The Mummy Cheat-Sheet

Mums always need more than 24 hours in a day. To take care of baby/toddler – feed them, change them, feed them again, change them again, clean up the mess from the previous feeds, entertain them, discipline them, entertain them some more, sleep-train, potty-train, life-train. To breathe. To take an uninterrupted shower. To catch up on housework, blogging, facebook, life.

Mums always need more than 24 hours in a day. Irrespective of whether she's a SAHM or a working mum.

So I've put together a bunch of useful tips (I refer to them as my cheat-sheet) to help fellow mums navigate the exhausting satnav of motherhood, and make it just a tad easier.  Go on, cheat a bit. Oh, and you're welcome!

 

The Mummy Cheat Sheet

In the kitchen

Whether we like it or not, we spend a LOT of time in the kitchen. Family meals, toddler snacks, pureed baby food. Here are a few tips that can help you whizz out of the kitchen quicker.

Use frozen veggies

Frozen veggies. In a word, a godsend. You can make an entire floor puzzle with your toddler in the time it takes to rinse and chop all those veggies. So save yourself the extra time and effort and still make nutritious veggie-based meals.

And hey, here's a bit of interesting information: Frozen veggies are actually more nutritious than fresh ones (unless of course, you grow them yourself or know exactly when they've been picked). Makes sense, by the time the tomatoes arrive from Spain to your local supermarket, are then bought and stored in your fridge, and finally cooked – it could well, not be as fresh as you'd think! Frozen, on the other hand, are packed straight after being picked. Some food for thought to appease the guilt, huh.

Make microwave meals (yes, they can be healthy too)

Agree there's a lot of buzz about microwaves not being safe etc etc, but this is a cheat-sheet remember? When you're time-strapped but still want to put healthy food on the table, some frozen veggies and a microwave can be your best friends. Click here for some quick, easy and healthy microwave meal ideas for toddlers

Batch-cook

Don't try to be Supermom. Be Sensible Mom instead. Make larger quantities of foods (whether it's pureed food for the baby or a family meal) and freeze for a quick home-cooked go-to meal another evening.

Stock up on these kitchen-cupboard essentials…

… and you can make a meal in less than 30 minutes.
– Chopped tomato tins
– Frozen onions
– Frozen veggies
– Eggs (to whip up a vegetable omelette)
– Pasta (stir in the chopped tomatoes, throw in some frozen veggies and sprinkle on some herbs)
– Bread (sandwiches, remember?)

Keep packets/ jars of pastes

You will always find a packet of ginger-garlic paste in my fridge. I love ginger and I love garlic and I love the flavour both lend to food. Especially Indian food. But it's not so fun peeling a ginger or garlic clove with a toddler asking for a zillion things at the same time. One spoonful of the magic quotient and I'm sorted!

Self-care

Looking after a baby/ toddler can often leave you with no time to properly look after yourself. Gone are the days of long showers, deciding which shoes match your outfit, blow-drying your hair and putting on make-up. Now, it's all about quick fixes to look presentable. These are my saviours:

Dry shampoo

Mums have a lot of bad hair days. Its expected, when you really can't remember when you last washed your hair! Or used conditioner. On days like these I reach out for my tried-and-tested dry shampoo. Leaves my hair looking washed and smelling fresh. (Sshhh, don't let the cat out of the bag!).

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Television

What does the telly have to do with self-care, you ask? EVERYTHING, I answer. Because when the television is on, your toddler is endlessly occupied, leaving you time to have a proper shower (and condition your hair); drink a hot cuppa; write a blog post or faff around on Facebook. And even catch some shut-eye whilst keeping the other eye on your kiddo. See – self-care!

Coffee…

Whether you like it or not, you HAVE to wake up when your toddler springs out of bed / pokes you in the eye / shouts 'It's morning Mummy' in your ear. It doesn't matter whether you slept at 8 pm or 2 am. Whether you woke up for night feeds or pee-soaked beds. You just have to get out of bed and get on with it – the breakfast with toast as it should be, the constant answering of inane questions and playing pretend games with superheroes. All this at 7 am. It's at times like these (and, well, pretty much through the day) that coffee cheats you into looking and feeling fresh.

 

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Other handy tips

Keep your nappy bag ready-to-go

Packing a nappy bag is a task in itself. Depending on whether you have a baby or a toddler, you have to pack in the correct amount of nappies, change of clothes, wetwipes, formula, snacks, toys and what-have-you. Everything must go in because you never know when you will need what. And believe me, there are days when you will need all of it! Save yourself the time (especially when in a hurry) and the misery of having forgotten something by keeping the nappy bag almost-ready. Nappies. Check. Wet-wipes. Check. Change of clothes. Check. Toys. Check. Non-perishable snacks such as crisps, biscuits and breadsticks. Check.

