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Getting organised with a busy lifestyle
Single mum with 3 kids

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#1 Emerald

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:15 PM


I am a single mum to 3 kids and i work full time hours (4 days a week).  

All 3 kids have activities and I'm out at an activity, Monday, (4pm til 7pm)  Tue, (645-845) Wed, (4pm to 5pm) Thur, (4pm to 730pm) Sat ( 8am to 1pm) and Sun (930- 11am). Now i do drop off and come back for pick up on Tuesdays Saturdays and Thursdays.

I leave for work at 6am and am in the door at 330pm.

So i'm in need of help!!! how do you balance it all out?? I am interested in hearing from anyone who has a very strict and workable routine.

I'm after all the help and ideas i can get!!!!

What do you do for healthy quick meals??  How do you get the housework done etc... help help help lol


#2 Overtherainbow

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:42 PM

Not single but working 50-60 hour weeks with 3 chn at school with after school activitities.

Keep on top of washing.  I hang a load before work and one after work.  I have a good indoor line so I can always hang clothes even in winter.  Non ironing goes into a basket and kids grab their own.  They also fold their own towels and put them away.  Ironing is thrown in a basket for ironing nights.  On ironing night I pull out items one at a time, squirt with water and throw in a pile on the couch, when I have a good pile, I start ironing.  Much faster when it's a little damp.

I have dishwasher scrubbers (tube type for detergent) with a mix of vinegar and dishwashing detergent.  A quick scrub with it and rinse and my bath/showers are done.  I keep a container of cleaning wipes in both bathrooms so I can do a quick touch up of toilet and vanity during the week, rarely need any more.  

Dishwasher is loaded and ran when full so nothing is waiting.  Empty put away.  Quick bench wipe after breakfast and before bed.  It doesn't need to be perfect but needs to be hygenic, if there's the odd streak, I have learnt to let it go.

Kids make their own beds and keep own rooms tidy.  They must dust and vaccuum their rooms and playroom on Saturday to get pocket money.

Floors swept or vacuumed during the week.  Try to mop on a weeknight so it's one less job on weekend.

We use Aussie Farmers direct.  They deliver great produce to the door.  I can get away with purchasing pantry items less often so it works out cheaper.  Cook up on the weekend or double cook so you only have to re-heat on alternative nights.

Deal with paper as it comes in.  Get it filed or in the bin asap.

Organise one thing per week.  A cupboard, a table, a toy box, a wardrobe, etc.  Something under 30 minutes.  Declutter it and make it work for you.  I find having something organised makes me feel I've achieved something.

Have clear homework times set for the kids.  On the bench while you cook is great so you can help them.

#3 Wallymaduka

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:44 AM

Things that work for me:  (I only have the one - granted - but I work full time and lead a very busy life, and am single...it's a legitimate struggle but we're doing really well.  Time management and organisational skills are absolutely essential, otherwise I'd fall in a heap).

I think the key is finding what works best for you, to achieve that work/life balance.  Some of my tips aren't practical for some people, for example.

1)  Find any concievable corner or short cut, and find a way to cut it.  Get creative - it's amazing how the little things add up when you're time-poor.  

2)  Purchase a few additional lunch boxes, and prep lunches a few days in advance.  That way, I'm not scambling together school lunches in the morning - I just grab a ready made box a few times per week.

3)  Purchase enough school uniforms to last the week.  Took advantage of Kmart's $5 skorts, and bought enough for the week.  Best investment ever.  No more mid-week washing.

4)  Work outfit and school uniforms are laid out the night prior, ready for the morning.  Best organisational tip ever!

5)  Get cracking with a sticker chart for organisational tasks.  Packing own school bag; setting table; watering garden in the morning;  getting undressed after school and putting everything away ect.  Any task that is done automatically and autonomously, earns a sticker.  Honestly, one week of this and DD had begun packing my work bag for work!

6)  Housework is done early Friday mornings.  It's the last thing I feel like doing before work, but it means my weekends are relaxation zones - not chasing my tail catching up on housework.  The feeling of waking up on a weekend, to an already clean and organised house...is great.

7)  Same with washing.  Never done on a weekend.  Always Thursday nights, dried on the line Friday, folded and out of sight over the weekend.

8)  Meal plan, meal plan... meal plan.

9)  Prior to each new school term, I go on a baking/cooking and freezing frenzy.  Each new school term, my freezer is fully stocked with ready to go goodies and meals/pasta sauces ect.

10) Take away once a week or fortnight.  Nothing expensive, just something convenient.  

11) 1 x weekly activity in addition to swimming (which is non-negotiable).  Any more than that is a logistical head ache.  

12) Homework is usually done at the table while I'm preparing dinner.  Even if it's Mathletics on a my lap top - it's done in the kitchen.  That way I'm available to help (and motivate).

