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If you're a mom, you know that putting the word 'busy' before 'mom' is practically redundant. As a mom, the list of your jobs is virtually endless: from being primary caregiver for your children, to full-time cook. The minute you finish one thing, there's something else to do, and there never seems to be enough hours in a day. If that sounds like your average day, then these life hacks can make your life a little bit easier:

Always keep a bag packed

It's a great idea to keep a bag packed and ready for a spontaneous outing with your child. Make sure it has some of the basics; a bottle of water, sunscreen, warm clothing, a bathing suit, a sun hat, healthy snacks, nappies, clean dummy and wet wipes (or anything else age-appropriate). Put it somewhere accessible where you can easily get it in a hurry. Keeping this ready at any time (and replenishing it as you go) makes things easy for you when you inevitably find yourself in a rush.

Create time-consuming games to keep children preoccupied

Even the most selfless of moms need a little time to themselves every now and then, even if it's to read a good book while sitting next to your child while they're preoccupied with another activity. Create time-consuming games to keep your children busy while you take a bit of a breather. While colouring-in exercises are definitely one way to do this if your children are old enough, you can also get creative with your activities. For example, you could give your children uncooked spaghetti to thread through the holes of a spice jar? This is sure to keep them occupied for a while, and it will build their fine-motor skills.

Categorise medicine and first aid for easy access

Having a neat, logical and categorised medicine drawer and first aid kit is a must. In emergencies, you want to make sure you know exactly where to find what. Clearly mark each section (some suggested categories include pain, trauma, nose and throat), and check your medicines every six months or so to ensure that none of them have expired.

Give your children enough attention early in the day

While this might sound a bit strange, it's important to give your children your undivided attention as early as possible. That way the chances are higher that they'll be less demanding of your attention later in the day. They will feel more secure and loved, especially if they aren't the type to run after you all day begging for attention, and you'll accomplish more without the additional distraction.

Outfit schedule

Getting ready for a busy day can sometimes be a complicated endeavour. One of the best ways to make your morning routine easier is to plan your outfit the night before. And when it comes to your children, plan their outfits for the week. If that sounds impossible, then consider buying a hanging shelf to help you streamline the process. You can then mark each of the six compartments for days of the week (with the last being for both Saturday and Sunday), and every Sunday plan your children's clothes for the week.

Exercise regularly

We all know how important exercise is, not only for our bodies but for our mental well-being. Despite this, exercise is somehow always the first thing to get the chop when things start getting busy or when we are tired. Try to avoid skimping on the gym because in the long run it's going to keep you healthy, fit and actually less tired if you put in enough sessions a week. Alternate the types of exercise you are doing and throw in some yoga and meditation to alleviate stress. Ideally, you should be doing exercise that gets the pulse up three to four times a week if you can.

Make time for yourself

It's not something many mothers allow themselves, but it's vital to ensure some 'me time' in your week. Do something you are passionate about or enjoy at least once a week. The reality is that if you get sick, burnt out and unhappy, it's going to affect your entire family, so make sure that you are looking after yourself, as well as everyone else.

Plan meals (and grocery shopping) a week at a time

This might sound like a mission, but in the long-term, it's one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. It's also especially useful if you're trying to save money on groceries . Create your grocery lists with at least a week in mind and list only essential items. Then add placeholders like starch, meat, vegetables, fruit and cereal. Figure out what's on sale and then plan meals around those ingredients. When you get home, portion and freeze what you can, or cook large amounts of freezable meals and put those aside for days on which you are too busy to cook.

Use a list app like Wunderlist

Most moms are already avid list users. Making lists and checking them off just makes things less overwhelming and helps you get through your tasks more efficiently. And, list apps just make things easier. If you carry your phone everywhere, you'll never have to worry about forgetting your shopping list at home again, and with many apps you can re-use lists by clearing ticked boxes for the next shop.

Get your children to help with house chores

Once your children get to a suitable age, make them earn extra pocket money by helping you around the house. This strategy has a few important benefits: it'll help your children appreciate everything you do for them, it will help you to delegate and not take everything on yourself, and it will help teach your children the value of money and what it feels like to work for it. If this sounds like a good idea to you and you're interested in teaching your children to become more money-savvy, take a look at our next insightful parent-focused article, Teach your children good money habits.

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