I’m just going to come right out and say it: Some days I wish I could just pretend that I didn’t have kids and that I wasn’t someone’s wife. That I could just pull the covers over my head and pretend that life didn’t need to be lived. YES just for one day!
Some days are just more exhausting than others, where from the moment you open your eyes you know it’s simply a case of â€˜Do it or Die’. Whether it is the fact that you got to bed to late or the kids were up all through the night or you simply have lost the will to ADULT, there are days that are simply just more taxing and more difficult to manage than others.
These are the days I usually don’t like to go down without a fight. I put on a brave face trying to psych myself up, knowing deep down I may as well admit defeat and just call it what it is. A right off.
And that’s ok- to once in a while say Hey, life has me by the balls today and I’m going to just say it for what it is it. I’m overwhelmed, tired, unmotivated and low. It’s ok to throw in the towel and surrender yourself to those feelings.
But we all know when you have kids its impossible to ignore the fact that you need to eventually suck it up and deal with all the logistics that are required to see your children get through their days unscathed. Or at least partially so.
I’ve come to realize that it’s often a lack of planning on my part that makes these days worse or how because of the accumulative stress due to not having my ducks in a row, the bad days have the potential to turn into the apocalypse. My advice for those days where you can’t seem to pull yourself towards yourself? Take shortcuts, pull in all your resources and plan your life so that on days like these you know what to do to manage your frustration and your time. Better yet try these tips and you may well avoid days like this all together. And yes this is a case of have a spoonful of your own advice sort of scenario. Il be thanking myself later and hopefully so will you.
- Swap complicated toys and crafts for simple ones. Watercolor paints instead of poster paint. My kids LOVE painting. I on the other hand do NOT! Well let’s be clear, I hate the mess it involves and the clean up time. Watercolor paints are FAR less messy and you don’t need to be hovering over them the whole time. I leave my 3 and 5 year olds to their own devices on the condition that they tell me when they are finished so we can clean up together. Ipad puzzles and story time instead of the real deal. I love doing proper puzzles and reading with my kids but they can be time-consuming and messy to tidy up. On my off days when my laziness tips the scales, I let these Apps do the hard work for me. Sometimes I even let them watch hours of actual real TV programs! Don’t tell the TV police!
- Ice Marie biscuits instead of baking cookies from scratch. Like most kids mine also LOVE baking and let’s be honest I don’t often say yes on GOOD day. So anything that will take the pressure and stress of off my shoulders is a welcome alternative. Get a ready-made icing mix, sprinkles and a pack of their best plain biscuits. Digestive biscuits are a winner!
- Invest in a good Slow Cooker. I realize some of you gourmet foodies may think it’s a little 80’s of me to say but let me tell you, my Kenwood Slow Cooker (only R569!) has saved my life and the meals I make in them are too delicious for words! No matter how much someone tells me the 80’s have called asking it for it back, I will not give it up, not for all the money in the world! All you have to do is throw in all the ingredients in the morning/midday and it does it all for you, cooking the meat and veggies to perfection. We do anything from lamb/tomato bredie to chicken stew to beef goulash. It’s the absolute best being able to walk into a house smelling of lamb after a late afternoon play date and knowing you don’t need to slave in front of the stove! And with winter on the way, it’s the best most convenient and nutritious comfort food! Look out for weekly slow cooker recipes on the blog!
- Have a list of the best two-minute meals in your recipes file/draw. Have those things in your fridge/freezer at all times. My kids LOVE scrambled eggs for dinner. To make them a little more nutritious and filling we add tomatoes, mushrooms and lots of cheese. It’s the simplest yet healthy meal for those days where we can’t get our shit together. Another goodie is pesto pasta with added cheese and tomatoes. I cook this often when my hub is away on business because it takes all of 5 minutes to prepare! And it’s also great because they inhale it without puling faces. Bonus points for no fights, threats or tantrums. Other things we have on our emergency dinner list includes: tomato soup, Woolies fish cakes and mealies. Such easy food that doesn’t involve lots of cooking time. See the cute list below for your emergency meal shopping list. Better yet shop online through Pick ‘n Pay! Hello winter lifesaver!
