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!

In the first part of our easier meal planning techniques we talked about useful ideas on organizing things around the kitchen and making sure everyone does their part to help. This week we will expand on that further and discover easy, everyday things we can change that can help us arrange meal planning better.

Plan ahead. When you have some spare time, cook a bit more and place the meal in portions in the freezer. This way, you can always have something ready in times of emergency. One way to do this is to cook enough food in the weekend for the whole week.

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Limit supermarket visits. Instead of looking for something to cook every day, or having to daily visit the supermarket, do it once a week. Next time you go shopping, buy enough food the whole week. It will help you save a lot of time and you won’t have to run around looking for something to cook.

Store breast milk. If you are still breastfeeding and you need to be out of the house, or work or even want to rest for a while, store some breast milk in the freezer so its readily accessible for the carer in charge to feed the baby.

Buy a freezer. Maybe that could be one of your best buys ever! If you have a garage or a storage place, preferably buy an ‘upright’ freezer rather than a ‘chest’ one. Upright ones are more accessible and easier to store frozen goods in drawers. Fill your home freezer with anything from frozen vegetables, fish and meat to pies and small juices for school.

Help your children help themselves. If you have older children that can do things like placing plates and spoons on the table or simple tasks, that can help you, like boiling water for pasta or even washing the vegetables motivate them to do so. Try putting plastic plates and plastic cups in a low cupboard that your children can reach. If they like doing stuff around the kitchen give them tasks that they are able to do and praise them afterwards.

Organize your recipes. I used to try printing all my recipes or write them all up in a ‘recipe book’. That was before I had children. Now I know that this method doesn’t really work and it’s so time consuming! The best way is this: get a binder and fill it with cut up recipes from magazines and recipe books. When you concentrate them all there you can easily find them when you need to and you’ll save valuable time writing them down.

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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