Wednesday, 12 October 2011

How to be Superwoman

So many of you have commented on my blog in the past with the words "I don't know how you do it", "You must be Superwoman", "How to you manage to fit in everything and look after a baby and a toddler"?

If I'm honest I 'just do' it's the way I am, I don't like to sit still and I have to be doing something. But if I step back and look at how I manage, I guess there are a few things I do on a daily basis that make my life a little easier, so I'll share a few with you.

First things first, lists. I am the eternal list maker. Having had 2 children I am now suffering with terrible baby brain. It is bad after 1 child, but I swear when they had me under sedation following the birth of Little Miss Mack, they surgically removed most of my brain.

I forget everything and without my trusty lists would be a mess.

I take it to the extreme, but take what (if anything) you can from my list planning and use it to your advantage.

This is the housework chart. All of the jobs I need to do and a weekly tick box. The tick box covers the whole week (from a Monday) so whenever you do that bit of housework tick it off. I aim to have a complete column of ticks by Sunday.

Next to the housework chart is Little Miss Macks routine. You'll notice it says 'rough' routine. I am a bit of a routine queen when it comes to my children. Little Mack has certainly benefited from one and is a happy, well adjusted little boy, but by no means I am I really, really strict with them. If you plan to live 'your' life as well as look after your children, you need to be flexible.

Little Miss has a couple of naps a day, if we are at home it will be in her cot, but if we have been out and she has fallen asleep in the car seat or push chair, then she will just stay there once we get indoors. If we are out at someones house, she will nap in her buggy or on the floor on a rolled up blanket, she's not fussed. I have made sure to instill this in to her from day one and it certainly helps for ease when you have a busy day or your plans change for whatever reason.

My other godsend is breastfeeding, not having to worry with bottles, formula and all the palaver that goes with it is amazing. I appreciate it's not for everyone and some of you reading this might have tried but not had much luck. I urge you though if your struggling and thinking of giving up, ask for help it's out there if you know where to look and it's well worth it. Just shout if you need any pointers. Another handy way to get round those days when your plans go wrong and your day changes, you can just feed them a little bit to get you to your next destination and then 'top them up' a bit later. Genius, milk on tap!

So this is a weekly timetable. I know a tad extreme, but in my case essential. I don't do these every week, just when time is particularly pressing. This week for instance I have a big craft fair on Saturday and due to a successful event last Friday I have had to re-make lots of stock so this list is mainly about when I can make what I need to make.

Firstly I break the week down and look at Mr Macks shifts, asking myself when will he be home, when can I get dedicated 'studio time'? when will it be me and the kids and I will have to work indoors?, whens mum coming over? I then write a list of things that need doing and slot them in accordingly.

You'll notice on Tuesday Mr Mack was home all day, so I knew I could be in the studio all day and just pop in to feed Little Miss. Wednesday (today) however it was just me and her so I made that the day I went out and about to buy supplies and get jobs done indoors. Tonight Mr Mack is in so I will again be in the studio knowing he can keep his ear out for the kids.

My timetables then get broken down further to a daily one, this is today. I have worked out what I need to achieve and a rough timescale to do it in. I've included a list of the things I needed to purchase whilst I was out. I did achieve everything on here today, but changed it a tiny bit to suit me. For instance I got to Codies house at 10am as I had finished my shopping, but Little Miss was a bit whiny so I sat in the car and fed her till 10.20am Not a major change, but as I always allow for slippage there is room for other things cropping up.

I kept my entire afternoon free which has allowed me to do a spot of tidying up at home and allowed me to blog. I'll be shooting off when I'm done here to collect Little Mack from school. Little Miss Mack is currently sleeping but I'll just scoop her up and pop her in the buggy to finish off her nap.

To the left is my 'shopping list' I keep it running with things as and when I realise we need them so whoever next goes to the shop can pick it up. Today it is full of high street jobs for my lovely Mum who is coming over tomorrow and going to the town with the kiddies!

So that's my crazy list system, now on to my basket system. I love baskets! Grab a basket, fill it with a task and complete it when you can.

