So, you’re at a point that daily achievements consist of making it to the end of the day with everyone washed, fed and changed and that’s it. Everything in between is just reactive firefighting and generally trying to keep everyone alive and giving yourself a mental high five if you manage to take a poop unaccompanied. This isn’t quite how you envisioned this whole parenting thing, right?
Imagine if you could manage your days better so that you didn’t have to constantly react to situations or if you could incorporate work into your day without feeling the guilt of taking time away from your children. Imagine if you could be satisfied at the end of the day that you actually achieved something meaningful for yourself that will benefit your future and if only you could do all of this whilst still being a great parent?! You can.
You can equip yourself with knowledge of how to be a confident parent as well as find time to concentrate on your own well-being. ‘Staying Sane and Ahead of the Game’ (as seen in Mother & Baby and The Mailonline) is a brilliant collection of suggestions, advice, tips and tricks to enable you to accomplish your goals at an equal measure of fulfilling your potential of a being a great parent – and enjoying it along the way. From a mother of three under four who runs a successful business (and writes on the side!) this book gives you everything from ‘quick fix tips’ to get the day moving (examples below) to long-terms plans to ensure that you are constantly making achievements to your own dreams and aspirations.
Here’s some examples of tricks to use for those moments that you just have to get everyone moving and out the house weather you’re running late for a meeting, you have a deadline to hit or it’s just a day where you are simply just losing the will to live. In these cases, quick fixes are just what you need:
If the children won’t stay still whilst you dress them in the morning, grab their attention for a moment by opening up a photograph of them on your phone that shows them doing something they really liked and that they’ve not seen for a while. ‘Do you remember when we met Santa last year – look there you are, next to his reindeer, do you remember?’ Their attention should soon switch over to the fact that they want to see the picture and they should come over to take a closer look. As you talk about it, place it in their hand to study and start a conversation about it, whilst you undress and redress them without them even knowing!
To make the last half hour of a long car journey more bearable, whip out an age appropriate joke book and take it in turns to read out a joke. (The driver cannot participate for safety reasons!)
Get everyone to sit in a circle and make up an exciting story to try and keep them sitting still as you cut everyone’s nails.
For an extra ten minutes to fully wake up or give you that buffer to get the other children out of bed first, leave a special book or teddy on your child’s pillow the night before, for them to play with once they wake up. It’s a great conversational starter too, ‘Did the fairies leave you anything this morning?’
Store handy snacks in a low cupboard so that older children can help themselves if needed.
If you have a big day tomorrow, to avoid being woken up as you have just drifted off, opt to ‘dream feed’ the younger ones who still require a bottle during the night; this means rather than waiting for them to wake up in the middle of the night, give them a bottle as they lay asleep before you go to bed, this will give you a longer stint of unbroken sleep.
To save time getting everyone ready in the morning, only purchase clothing that takes minimal effort to put on. For example, clothes for the children that require lots of ironing or have lots of buttons should be rejected before even getting to the tills. Opt for Velcro shoes as opposed to laces and allocate a specific colour for each person’s socks to save rooting.
When it comes to your own work clothes, stick with simple black trousers and the same shirt in many colours. A little boring, yes, but the frustration of finding a matching outfit for work is not something you need adding to your day.
If you’re feeling over-stressed and underwhelmed taking care of babies and toddlers 24/7 then Staying Sane and Ahead of the Game is a light-hearted, practical guide full of tips like these and probably the parenting book you’ve been looking for. Check it out for yourself before you buy by clicking ‘Look inside’.
Author bio: Jennifer Cole is a mother of three boys under 4, who currently employees 50+ and writes on the side. Living in Lancashire, she strives to help mothers reach for their own dreams and aspirations despite the chaos of family life. For more tips see her website Staying Sane and Ahead of The Game and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.