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Kathryn Thompson offers some time-saving tips for busy parents.
Fulfilling the role of mum whilst holding down a job can be a little crazy at times. According to a report in The Telegraph last year, a study by the Office for National Statistics found that the number of working mothers has leapt by almost a fifth since the mid 1990s, with large majorities of those with young children now going out to work.
Trying to juggle your career and the responsibilities of being a parent can be challenging, but with a little planning and organisation, there are some things you can do to make the daily routine easier for everyone. Here are some useful time saving tips to help you on your way:
Collecting and managing dinner money can be time-consuming and especially complicated if you have more than one child. Today there are online systems such as Parent Mail that allow parents to pre-pay into an account and top up when needed, avoiding the hassle of forms and coins. Mums can also use these systems to pay for school trips, receive messages from schools, clubs and nurseries, and keep up to date with news and events. Quick, efficient and easy – perfect.
Today there is an app for everything and many can help to save you time whilst balancing your work and home life. Take advantage of banking apps to deposit money, download a calendar app to stay organised with your family’s appointments and use food apps to find quick and healthy recipes.
The morning rush; working mums know it well. Getting yourself and the kids ready in the mornings can be a struggle, but you can speed up the process by doing as much as you can the night before. Make packed lunches, lay out clothes for the morning, set the table for breakfast and load up backpacks to avoid any last minute chaos. It may seem a pain at the time, but you’ll be relieved (and nicely smug) in the morning.
If you know other parents with children at the same school or nursery as yours, make friends and see if you can arrange a schedule where you can both share the drop-offs and pick-ups from school. They’ll be glad of the help too!
If you’re not doing so already, take advantage of online shopping channels. According to DJS Research, a study carried out by Casabu and Mumsnet revealed that more than 80% of mums are shopping online for themselves or their children at least once or twice a month. Order your groceries online to save the hassle of having to drag your screaming children through the supermarket aisle after you’ve had a long day at work. If you have family or friends’ birthdays coming up, order their gifts online and send to them directly.
When you’ve had a long day, it can be easy to dig out the takeaway menus or stick a meal in the microwave. Take time out on a Sunday afternoon to prepare dinners for the week ahead. You can make it fun for the kids too by giving them small tasks like measuring out pasta and rice. If you cook and freeze meals for your family ahead of the week, you’ll not only save time, but avoid any unhealthy eating habits.
Kathryn Thompson is a freelance writer, mum to three daughters and wife to her poor outnumbered husband.