There are no two ways about it – this is a busy phase of life. Each week has the same pattern – kids going multiple directions, parents working, trying to cook, clean, shop for food on top of afternoon activities and general life stuff. How are we meant to fit it all in?

To be honest, we probably can’t. As we’ve all worked out, doing it all is pretty impossible and leads to unhappy mums, dads and kids. Regardless, we muddle through and do the best we can.

Here at Birde, we are always talking about our favourite weekday hacks for making it work. We’ve come up with some of our favourites to (hopefully) make your life a little easier!

1. Bulk cooking

So many parents swear by this one. Have a cooking afternoon on Sundays where you meal plan all your dishes for the week and cook them up in one go. It makes perfect sense. You can cook in bulk then portion out meals for throughout the week to ensure you have enough to go around. Then each night you just have to heat and go. Some of my friends also get together once a month and cook in bulk together then take portions home. Catch up with friends, take home lots of food. Sounds like a win! Bonus points if you do it with wine 😉

2. Bulk preparation

If the idea of cooking everything on Sunday sounds overwhelming, just do all the meal prep on Sundays. Cut up all your veggies and meat portions so each night, all you have to do is pull them out of the fridge and cook. You can even cut up your kids’ snacks like their ‘crunch and sip’ and lunchtime fruit. Soak them in a bit of salted water so they don’t brown up and you’re good to go!

3. Cheat dinners

If your kids are at daycare, they’re probably getting a nice hot meal each day. If that’s the case, give yourself a break in the evenings and make a cheat dinner. You could do scrambled eggs, toasted sandwich or a picnic dinner with boiled egg, cheese, crackers and cut up veggies. If your kids are anything like mine, they’ve eaten so much during the day at daycare they’re almost completely full by dinner anyway!

4. Get a slow cooker

So many parents (including me) are obsessed with the slow cooker. Do the prep the night before then throw all your ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning. It bubbles away all day then when you get home, you have a beautiful stew or curry waiting to go. It makes meat super tender (particularly cheaper cuts) and all the herbs and spices infuse when they’ve been cooking away all day. Here are some great recipes to inspire you. Our favourites are the chickpea curry and nice, hearty pumpkin soup!

5. Don’t eat breakfast at home

On daycare days, my kids never eat breakfast at home. They can bring their own breakfast to daycare so I always drop them off with their Tupperware of cereal. It makes leaving the house so much easier as they just get dressed and jump in the car. For kids who are at school or preschool, do a car breakfast. Make an egg sandwich or wrap the night before then heat it up in the sandwich press in the morning. Voilla! The kids love having something different to eat and you don’t have to deal with the mess of breakfast bowls. One tip: make sure they have a towel to catch all the crumbs (learnt that the hard way).

6. Get a robotic vacuum

Take vacuum cleaning completely off the house cleaning agenda with Roomba or something similar. These are those little robotic devices that zoom around the floor throughout the day and pick up all the dust, dirt and pet hair. The families we know who have them now say they can’t live without them. They’re mainly helpful if you have a house that is single level but definitely a time saver if you have long-haired pets and kids.

7. Outsource what you can

We can’t do it all, so outsource the things you can afford. Whether that’s getting a cleaner, investing in one of those meal planning services like Marley Spoon or getting food delivered from places like The Dinner Ladies. Getting through this phase of life sometimes requires some paid help and that’s ok.

8. Put your kids to bed in daycare clothes

Some mums swear by this hack. Instead of putting your kids to bed in pyjamas, put them to bed in their daycare clothes. It makes sense, right? They’re generally going to daycare in comfy clothes like leggings, shorts and tracksuit pants so it’s basically PJs anyway. Just make sure you’ve checked all their pockets for sand (because sand gets in EVERYTHING!!!)

9. Make getting ready a game

Kids love games so why not make stressful mornings more fun. You can have a race to see who can get dressed the fastest then tally the results on a chart for a prize at the end of the week. For kids who are a bit older, you can also give them a chart to help them independently get through their morning routine. Use pictures if they can’t read yet and make sure you’ve gone through it with them so they understand what is expected of them. You could laminate it and they can tick things off as they go with a whiteboard marker.

10. Get into a washing routine

Some parents like to leave their washing for the weekends. Others have a routine where they do different family members on various days of the week (daughter on Monday, son on Tuesday, mum on Wednesday etc) then do sheets and towels on the weekends. Others like to hang their washing on the line in the evenings so you don’t have to fuss with it in the morning. Have a think about what’s going to fit in with your life the best and then buy enough school uniforms, play clothes and work outfits so you don’t get caught short.

11. Get up half an hour earlier than the kids

Lots of parents swear by this trick. Go to bed half an hour earlier, then set your alarm for half an hour before your kids. You can use this time to have a shower, get dressed and do hair/makeup so when the kids get up, you’re ready for the day. Then you can concentrate on getting them out the door. There’s nothing worse than trying to apply mascara while your kids are literally pulling at your shirt and asking a million questions. We’ve all been there.

What about you? Do you have any other tips you can add? Share in the comments below or on our Facebook or Instagram pages.