It would be nice if I could call this post 'how I do it all' but that's not at all realistic, rather this is my 'how I get by' advice! I wrote some time saving tips in this post (including an easy way to clean your cooker) and I thought I would share a few more things I do to try and stay on top of household duties as a mum of three and how I make time to blog and sew...
I read somewhere that if you see a task that needs doing ask yourself if it will take more than 5 minutes, if not then just get it done there and then. It sounds simple but it does make a big difference to just do it! Most menial tasks don't really take much time and clearing up / tidying away as you go makes it easier than those little jobs piling up.
The biggest time saver, that also helps relive panic and stress in that crazy morning rush, is to prepare as much as possible the night before. I appreciate you might get tired towards the end of the day but it really is worth it!
Here's what I do to get ready for the next day:
- While I'm cooking dinner I make the kids packed lunches. So if something is in the oven or cooking away on the hob, I quickly make up lunch ready for the next day. Dry food goes straight in the lunch box (granola bar, crackers, etc.) and anything that needs refrigerating (sandwiches, veggies, hummus, etc.) goes in boxes in the fridge ready to pull out and go in the morning. If it's a hot meal I just get what I need ready - like a thermos flask for soup.
- I get the kids and my own clothes laid out just before putting the kids to bed. Saves the 'where are my ... ' and the stress of me deciding what to wear in the morning.
- Go through the kids school bags, sign any notices or make note of any dates on the calendar and then recycle any unnecessary papers.
Just recently I found sticking slips and letters on the back of the front door with washi tape means I won't leave them at home and forget to hand them in to school! Just peel them off and go.
I also get household jobs out of the way in the morning, that way I can relax a little. My daughter usually helps (or just follows me around!) and I like the Clean Mama routine to keep things clean.
One of the things I dislike doing is supermarket shopping, I don't usually have a car during the day and I would much rather sew than go shopping in the evening. I prefer to shop online, I can think through what I need and quickly reorder items that we buy over and over again. There are usually deals or subscriptions for free delivery depending on the shop and time of delivery.
Another advantage of this is that many of the big stores have apps, which is really handy for creating lists or adding things to your order when you run out. When I think 'oh we need kitchen roll' I immediately grab my phone and add it to my shopping order. The day before my delivery I go through and add/delete things as needed.
Before the shopping arrives I give the fridge a quick clean inside and check to see if there's any food that's gone off or needs eating. Then as I put away the food delivery I make a note of our meal plan for the week - usually based on the expiry dates of the food. It really helps to know what I'm cooking each night and means the kids won't keep asking me! I like this cute meal planner printable and stick it on our fridge.
Any extra things we need, or if I know I can get it cheaper, I buy from local shops. We eat many of the same recipes, I don't batch cook - we have a tiny freezer so there's no point and most of what we eat is simple and easy to put together. Whenever I spend a lot of time on a recipe my kids always seem to hate the meal so I've given up!
I heard Oprah quote this a long time ago and it really struck me:
I make time for quilting and blogging because that's what I enjoy doing! Ever since I was little I have trouble getting to sleep so I do tend to stay up late and do a bit of sewing until I get tired. About 70% of my sewing and blogging happens at night! The rest is stolen time or weekends.
Any blog ideas or pattern / design / quilting ideas I have are written in my planner so I can refer back to them when I need to. Sometimes that might be how I want to finish a quilt, ideas for borders, etc. Writing everything down helps me remember ideas and stay focused on what I need to complete.
The best light is natural daylight and so I take the majority of my photos during the day. Night time sewing photos are always rubbish and don't show colours well. Morning light is best but I just try and snap pics when I can.
Although I think scheduling blog posts is a brilliant idea I usually don't - only posts with specific deadlines like blog hops or link ups. Most of what I post is showing my progress and finishes as I complete them. Sometimes I write posts and think I will post them in the future but they often get left unpublished.
I use the pictures I've taken during the day and then get the posts written up in the evening. I use my iphone to save my pictures to Google drive - I save them in folders so I know which ones to use for which post. This really helps when I've finished a project, for Le Challenge for example, so I can get my post written on time.
My blog will be five years old later this year and I still love writing and sharing about my sewing. This is so fun for me and being part of this amazing community, with all the incredible friendships I've made and wonderful support, it really encourages me to keep working hard and challenge myself.
I enjoyed Angie's recent post about being kind to yourself and think it's important we share the truth and admit we can't always do it all. Life is a juggling act, there might be days where the 'balance' feels right but there are also times I feel like I'm sacrificing something. The tips I have shared help me get those boring chores done more easily, which means I have more time to do the things I love and spend quality time with the people I love.
I'm not perfect and I don't have it all but I'm getting by and keeping it together.