Keeping on top of life ... with children


Working fulltime with 2 children under 3 means I have to be super organised, even to just keep my sanity and stay on top of the basics. I should preface this post by sharing that my boys only go to DC two days a week for the toddler and 1 day for my baby/almost toddler (I'm in denial) while the other days my husband is home, my mil comes to our home or the boys go to my mums so while I still pack lunches 4 out of 5 days a week, its not the end of the world if they are both still in their pjs when I have to leave for work 2-3 out of 5 days.

Organisation comes naturally to me - maybe from being the eldest of 4 and a Type A personality but I totally thrive on lists and planning and I'm also well aware that baby brain has left my once sharp mind (I think)  permanently impaired on occasion so both are now necessity and not just for fun.

It can be overwhelming and draining juggling the roles of wife, mother/mother to be and employee along with all the other responsibilities we have to friends, family and ourselves at the best of times so this is where organisation is key to helping you keep the majority of balls in the air the majority of time while retaining your some sanity.

For starters, I use a weekly planner on our fridge to track all appointments and activities for the 4 of us including swimming lessons and activities for the boys, S' weekly soccer games, work events, social occasions, dr & dentist check-ups and the boys movements (which grandmother they are with & what their plans are). I update it as the occasion comes up but I also sit down with it for 5 mins  on a Sunday to add any forward appointments, changes and to make sure it corresponds with my iPhone calendar.
The Kikki K weekly planner is a simple inexpensive option that I use and I notice Kmart doing something similar now too (and for a fraction of the price).

Menu planning is a huge part of keeping it together as there is nothing worse when you're all tired and its 5:30pm and you're standing at the fridge wondering what the hell to cook. While I don't necessarily like to be locked into one thing - if it says chicken, I guarantee I want beef - I have a running list on my ipad 'notes' with meals on rotation. From that list, I choose 5 dinners each week or 12 each fortnight and grocery shop for those, picking up the fresh food items every couple of days. I then choose one each morning for that night and delete it from the list - it’s a bit more flex and easier to stick to than forward planning each night. It minimises waste and it means that after a long day at work followed by the boys' dinner, bath, bed routine, we aren't left at 8pm at night trying to figure out what to cook for us and either having toast (or microwave popcorn) or not eating till 9pm.
I also make sure the freezer is well stocked with homemade options for the boys so I can grab and go if we are home late or S and I are having something not right for them (spicy, less than healthy). This includes homemade spinach/ham/cheese mini quiches, individual lasagne cups, fish fillets, homemade pizzas pre-made and frozen (with grated zucchini on the base), frozen homemade bolognaise ... all so I just have to steam some vegetables or cook up pasta for a healthy rounded meal in minutes - essential when I have two whingy clingy overtired boys at my feet between 4:30-5:30pm.

My ipad 'notes' is my total life saver as my mini is always with me (prior, I just used my iPhone 'notes)' and I keep a 'to do' list in there for the week and under each day, I keep record of what I have on, calls I need to make, reminders to get/bring and I write one or two chores - ie. washing, strip the bed, vacuum etc so that if all else fails, I get one main piece of housework done and it’s not so overwhelming as trying to get it all done on the weekend or a day when the boys don't nap or cooperate ... it also makes me feel good to delete off the list once something is done, makes me feel like I'm actually getting somewhere and less overwhelmed. 

I also keep running lists in 'notes' of present ideas for family and friends etc, groceries, ideas for social occasions (E's first birthday for example), what I need to sell on ebay, what I need to buy for home or our wardrobes, movies I want to see/download, songs to download, my wish list, restaurants I like or want to try, makeup info - what shade in what brand for foundations... you get the idea, yes I love lists - and I'm grateful everyday to Apple for my 'notes'.

A really obvious time saver to get you out the door and prevent morning chaos is to prep everyone's outfits the night before and even think about what you are all going to have for breakfast! I cannot stress this enough. There is nothing worse than the alarm not going, children sleeping in for a change or the power going off (yes, this has all happened to me) and you are standing around in your wardrobe dithering over what to wear then doing the same again in their wardrobe. It either makes you late or eats up valuable time you could be using to unpack the dishwasher, eat breakfast and read a story to the munchkins.
It also helps to pack bags (including your own) while laying out clothes and try and fill lunchboxes with items that can be prepacked and stay in the fridge overnight. 

I'm still yet to squeeze in any time for actual exercise other than the '30 day squat challenge' app but as the boys start to sleep better overnight (fingers crossed some day) and hopefully as the weather warms up, I will be able to get in some early morning walking other than just incidental exercise from chasing the boys, jumping on the trampoline and playing backyard soccer.

Any hints tips or tricks you can share to make life easier?

Danger baby on 'bring your sick kid to work' day

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