If you’re a mum to small children, there’s never enough time, especially to run a business. My theory is that if I can claw back as much time as possible from household tasks, I can use that time on my business.
Yes, I’ll admit I’m not the world’s best housewife, but life’s too short for perfection.
This was going to be a top ten list, but I had to go and clean the kitchen! Do you have a tip you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it so please do drop me a comment.
1. Decide on the level of chaos you can tolerate and don’t do any more housework than you need to keep your sanity
We all have different standards when it comes to cleanliness and tidiness, so make sure you’re working to your own standards rather than someone elses. After all, it’s your house.
It’s OK to leave a certain amount of mess for later. If everything has to be clean and tidy before you start work, you’ll never start work! On the other hand, a lot of mess can be distracting and depressing if you have to work in the midst of it. Decide what level of mess you can tolerate and let the rest go, for now at least.
2. Don’t iron unless you really need to
Where possible, buy clothes that don’t need ironing. And don’t iron things that don’t really need ironing such as bed sheets, jeans and t shirts. If you hang out clothes to dry carefully, it’s amazing how many items you can get away with not ironing.
3. Clean the bathroom when the kids are in the bath
Clean the loo and washbasin when the kids are in the bath. You’ll be there to supervise them and you’ll just need to whizz around the bath after they get out.
4. Get a slow cooker
These are absolutely brilliant. You spend 10 minutes throwing in some meat, veg and sauce ingredients at breakfast time and you have a delicious home-cooked meal ready and waiting in the evening.You can even cheat and use a packet sauce, many are pretty healthy these days (check the label, obviously). I get a wonderful smug feeling knowing that my eveing meal is taken care of by 9.30 in the morning!
You can do much more than just casseroles too- try curries, pasta sauces, soups and pot roasting joints. Even rice pudding!
My top tip is to buy one with both a high and low heat setting. The low setting takes 6 to 8 hours to cook, the high setting takes 3 to 4 hours. Which means that if you have an especially chaotic breakfast time, you can get the slow cooker on at lunchtime instead.
Even better, get a slow cooker that’s bigger than you need so you can cook extra and freeze a couple of portions for another day.
5. Get a breadmaker
This means you never have to stop what you’re doing, bundle everyone into their coats and pushchairs and dash down the shops because you’ve run out of bread. Providing you’ve got a stash of flour, dried yeast, salt, sugar and margarine, which isn’t hard to do as they all keep for ages.
6. Do your grocery shopping online
I thought this was a no-brainer, but I’m surprised how many people have said to me ‘I bet the supermarket isn’t much fun with a baby and a toddler, is it?’. Er, no it’s not!
7. Have a ‘ten minute tidy’ at the start of nap time, then get down to work
If you’re lucky enough to have children that nap, spend ten minutes having a speedy tidy up then leave the rest. Tidying is much quicker without little people around, but don’t let it suck you in so you accidentally spend the whole of nap time cleaning.
I kid myself that the faster I go, the more calories I burn. Well, I can dream!
8. Ask for help
If you work from home, it’s easy for other family members to assume that you’ll do all the housework and cooking, just because you’re there. Not only does this eat into your working time, if you teach young children that mummy isn’t the only one who does housework, they’ll be in good habits for later in life.