 

Keep calm poster

 

Keep meal-times less messy

Ok, I know that sounds impossible but that's why I said 'less messy' and not 'clean' (picture me day-dreaming of a clean mealtime…). Place a large plastic sheet under the highchair/toddler's little table so that all the crumbs and spills can just be swooshed away in one go. Wipe the sheet with a wet wipe and slip it back for the next meal.

Let your toddler eat in the bath-tub (when weaning)

This might sound crazy but it makes life soooo much easier. Messy foods such as yogurt, ice-cream, gooey chocolate cake are best consumed naked in the bath tub. So you can wash baby/ toddler down immediately without worrying about cleaning the sofa/ floor/ clothes. It works!

NOTE: This is a cheat-sheet. I'm not ALWAYS so lazy. I promise. And I may not be THAT mum that's always impeccably dressed and makes meals from scratch and still has time to make cupcakes for toddler's nursery class. But I am a REAL mum, and real mums are allowed to refer to the cheat-sheet once in a while…

 

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43 Responses

  1. OddHogg

    I batch cook – it saves me so much time to just be able to pull something out of the freezer! #Bestandworst

  2. Tina Shroff

    Love the article Nicole. So many tips we tired moms could use. Keep em coming. Every article is entertaining and a pleasure to read.

    • Nicole

      My friend did that with both her kids – she was stress-free during messy meals!

  3. Rhyming with Wine

    I'm all for batch cooking – in fact batch anything! I've even been known to pack the hubby's sandwiches for the week in one go and chuck them all in the freezer. (Everything freezes except salad which can always be added in a little side pot to go). Then he takes a frozen sandwich from the freezer in the morning and by lunch time it is defrosted but cool. That way he gets all his lunches made up with fresh, just bought bread too. Saves so much hassle each evening. Fantastic tips – especially eating in the bath! Thanks for sharing with #fartglitter x

  4. Helen Copson

    You can't beat a cheat sheet! Some great tips on here. I particularly like the one about TV. Not that I would ever do this of course. She says – commenting on your blog, whilst three year old is watching Paw Patrol on TV next to me… 🙂 But hey, #ItsOK

    • Nicole

      Of course #itsok!!! I've always maintained that the TV is the world's best babysitter. Amen.

  5. Caroline

    I love this, some great tips – am going to start buying frozen veggies for sure and need to get back into the groove of batch cooking. The TV one has definitely been used several times in this house!! #itsok xxx

  6. Sarah

    Great tips! I think coffee is a definite must – with everything I need to get done every day, sleep is the thing I sacrifice to fit it all in.

    • Nicole

      Sleep-deprivation is one of the toughest challenges of new motherhood. No matter how bad a night we've had, we've got to be up when baby's up. So… coffee to the rescue!

  7. Lyn

    Love this so much as I can associate with all of it! I started out with the ideals……all organic, home made etc but, in real life, it's just not always realistic! I love my slow cooker for making batches of family meals. The TV is definitely your friend! Every mum needs this sheet! #itsOK

    • Nicole

      Ah thank you Lyn. Yes, the slow-cooker is another godsend, thanks for including it in!

  8. ginginandroo

    Oh my gosh yes to frozen veg!!! Literally a life saver. Either on the hob or the microwave steamed packs – so easy and so quick! Great cheat sheet #itsok xx

    • Nicole

      Thanks so much. I'm a huge advocate of frozen veggies; they are so quick to cook, there's never wastage and you can whip up meals in a jiffy with them.

  9. Toni

    I can so we usually can have access to a quick meal and batch cooking is my friend. I cook a whole chicken and we eat something with chicken for the next few days or I make pot pie filling and freeze it. And rice I cook a few cups and we eat stir fry, soup, fried rice, or I add cinnamon and sugar for a treat! #itsok

    • Nicole

      Exactly. So many quick meal ideas when we batch-cook. Plus we don't feel bad because it is home-cooked, healthy food after all!

  10. Tracey Carr

    Oh I am definitely with you on the batch cooking. It is a saviour for when you need to get dinner on the table fast. And the tv – yes this is one of my big cheats. I often feel bad for doing it but it really is one of the only times to get some uninterrupted peace. I suppose sometimes you just do what you have to do and try to let go of the guilt! #itsok

    • Nicole

      I used to feel terribly guilty about using the TV as a babysitter, but needs must! Now, I don't let the TV guilt eat me up so much!!!

  11. Lisa Pomerantz

    Loving this post again, from #itsok and happy to report that I stocked up at the grocery today, am letting off steam in the instapot right now, and planning school lunches. Where is my cape?
    M'wah! #itsok xoxo

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