Our beautiful baby boy arrived in July, and what an absolute joy he has been since coming into our lives!
When I was pregnant with Anthony, people told me that life with three kids would be hard.
I think in a way, they did me a huge favour as life has not been anywhere near as tricky as I thought it would be with a 6 year old, 4 year old and newborn.
There are lots of things I did in preparation for welcoming a third child, (especially with a hubby who is away so much) so I would be as organised as possible:
I have our groceries delivered bright and early every Sunday morning. I buy all the big and bulky items like nappies, paper towels, sparkling water, cereal and weekly lunchbox items and by 9am on a Sunday the girls and I (and sometimes the girls on their own!) have packed everything away.
I buy my favourite washing liquid / fabric softener in bulk when it’s half price so I never (usually!) run out. Nothing worse than having five loads of washing and no washing liquid!
I’ll then head to our local fresh fruit and veggie shop to stock up which is SO much easier than doing a big shop with loads of bulky items.
If you live in an area where groceries aren’t delivered – there’s always click and collect!
It will still save you precious time, and then you can do something fun as a family.
Easy Meal Times
I keep my girls dinners really easy. They love raw veggies, so it’s usually some kind of protein – meatballs / chicken / fish / steak with carrots / cucumber / cherry tomatoes / avocado / snow peas / edamame / boiled eggs. They love it!
I also try to cook everything in the oven – it saves me the stress of standing over a hot stove.
Breakfast is usually cereal, cut up fruit, boiled eggs or a banana smoothie (weetbix with frozen banana, yoghurt, cinnamon and unsweetened almond milk – YUM!).
A great snack or breakfast my girls love (and sometimes – dinner!) is avocado on toast.
And we eat LOADS of apples and bananas!
Accept Help AND Offer Help
I’ve been so lucky to have the most wonderfully supportive school mums.
It was the middle of Winter when Anthony was born and many days pouring with rain at school pick up and drop off. Lots of mums would offer to pick Ava up for me so I didn’t have to be out in the wind and rain with a newborn.
When one of the school mums had twins, I was happy to pick her eldest son up to save her doing the school run.
It makes SUCH a difference being able to help each other out!
Get Your Big Kids to Pitch In
My 6 year old Ava and 4 year old Chloe are my best helpers. They help me put groceries away. Unpack the dishwasher, tidy their rooms, put their lunch boxes on the kitchen bench after school. They are also responsible for doing a final check in the mornings to make sure they have all their essentials.
Hats. Homework. Sunscreen. Water bottles. Lunch.
I love that they are such capable, independent little people.
One of my amazing Mum friends taught me to book everything in the school calendar into my personal calendar at the beginning of each school year. So I never miss any big events. School excursions. School concerts. Assemblies. Book week.
I check the weather every evening to plan my girls outfits for the next day, and make sure they have everything they need – including shoes and socks… because hands up if you’ve ever spent ten minutes looking for a sock or shoe in the morning!
I also set breakfast out for the girls before they wake up. Cereal in bowls. A jug of milk. Cut up fruit. So they can have breakfast, then clear the table away, putting dishes in the sink and wiping down their table.
I do most of my shopping online. If the kids need new clothes, I’ll order them online rather than braving the shops – getting stressed trying to find a car park or juggle feeds with my 17 week old baby and urgent trips to the loo with my 4 year old.
If I need to head to the shops, and I’m looking for something specific – I’ll call ahead and see if that shop has it in stock – put it on hold and head in and pick it up.
Get Up Early
For a long time Ava would wake up around 4.30am, and now by body is used to waking up early.
I get up around 5 – 5.30am – and love it.
It helps me get a big head start on the day, gives me time to breathe and I can even sometimes fit an exercise session in!
It also allows for anything unexpected – mornings aren’t so rushed and stressful, and our day as a family gets off to a great start.
Say No and Don’t Overcommit
My main priority is keeping life as simple and smooth as possible for myself and my family. This means managing my days as best I can – knowing when my kids will be tired and keeping everyone on an even keel.
For the past few years I say no to most events I get invited to – it’s not because I don’t want to go – but because it will make life just that little bit more complicated and stressful for my family.
And also – I want to be there for those small moments.
Ava telling me about her day at school.
Chats with Chloe about our favourite things.
If I agree to play dates, I will meet at a small local playground where I know my girls will be happy and safe.
I also generally keep catch ups to the morning and spend afternoons at home getting jobs done (if possible!).
I will also say to no to work opportunities if the expectations are unrealistic for me with small children, or if I know I have an especially busy week.
This parenting gig is a constant juggling act!
Some days and weeks everything works well and everyone’s happy – and other days everyone goes into meltdown mode and I order Uber Eats for dinner.
And if I have a bad day?
Tomorrow is a new day with a fresh new start.
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What’s your best advice for managing life with kids?
How do you keep life simple and stress free?36