These two are both full of crafty jobs. On the left is a whole batch of teabag holders with their buttons loose in a bag, a reel of thread and a needle. Either Mum or I will sew these on tomorrow. On the right is hand warmers, cello bags and labels all ready for a session of packaging.

Having tasks 'to hand' allows you to grab a job when you have a spare half an hour or an unexpected visit from someone who wants to entertain your child for you. This system also means you can spend the night in front of the telly with your feet up as you have a job that can be done on the couch to hand at all times.

Another few things I do to make life easier:

  • Pack your bags or load the car the night before (using your list as guidance for what you will need)
  • Put out your child's school uniform the night before
  • check the book bag for notes and deal with them as soon as you get in from school
  • leave a bag by the back door for items to take down to your studio (if you have one) I guess (if we had stairs) this would work for that too. Place a bag on your banister and fill it with things to take up next time your going up.
  • Turn off your computer only allowing yourself on at set times of the day
  • Use a blog reader tool (I use google reader) if your a blog fan. I read my blogs once a day in the same way that some people read the newspaper
I don't really do anything else that makes me 'Superwoman' I hope that these tips have helped you in some way.

Lastly, make the most of times like this:

But do know how long you have, it's important to rest and believe me if you don't, you will end up coming tumbling down. I often don't heed my own advice and every 2 or 3 weeks there will come a point when I get so tired I end up snapping at my husband and snapping at the kids. It's usually at this point one of two things happen; My lovely Mum will come and spend the day with me, helping out around the house and with the kids and taking a load of washing or ironing home with her or Mr Mack will order me to bed, feed the baby a bottle and let me catch up on some much needed rest.

I am very lucky to have such a supporting family, but if you are not as lucky as me, listen up. Take some time to sit and read a book, go to bed early, take a bath and just generally relax. Or if your like me and simply cant, do what I am doing now. Little Miss Mack is asleep, Little Mack is at school, Mr Mack is at work and I have a hot cup of coffee, a chocolate biscuit and I'm sitting on the sofa. OK so I might be working and updating my blog, but I am resting if nothing else.

If all else fails, there's always:


  1. What a great blog. Definitely helpful to all busy mums out there. I agree 100% on the breastfeeding - it really cuts out a lot of time! I love my lists - a must following baby brain! x

  2. I don't have children yet - but I still work along the same system you do. It is comforting to know I am not alone in my crazy list world. Hubby thinks I'm mad as I have master lists, which have sub lists, which have sub sub lists...!

  3. Lovely post! You put me to shame... though I love the idea of a house work list. So simple but might actually get my lazy butt in gear. I have no kids, just a full time job, a lazy hubby, two cats and a rabbit that 'eat' the house and a business partner that's going to do my head in soon with her lack of crafty knowledge. So I think I may well try out your list idea for myself, and give the basket idea. Love it! Well done...

    ... now to try out the wine ;)

  4. Brilliant idea all those list's, I wish i was as organised as you.
    Maybe I will start using lists too.

  5. I love making lists and find it so rewarding to cross of a task, I especially like writing a task down just so I can cross it off again!!

  6. Er . . . wow! I do make lists, but not even close to your level! I put my lists in books, and then when stuff is ticked off I can look back & see how far I've come (sorry, not interested in housework lists but luckily OH is mega-organised with housework!!). 100% agree on the breastfeeding thing - it's amazing how much easier it makes life with a baby.

  7. oohh like the idea of lists, I did try daily routines but hated that as it bored me to tears but a list when you can tick things off sounds fab!

  8. Gosh you sound soooo organised! Used to think I was but I can see I'm gonna have to pick up a fe new techniques. Actually Daddy is in for a shock!

  9. Hello .... just popping over from I love new blogs - very impressed with your organisation - love it! And why not .... you have inspired me to get a little more organised especially with the computer - get sucked into it given any opportunity.

  10. I like to think I am so organised but really I am just a scatterbrain wielding a calendar and a sharpie and have NO CLUE! I usually remember things at the last minute and muddle through - I salute your organisation skillz!

  11. Wowsers, you are super duper organised! :) Well done you x

  12. OMG, I wish I could be like you, Claire!