There’s one gift that mums really, really want, and it doesn’t come in a ribbon-wrapped box with Tiffany & Co stamped on it.
I would argue we’re pretty easy to please (though perhaps my husband would disagree!) as what I want is completely free. More time.
There’s never enough time. No time to get every bit of housework done, no time to read that extra story with my children, no time to pluck my eyebrows, no time to shower, no time to watch Don’t Tell The Bride.
My days with two children aged under three are a constant juggling act as I race around trying to get everything done while also being a good parent to my little ones.
So what is the solution to the age-old problem of stolen time? We need to find ways to claw that precious time back. It’s not about cutting corners, it’s about getting smart.
Enter the latest book on my bedside table; Mum Hacks: Time Saving Tips to Calm The Chaos of Family Life by Tanith Carey.
I knew straight after reading the title that this book was right up my street. The questions on the back cover ask:
Are you a time-starved mum who doesn’t have enough hours in the day?
So busy rushing around that you’re struggling to keep your show on the road?
Check and check.
The book promises to help “streamline your life” with tips for every part of your life, from handling sibling squabbles to cleaning your bathroom and even heading off mess before it happens.
What I loved most about this book was how accessible it is. It sticks to the philosophy it preaches by organising the advice in lists with large headings, making it easy to skim through and pick up handy hints when you’ve only got a few minutes to look.
There are hundreds of extremely helpful suggestions for products that can help save time, strategies you can adopt and practical ways to organise your home.
It’s divided into handy chapters including Kitchen Craziness, Housework Hacks, Playtime Planning and, the best, Looking After You.
Here are some of my favourite hacks Ms Carey has to offer:
- A list of five-minute meal ideas.
- Freeze sandwiches in bulk.
- Clean Lego by putting bricks in a mesh bag and sticking them in the dishwasher.
- Use toy containers on wheels that can be rolled out for tidying.
- Pick children’s clothes that are quick and easy for you to put on them and easy for them to dress themselves.
- Choose tops with three-quarter sleeves to keep them clean at meal times.
- Keep your sink looking cleaner by choosing white toothpaste, it won’t be as unsightly when it stains in between cleans.
- Keep a secret second set of keys for when you’re in a rush to leave the house and can’t find your set.
- A 90-second make-up routine.
- Stick your make-up essentials to the wall by your mirror with Blue Tack (this might be my favourite one!).
There are so many simple ways to save time right away in this book. There’s some great ideas for how to get exercise while out with the kids and suggestions on getting your kids to stop rowing with each other and start helping out with housework by making it fun.
One of the areas of my life that causes particular stress is food. I love to eat it but now we’re a family of four it’s such hard work at dinner time.
Mum Hacks suggests ingenious ways to organise your kitchen, stock your pantry and cook smarter so meal times are a more relaxed affair.
This book is without a doubt going to save me time and it’s something I can revisit in future as well because it’s so easy to navigate and find tips to solve your problems straight away.
What’s great about this book is it works for mums of kids of any age. So it’s a brilliant baby shower or new mum gift, as well as a thoughtful and practical present for Christmas and birthdays.
But if you’re offering the Tiffany box too, we’ll take that as the icing on the cake.
Disclaimer: I was sent this book in exchange for an honest view. Opinions are all my own.