IS THERE a mother out there who doesn't wish for more time ... time to sleep, time to shower or enjoy a cup of tea while it's hot and I'm sure there are more than a few who wish for more time to clean.
It's as if time is the enemy and you spend all day at war with it.
That's certainly how I felt when my kids were little. I would look at the mess and feel overwhelmed by all the "work” around me.
Now that I'm a nana, the benefit of hindsight lets me see that time spent nursing a baby, getting down on the floor to play silly games with a toddler or driving older kids all over the place so they could chase a football around the park was actually time well-spent.
Too many of us focus on the mayhem of raising a family and it is easy to get stressed out by the messiness of your life.
But I couldn't just let it all go and live in total chaos.
To maintain a sense of balance, I developed some time-saving hacks that gave me a sense of order.
I found that creating a rhythm to daily life let us get on with things that mattered and stopped me nagging everyone (although the kids might argue with me on that point).
Here are my top six tips to help you maximise the time you have to spend on keeping life organised:
1. The meal plan - write out the menu for the week, stick it on the fridge, shop according to the list and you will save precious time stressing about what's for dinner. Save even more time by keeping it simple and choosing meals that are easy to cook and you know the kids will eat.
2. Keep cleaning products (spray, paper towel, etc) in wet rooms - that way you can do a quick clean in the bathrooms, laundry or kitchen.
3. The 10-minute tidy. Set the oven timer and blitz a space. It's amazing what can be achieved in 10 minutes if you go flat out. Teach the kids to do it too. It also helps to do a 10-minute tidy at night when the kids have gone to bed or just before you go to bed.
4. Always do the dishes after dinner. Waking up to a messy kitchen just gets the next day off to a bad start.
5. Create storage spaces in every space. Cheap laundry baskets/hampers make it easy to contain kids' stuff in living spaces. Give each kid a hamper of their own and, if there are too many toys to fit in it, then it's time to see what can be passed on to another family.
6. Stay on top of the laundry - get in the habit of doing a load each day. If your machine has a delay start, put it on the night before so it's ready to hang as soon as you are up. And fold it as soon as it comes inside. If your kids are school-aged then they are old enough to help fold clothes.
Remember the days might be long when you have little kids but, at some point, you realise the years are short.
Make the most of them by doing things you and your family will remember and appreciate.