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You know you can’t be superwoman, but you do need to be super organised. Or at least be able to fake it. We show you how.
You’re so aware that people are waiting for you to fall when you’re a working mother, even if they aren’t, that you tend to go into organisational hyperdrive. But is there a quick way to organisational bliss? Workingmums tells you how to fake looking like it’s all terrifically easy.
1. The one the people who seem organised always tell you about is preparing ahead, eg, on Sunday nights have all the school uniform ready and ironed and the lunchboxes half packed, etc. If you are not a military type and find it hard to stick religiously to a routine, this will not work for you. But you needn’t throw out the baby with the bath water, as it were. Save on ironing time. Buy drip dry clothes or iron on an as it comes basis only. You don’t want to end up being one of those people who talks for hours about the washing and ironing. There is only so much you can say about non-bio vs the other one. There is absolutely nothing interesting to say about ironing. Ditch the lunchboxes. It is impossible to think up exciting new picnic food on a daily basis and the school meals are getting better post Jamie, aren’t they? Just ensure you have the right kind of clothes in a vague kind of heap at the bottom of the bed every night for easy access in the morning. This includes your own.
2. Buy a really big calendar and write everything down, even if it’s ‘buy flour’. You know you’ll only forget if you don’t. Buy lots of post-it notes in different colours for different emergency levels. Ensure you put them in useful places where you will actually look, eg, not on the mirror.
3. Have regular bath days during the week for the kids. Of course, if you are the parent of one child or young children, you probably give them a bath every night. Your enthusiasm for cleanliness may fade with time as you find you need an increasing amount of hours to talk about philosophical questions or sort out the tangled and often traumatic world of your children’s friendships.
4. Combine bathtime and homework. In the case of smaller people, homework tends to consist of rudimentary sums and flashcards. Using bath toys, get them to count the duckies out and count them back.
5. Buy plasters in bulk. You will ALWAYS find a need for them even if only for artistic purposes. Do not be suckered into buying the ones with teddy bears, etc, on them. They will think they are the only type of plaster and will demand them for eternity, even though they are twice the price. Ditto birthday presents. Always have a stash that you have bought in three-for-the-price-of-one offers ready for the inevitable surprise birthday.
6. Take the children shopping with you and get them to do all the work, eg, picking the apples, counting in the carrots. Give them a sticker afterwards. It’s cheap and it works for teachers.
7. Try to think strategically. Make lists of everything you need to do in a day on the way to work and work out while running for the train how you can combine at least six of these in one visit to a shop, one phone or text message or one five minute session on google. Treat it as a form of mental workout. Who needs those brain trainer things anyway?
8. Always carry a spare set of socks, biscuits, Calpol and wet wipes on all occasions. Even at work. You never know when they will come in handy.
9. Have a chest of drawers with home stuff, office stuff etc clearly marked. It won’t mean you are any more organised, but it will make you feel you are, in some obscure way, filing.
10. Take time to speed network. Forget socialising with colleagues/parents in the playground. You haven’t got time for that. Hone in on the office gossip, the parent teachers association representative etc and get all the news in one byte. It saves time and possibly your job.