learnt all of these tips the hard way. I have been the mum who has forgotten the packed lunch box for a school trip and had to rush to Tesco for a meal deal. I have been the mum that sent her daughter to school looking like she had been dragged through a bush backwards on school photo day (thank god for Mrs Reilly, the world’s best TA who always has a brush in her bag!)
The following are just some tips and tricks that I’ve learnt over the past 18 months:
1. Preparation is key to a less stressful day
It may be the last thing you want to do at the end of the day but before you go to bed make sure that uniform is washed and ready, packed lunches are made and reading/home sharing books are done and signed.
2. Plan your mornings out and stick to the routine
It’s not pleasant but when your alarm goes off, get up (6.26am for me). Gone are the days of hitting the snooze button three times when one has children to get ready.
3. Give the children breakfast as soon as they get up and are still in their pyjamas
This means no unwanted yoghurt stains on a fresh school polo shirt and no frantic mum saying “you haven’t got time to finish that toast, you’ve had 30 minutes already”.
4. Do one 10 minute chore a day
I’m not saying this will leave you with the cleanest and most organised house in the world but one chore a day won’t feel like back-breaking work and should keep the house ticking along nicely, leaving more time for the important stuff.
5. Set aside half an hour to an hour a day with your children for quality time
This means phone off, television off and an activity of their choice. For me it’s the hour before bath time and it is the only time when I will actually get a decent conversation out of B. We talk about everything from how our days were to what we think princesses eat for their dinner every night (her suggestion being golden sparkly peas!).
6. Say yes to a helping hand
Don’t be a stubborn monkey, if a friend is offering to pick your child up from school one day for a play date or your mum is offering to cook dinner for you, just say YES! People love to help and if it makes your life the tiniest bit easier then go for it. There will always be a time when you can pay the favour back.
7. Don’t feel guilty about scheduling in a little time for yourself!
We all deserve a bit of what we love, whether that’s lying in a bath with a glass of wine, running a 10km or scrolling through pictures of Tom Hardy on Instagram. A relaxed mummy is a happy mummy so do make time for that.
Motherhood is no walk in the park and single motherhood is even harder. But follow these tips and I promise you that you will have more time to be the fantastic mums you already are.
I’m off to search for Mr Hardy with a glass of wine, a woman can dream can’t she?!
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Jessica is a single and divorced mum of one very gorgeous and very ginger 5 year old girl, living in Norfolk. She is also a full time high school teacher, lover of singing, Tom Hardy and master Lego builder. You can follow her on Instagram and here’s her fabulous blog