13) Prioritise one day of the weekend as 'schedule free'.  Anything goes.  Without this, I never feel as though I've had a break.  DD also appreciates this.  Sometimes we wake up on a Sunday and do - well - nothing for half the day.

I've also discovered the power of negotiation with my bosses at work.  They've turned out to be more flexible than I knew, but weren't going to come forth with compromise until I spoke up.  Yesterday, I negotiated to start work one hour earlier each day (at home on my lap top) and finish early.  Plus, my new contract includes a work at home once weekly option.  That option was put forth by me, uncontested.  All I needed to do was present an organised case with reasons, and deliver it coherently and reasonably - and voila - they're bending over back wards to accommodate.

Also, I'm not overly harsh on myself if things don't go to plan.  Some weeks tick along in blissful order, and others are just a mish-mash from start to finish.  Accept the losses and celebrate the wins.  Single parenthood is a tough gig, so be kind on yourself and just do the best you can.

Edited by 808state, 21 February 2013 - 04:54 AM.

#4 KT1978

Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:30 AM

can you organise activities so that you carpool? is there too many activities or can the kids do any activities together?

are the kids out the door at 6am or do they get themselves to school?
i found getting dd out the door the hardest thing (730), even being organised it was hard.

you have one day off for housework, but with all the activities there is no down day for you. i think you need a nothing day.

#5 Blueflower

Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:41 AM

i have 4 kids am single and work full Time hours. were out the door by 7.15 and home at 445pm. we have activities of an afternoon every day except Monday's at the moment. its my nothing day.

i do alto of things the other ladies suggested so won't re write them. but for me the biggest thing is keep on top of things don't put things off. i put a load out every morning then fold whilst waiting for dinner to cook. ill ran around tidying up at that time as well.  Friday afternoon is my big cleaning time as(no kids stays clean for the weekend).

kids have to help makes life easier for us all.

and don't beat yourself up if u don't get things done. your one person.can'tdo it all sometimes

#6 Emerald

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:38 AM

Thanks ladies, i'm just struggling with the juggle. On top of their activities we have physio, speech therapy lessons and chiropractors.

I start work at 7am so my parents help me out with drop off and pick up at school> i pre pack their lunches and they pack there bags the night before. I have a school corner which consists of drawers and hooks where all bags, homework library bags etc go, so we have spots for things.

I tidy my house each night, we all do a general pick up of what we have had out that day.

As there are 3 kids they do 2 activities each. (Swimming is compulsory in my house) and then we have another sport each. DD2 is in a development squad for gymnastics so she has 3 days of activities. Sometimes mum will drop one of the kids at their activities and i drop the other so we have some help there.

DS has learning issues so has speech therapy and gets lots of homework for that, plus his year 1 homework. His homework takes quiet a while as patience is a must for him. The girls also need help with homework.

I love some of your suggestions! .............the meal planning is my downfall....Can you suggest recipes that i can cook and freeze in batches?

I am looking for chart ideas to get a routine they know............So like 5pm is homework time etc. It's so hard as they are so busy with their activities.

Saturday afternoons usually our lazy down time where we either do nothing or they play what they like.

I have uniforms for all so that i am so not washing and ironing during the week.

I am hard on myself as i see others who can seem to have a routine and it runs smoothly where i seem to never get myself in some organised state!.

one tired frazelled exhausted mother!!!


Edited by Emerald, 21 February 2013 - 06:40 AM.


Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:41 PM

Just bumping this up. Looks like some great ideas I could use. Will be back later to read and add anything I can!

#8 treetree

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:26 PM

Other people look like things run smoothly, but that doesn't mean they do!

We have six kids, seven activities, and all the other usual stuff. I don't work, but I do study. I also sacrifice a lot of sleep.

We have a giant whiteboard that has everything coming up, chores that need to be done, a basic routine, reminders etc. I update it about once a week for everything but chores which I do daily.

We also have places for the kids bags for their activities so there's no last minute "I cant' find my dance shoes!" Sometimes, one child does their homework in the car (for eg)

Cleaning I do as I go, if I'm in the laundry I put a load on, if I'm in the bathroom I wipe down the benches etc, and then one day a week (sometimes two) I do a big clean.

The kids make their own lunches, whether we are at home or they are at school. They also make their own breakfast most days. I have a few meals that I am so used to making I can throw together quickly for dinner on extra busy days.

BUT, sometimes it's going to go pear-shaped. Just stay calm and let a few things slide on those days! Easier said than done!

#9 Gudrun

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:26 PM


1. Pool with other parents.   Eg one drops a carload off and another picks them up from an activity.  Or divide up the week or week on week off etc.

2.  Portable food or food in containers that can be eaten in the car.

3. Kids prepare own breakfast, snacks, lunch, drinks whatever that are to be taken in the car.  Cupholders in the car are a godsend.

