It’s no secret that I’m
hassled frazzled bonkers busy but it’s not all doom and gloom. Living and working in London and bringing up a child in one of the most cultural capitals of the world is a rich and rewarding experience. There’s no way you can really slow down unless you leave town for the weekend or take a holiday, so my advice is just enjoy the ride.
That said, there are times when the stress may seem overwhelming. I just have to stop for a second and ask myself ‘What’s going to solve this simply and comfortably with no lasting impact?’ So while I have not resorted to cutting my own hair because I can’t fit a visit to the hairdresser in, I’ve definitely learned to cut a few corners and give myself extra time.
If you’re a working Mum like me and need to be firing on all cylinders 100% 24-7, you might find these ideas useful.
I often get cabs to work and drop my daughter on the way. Some days we have to take gym kit, guitar, lunch box and school bag plus I have my handbag and laptop so it makes for a cumbersome walk. It buys us an extra 30 minutes or so meaning we have more time together in the morning and I get half an hour of zen like calm in the car after the chaos of getting out of the house and to school on time. I do my make up in the car, make any calls I need to, then grab a coffee and a yoghurt before hitting my desk. Can a nanny do all that?
The necessary evil for all women and the most stressful thing in the morning; falling over while putting on tights and even worse; putting your hands through them as you pull them up. Always, always, always have oodles on hand for these hideous moments – at least 10 pairs is my estimate. Wolford is the best brand for tights and topshop for funky socks.
Every Occasional Wear
Make sure your wardrobe is well stocked and kept up to date, not just with new buys, but vintage oldies too and all kept in tip top condition and ready to go at a moment’s notice. If I’m coming home from work and having to go out later, I don’t want to spend precious time having a wardrobe crisis. I also choose what I want to wear in the morning.
Every week or so if my daughter has done really well at school or done something fab, I take her out to her favourite restaurant as a treat. She’s invented an absolutely revolting cocktail of cranberry juice and orange fanta which she loves, I don’t have to cook or clean up – perfect all round.
Work at Home
Working from home is the best thing ever. Make sure you have good broadband and mobile phone reception, as well as a back up laptop. Not only can you save hours on your commute but you can also catch up on domestic stuff at lunchtime. Even better, go for an early morning run after the school drop off and set yourself up for the day.
Dump the Toxic Timewasters
I have friends who make me wait – sometimes for hours. There are others who are forever rearranging to meet up and keep cancelling either a few hours before or after the meeting time. I think I probably spent or rather wasted at least 20 or hours on these people. I have such little spare time that I find what little I have is precious. It’s even more precious if I have paid for a babysitter or have arranged my day around one particular meeting… So no more of this in 2010 for me.
Full Steam Wardrobe
Never fight with the ironing board again….invest in a clothes steamer and make like a stylist. These are great, plus the savings on dry cleaning bills are massive. Steaming your clothes kills bacteria and smoothes creases, great for wool too plus it doesn’t use any earth harming chemicals, win-win I say.
Internet shopping is not just for a weekly one off. My milkman is online, we get three deliveries a week, so we always have milk, juice and yoghurt. So is Abel & Cole so we’re never short of fruit or veg plus they sells eggs, butter and loads of other things. They’re both doorstep services so you don’t have to be home. Use an online grocer for big stuff and bulk buy toilet rolls, dishwasher tablets, juice, dry goods.
Keep It Simple Supper
Two ways to give yourself a break in the evening; have an abundance of things which you can prepare in under 10 minutes or shove it all in the oven so you can cook and do other things. Dry fried Halloumi, green beans in pesto, olives, hoummus and pitta – hey presto! You can bake perfect risotto with peas in 30 minutes, and cook salmon at the same time in the oven.
Sleep Through It
My final and most important tip is don’t forget about those cosy moments which you cherish so much when you look back. When my daughter was small, sometimes I would fall asleep with her while I was reading her a bedtime story. I’ve started doing this again!