With so many things to squeeze into each day, life for a new parent can sometimes feel overwhelming. Here are a dozen helpful strategies for busy mums.
1. Find your time-wasters. Keep track for one week of all the ways you waste time. Do you spend 10 minutes finding your keys? If so, make a key hook by your door, and use it. Do you forget "that one item" when you go to the store? Keep a list on your refrigerator and each time you empty something add it to the list.
2. Write things down. Always keep a small notepad on hand. When you think of something you need to do, jot down a reminder. This will save you endless minutes recalling just what you were supposed to do.
3. Use a written planner or electronic calendar. Get a calendar to write down all your engagements, addresses and phone numbers. By keeping all the information in one place, you won't have to dig for it later.
4. Keep a notepad by your phone. How many times have you written a note on a loose piece of paper, never to see it again? Record those notes on a pad of paper, or on your phone to keep them from walking away.
5. Designate days. Choose a day or night to do your grocery shopping and errand running each week. Choose a day to clean your home. Stick to your schedule and forget about these responsibilities the rest of the week.
6. Do things in bulk. When possible, buy groceries and chemist items in bulk to save a trip to the store. When you prepare one casserole, make one or two extras and freeze them.
7. Teach your child. Teach your child how to prepare a drink, do laundry, empty the dishwasher and clean his room. An extra set of hands goes a long way and those newly learnt life skills will serve your child well.
8. Finish what you start. When you start a project, see it through to the end. Leaving many unfinished projects causes anxiety about finishing each, and soon you'll be spinning your wheels again.
9. Maximise your trips. On your way to work or childcare, are there errands you can run so you don't have to do them at night or on the weekends? Remember to leave home a little earlier for this one. Perhaps keeping an esky and frozen ice brick in the car might allow you to pick up those few refrigerated supermarket items if you are not returning home for a few hours.
10. Review your priorities. While certain joy can be found in relaxing in front of a television show or having coffee, don't overload. If you are watching three or four hours of television a day or meeting friends for coffee four times a week, that is time probably better spent doing something else.
11. Have a reading pile. Keep everything you want to read, including mail and magazines, by your bed and read 10 minutes a night to unwind.
12. Use occasional daycare. Every now and then to find time to exercise, have your hair done or shop alone. It's incredible how just three hours alone time once a week can recharge the mothering batteries.