Mother: only one word, so many meanings. Whether you are a working mum or a stay-at-home mum, your jobs and tasks are endless and don’t lack in variety. Caregivers, cooks, cleaners, psychologists, chauffeurs, doctors, managers, hairdressers, dieticians, accountants, teachers, waitresses, maids and nurses are just few of the roles we take on daily.There just aren’t enough hours in the day, we just don’t have enough arms to handle all the things we have to do. However, what we mastered is improvisation and lateral thinking, so let’s put that multitasking brain of ours to work, and figure out how to keep our sanity!

So far, we have come up with vital principles we should always keep in mind, advice on organizing our family around and tips on setting some ground rules while making sure we fit everything in 24 hours!

Many of us, naturally, spend most of our time in the kitchen; breakfasts, brunches, elevenses, lunches, mid-day snacks, suppers, dinners, late night snacks,drinks in between – some of the many meals we have to prepare daily! I personally love cooking for my family and loved ones but I am, frequently, in need of quick pointers and practical direction towards better ways of doing things around meal times for four people! Let’s take a look at some:

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Everyone should be responsible for their own breakfast. Other than the baby and very small children, all members of the family should be in charge of their breakfast every morning. You just make sure that everything they need is available, such as cereal, butter, jam, cut-up bread, milk etc. and that your children can easily have access to them. It just takes patience and a few trial days/weeks and voila! – breakfast time becomes a stress-free time for you and more fun time for the whole family.

Prepare school packed-lunches the night before. Biscuits, fruit and  juices can go in the bag right away while sandwiches can be kept fresh inside a plastic container in the fridge.

Ask your children what they like to eat. Plan a weekly menu with your children, that way avoiding daily complaints on meal times. Ask them what they mostly like to eat, encouraging them to include at least one healthy option in the week. Set a rule on chocolate and sweets and don’t break it no matter what, so your children know that they can’t negotiate that rule.

Go to the supermarket with a plan! Probably you never find the time to plan meals and make shopping lists but such tactic is crucial for effective meal arrangements. Make it a fun activity for everyone to write down a few favorite meal ideas and then you can all vote for this weeks candidates. Going to do groceries with a plan will also save you a lot of money that is usually spend on impulsive food decisions.

Lunchboxes Part 21
There are many clever ideas for packing school lunches

Eat early! If you have the last meal of the night very late then there is hardly any free time left for the whole family and you  to relax and unwind. Also, sleeping with a full stomach is bad for everyone’s health. Indigestion, especially, causes children to have  upset stomach, restless sleep and nightmares.

You are NOT Jamie Oliver! You have enough jobs to do throughout the day to worry about gourmet meals. Don’t complicate your life even more by spending unnecessary  time in the kitchen. Cook simple meals – choose meats and sauces that don’t need a lot of preparation time. Pasta and rice are a great solution to easy meals.

Avoid grumpy and hungry children before meals. Do you usually find yourself rushing to cook while your children cry and complain that they are hungry? Offer them some quick starters such as cut-up fruit and cheese – it will keep them quiet for a while and you will, hopefully, be left alone  in peace to finish up cooking.

All wonderful moms around the world – relax!! Rome wasn’t built in a day and you cannot fit a 70 hour schedule in the same day either! I promise I will provide you with some very practical ideas and tips to make your parental life  easier and you feeling more chilled out and loosen up. Till next time.
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Psychologist, world citizen, mother - Effie is one half of the alwaysladies.com founding pair. She can bring to life any party with either a smile, or a strong opinion. If like us you can't get enough of Effie, visit her blog at www.thethinkingmomblog.com

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