4. Laptop or whatever for things you have to do while kids are at activity if you have to stay.

#10 QueenIanthe

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:35 PM

QUOTE (bellygood @ 21/02/2013, 03:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It doesn't really help but IMO its too much. Too much on you to work fulltime then do all that ferrying around after hours then also run the household by yourself. I'm pretty amazed you can do it at all, let alone have the energy to find ways to do it better!

I agree. I am on my own with five kids and those activities would kill me. I don't even work! (I do study).

The only activities my kids do is Taekwondo Mon and Wed from 6-7 and the four older kids do it, then they do an after school church thing from 4:30-6:00 for the younger kids and 6-9 for the older two.

Me and my kids need down time. Is it working for you? I am wondering how sustainable that schedule is?

#11 Yomumma

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:51 PM

QUOTE (bellygood @ 21/02/2013, 03:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It doesn't really help but IMO its too much. Too much on you to work fulltime then do all that ferrying around after hours then also run the household by yourself. I'm pretty amazed you can do it at all, let alone have the energy to find ways to do it better! I guess some things are non-negotiable like the learning support stuff but I'd be taking a good hard look at other activities. Perhaps swimming is enough? My kids are still quite young so I haven't faced these hurdles but it just seems like a bit of a superhuman schedule to try to manage.

Agreed, you must be superwoman to keep up with that schedule. Something has got to give. Drop some activities and make your life a bit easier.

#12 Betty_D

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:01 PM

QUOTE (Emerald @ 21/02/2013, 07:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I love some of your suggestions! .............the meal planning is my downfall....Can you suggest recipes that i can cook and freeze in batches?

I am looking for chart ideas to get a routine they know............So like 5pm is homework time etc. It's so hard as they are so busy with their activities.

I have to recommend http://theorganisedhousewife.com.au/ - she has loads of meal plan ideas and free routine charts that you can download.

#13 littlepoppet

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:12 PM

I'm seriously exhausted just reading about your week. I would also suggest cutting back on some things if you can.

Good luck

#14 Emerald

Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:02 PM

Thanks for the help..........i don't know how i do it, but i get it done somehow.....I just need help being super dooper organized so I'm not running in and rushing dinner. etc. So the organization of meals is my biggest down fall.

Unfortunately my kids are a way to active to quit any activities. They would lose there minds if they were not doing something!! The activities sound crazy as there are 3 kids with 3 different activities, and the girls are in serious swimming/gymnastics training.

I have my mum and dad to help out, but i don't like putting to much on them. We have a good system going that works well. I just feel unorganized.

I will check out the websites suggested original.gif

There are a lot of fantastic tips I'll be implementing.

We have our bags packed each week for activities so there is no (has anyone seen my gym shorts) dramas on the day.

#15 all-of-us

Posted 25 October 2015 - 10:50 AM

Great ideas - am trying to plan and get an organisation chart list completed.

any ideas for any already made up to go straight onto the fridge or wall?



Posted 28 October 2015 - 08:19 AM

View Postall-of-us, on 25 October 2015 - 10:50 AM, said:

Great ideas - am trying to plan and get an organisation chart list completed.

any ideas for any already made up to go straight onto the fridge or wall?

I painted the inside of my pantry with chalk paint and just write all memos/notes/messages/reminders/shopping lists there. All in one place so no pieces of paper can be lost. Works great.

#17 lizzzard

Posted 28 October 2015 - 08:57 AM

I'm on my own with 2 kids and work full time (out of the house by 7am latest and home at 7pm earliest....). No family help and no car, but I do have a babysitter/nanny and a weekly cleaner. Everything runs smoothly...but it is a bit of a military operation! A few things that help me...
- Whiteboard which is updated for the week ahead every sunday night. I have columns for each family member and babysitter, plus a general household one. I include all activities, school reminders, meal plan and the weather forecast for each day.
- Afternoon to-do chart for each child including itemised homework tasks, bag away, shower, getting changed into pjs, teeth brushed etc. Each activity gets ticked off and at the end of the week kids get a prize if they complete 90%+ completed. Kids and babysitter know I inspect the chart and completed homework when I first arrive home so there is no fudging.
- make use of eat-on-the-go options. Eg DS is a fussy eater, but will eat nutella sandwiches - so he eats one (on white bread!!!) on the walk to school each morning.
- I put my foot down and said no out-of-the-home activities during the school week. This means DD has a singing lesson on Mondays (teacher comes to the house) but nothing else. This wouldn't work for you OP by the sound of it...but it helped enormously for me. Activities are on Saturday  and Sunday mornings now which I really enjoy taking them to and watching.
- extensive use of online shopping - from groceries to items for each kid's hobby, to PJs, socks, and household items...I buy it all online now (just no time for shopping when they shops are open!)
- weekly cleaner - enough said
- easy cooking ideas - I steam pre-prepared veges in microwave bags almost every night, use the rice cooker to steam rice a lot, buy roast chicken quite often to add to salads, pasta etc. We eat a lot of the same things because its easy.

HTH :)

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