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My return to full-time hours after maternity leave began three months ago. Sob! 😭 Time has become my most valued resource.

Actually, its not too bad, my biggest concern was how I was going to run the house to a decent standard.

My strategy – keeping things simple, working smart and not beating myself up when things don’t go to plan.

So, here are some of my solutions:

1) Buy Lunch in Subsidised Canteen. Previously, to save money, I always took my lunch in and meal prep’d on a Sunday. However, as my lunches are subsidised at my current employer, and healthy options are available, I have decided to save time and energy on this. Planning other meals, cooking them and getting kids fed, is time consuming enough. I’ll probably still take lunch in when it suits me, but I won’t make it a necessity.

Not everyone has this option, but maybe you can get a cheap salad or sandwich out of Tesco, which saves you time and money in the longrun.

2) Cleaning Schedule. Until I can afford a cleaner, I need to clean and do laundry in the evenings and weekends. So, easy stuff during the week. Hoovering, brush floors, bathroom. Mopping floors, cleaning kitchen, gardening at weekend. Basically, if it takes longer than 10 minutes, do it at weekend.

3) Food Shop. Weekend task – unless require emergency items. Bulk of shopping will be done monthly, leaving fresh food items to be picked up weekly.

4) Food Prep. I’ve invested in a pressure cooker. I previously used a slow cooker and the oven but they aren’t time efficient. So I used some gift vouchers we had to purchase a ProKingPressure cooker (not a paid advertisement btw). Quick casseroles, soups and meats cooked quickly to be stored in fridge or freezer for a quick ‘heat up’ at a later date. Can also use to cook rice or slow cook – so saves some space in the cupboard – donate or sell those rice cookers and slow cookers!

5) Daily Laundry. If I take a day off from laundry, it is noticed. Either someone is running out of something, or there’s dirty laundry over flowing somewhere, or clean laundry not put away in a corner somewhere. This needs to be prioritized daily.

6) Dishes. No space for a dishwasher. These need to be prioritized daily.

7) Exercise. No time for gym during the week, as have a budget gym membership (@ £14.99 pm – cheaper than pay as you go) can justify using once or twice a week at weekend. Exercise during the week will need to be housework, walking and home workouts.

8) Family Days Out. We don’t really go holidays at the moment on our budget, but we do go for a monthly day-out. Schedule this family time in to make memories. Can even give as a Christmas or Birthday gift – add destination’s on pieces of scrap paper and put into a glass jar or box for the kids to pick out. Can be as cheap or expensive as you like.

9) Significant Other Time. Plan the child care, have a night in infront of tv, a couples walk, roadtrip or night at the pub. Again can be as expensive or cheap as you like.

10) Me Time. Tv catchup time, play golf, watch the footy, have a bubble bath, go to the gym, shopping, reading…..list is endless. This needs to be scheduled in at least once a week. End-off! Be good to yourself, you can’t look after everyone else, if your not looking after you.

All in all though, a schedule is a great guide to structure life, however if things don’t go to schedule adjust accordingly. Do whatever you were supposed to do another day, don’t stress about it, just do what you need to do today. Sometimes, thats just sitting in your jammies.

“The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.”

Confucius.