- Lay things out the night before. I was in such a good habit of doing this and it made such s difference to our mornings. What’s an even better idea if your kids are older is to put their clothes on a level in their cupboard so they can dress themselves. If they not quite ready for that, make sure you put an outfit out for them so they know every morning straight after breakfast they need to go get dressed and brush their teeth. It’s so often about routine and good planning like this goes a long way. It’s also a good idea to get lunches ready the night before. Prepare everything so that all you need to do is throw in a fresh saamie before loading the schoolbags.
- Make sure the kids are doing their part! I’ve gotten so bad at reminding my kids to their chores. Get them to feed pets, draw curtains, water plants and tidy their bedrooms. Doing those things yourself will only add to your everyday stress. Get your older kids to help with the younger ones. If you have a small baby under a year, get his/her older sibling to help feed her or get things that you need for the nappy bag before running out the door. My eldest always loved being my little helper and you would be surprised with just how much I could get away with. Noah go get Brody’s dummy, bunny and a clean nappy for mommy Noah go get some of Brody’s toys to take with to the park, while you there take this to your room. Noah go make yourself a sandwich and get mom a glass of wine while you’re at it. Ok maybe that’s pushing it, but you get the point? Rope them in by making them feel all kinds of special and important. *Evil laugh
- Don’t go to bed with a dirty kitchen. I mostly get this one right because lets face it, who likes waking up to a dirty/messy kitchen? It’s the first place we go to in the morning when we zombie our way through to flip the kettle switch because COFEEE! Walking into a dirty kitchen is bound to get you off to a bad start. I sometimes go as far as putting out the cereals and bowls the night before . it’s a small thing, which makes a big difference.
- Plan your weekly meals and shop with a list. (Or shop online here) The worst is having to return to the shops for the umpteenth time for a clove of garlic or can of tomatoes! It’s a GREAT idea now that winter is on the way to double up and freeze your meals. Another great reason to buy a slow cooker.
- Put all healthy snacks and food in a place that is accessible so that when the kids nag for snacks they are able to help themselves (if they are old enough) I’m all for creating independence and self-sufficient children. We have a draw filled with popcorn, dried fruit, nuts, crackers and pretzels. The boys know to ask but if I’m in the middle of something or just sat down for the first time in 4 hours with a cup of tea, they are able to help themselves.
- Make sure you are doing life with friends in the same boat. If you are the one having the extra stressful day, invite friends over to YOUR house for a few hours. Having a friend weather the storm with you is sometimes an invigorating lifeline in the midst of the chaos. I used to worry too much about whether my house was in an acceptable state. Now I choose my friends based on how little of a crap they give, the ones that look past the overflowing laundry and dirty dishes in the sink. The best part about these arrangements is that everyone is happy, both moms and kids!
- Tidy as you go and find quick and easy ways to clean. For those without domestic help, I hear you, it can be a bloody landmine to negotiate but there are ways to keep things in an acceptable order with little effort. I always make sure I do one load of washing everyday so that it doesn’t pile up the size of mount Kilimanjaro. Sweep the lounge, kitchen and area where people see first when they come in. Always make your bed! We have a rule that the last one out of bed makes it. Not that my dude always sticks to it. Invest in a good mop.
- Ask for help. If you are having a particularly tough day and you have people around you who are there to support you ask for help. If you have a new addition to the family, accept the meals from friends. If one of your children is sick and you need to pop off to the doctor, ask a friend if you can drop the others of for an hour or two. Ask Granny to come watch the kids if you need to sleep or so you can catch up on admin. As moms we are far too easily put under our OWN pressure to do it all. Don’t be scared to pull in your resources and accept the support.
The most important thing to do in these moments is stand back and take a breath. Life can get so overwhelming on days like this. It’s important to realise that its OK to have these off days. It’s not worth getting yourself into a state over or breaking under the pressure. Sometimes life just gets the better of us and we are doing everything we can to simply survive. Try to remember that you will eventually find your way above the water again and find your sense of calm. Until then, give these a go. You may be pleasantly surprised at just how vital some of these mom life hacks can be.
Gotta go, I’m about to put my slow cooker on so I can enjoy the better part of the afternoon with my kids! Don’t you just love how I threw that in there?
Here is my shopping list to add to yours 🙂 If you would like me to email it to you to print, please leave your email address in the comments! Look out for delicious WINTER Slow Cooker recipes coming soon!