5 simple #mumhacks our fashion director lives by to run a (mostly) stress-free household

When I had all the time in the world pre-kids, it wasn’t unusual to spend double, or even triple the amount of time doing simple things that now take me under 10 minutes...

My morning beauty routine, styling outfits to wear, meal-prep and general day-to-day activities were all leisurely routines I relished and enjoyed, but now it’s all a matter of multi-tasking and doing what I can, when I can. Here’s how I’ve learnt to embrace shortcuts so things run smoothly for myself as well as my family day-to-day.

1. Leave beauty maintenance to the experts

Confession: I find everything beauty-related quite tedious, and I’ve never been great at devoting a lot of attention to beauty maintenance. Fast forward to two kids and a face that seemed to instantly age overnight, and I’ve slightly changed my tune. Instead of spending more time in front of the mirror, I’ve now invested a lot more energy into professional-help to help me get out the door in under five minutes and still look half-decent. I get my eyebrows waxed and tinted religiously every four weeks, I have a Keratin treatment put in my hair three times a year and I try and get a Shellac mani and pedi at least once a month to help me look more put together than I feel. While this may seem indulgent, these regular appointments make up for the lack of time I have to actually get ready in the morning. I honestly feel it’s a better use of my time and money to let the experts do their thing so I can face the day confidently with minimal fuss at home.

2. Wardrobe planning is everything

Something I started doing when I used to work early hours of the morning was prep my outfits the night before, and it’s something I still do not only for myself, but also my children. Even if I don’t have anything planned for the next day, I’ll religiously check the weather and leave out appropriate outfits so the next morning isn’t a big “what on earth do I wear” scramble. I find this also really helps encourage my daughter to dress herself and not make a big song and dance about what she does and doesn’t want to wear. The lesson here is that a little bit of evening preparation makes a big difference on a hectic morning, particularly on days when you need to get out of the house in a dash.

3. You don’t have to be a great cook, just a well-prepared one

I do the majority of the cooking in the house because I love food and found it was always a great way to de-stress, but having two kids has definitely changed that. I like to think I prioritise health and nutrition when preparing family meals, but the truth is on some days it’s all about survival. I try to make the entire meal-prep process easier by doing weekly online supermarket and fruit and vegetable shops, and by keeping a pretty simple rotation of meals I know everyone will eat (relatively) happily. I also keep staples in the freezer in either single-serve or family-size portions to allow for quick access when needed. But let me be real for a minute here –  most nights I really don’t have time to make an Instagram-worthy plate, particularly for my kids, so if I need to offer eggs on toast for dinner, I do. In my experience, meal-time can cause a lot of angst for mums and I just don’t think it’s worth the headache. All kids, at different stages of their young lives, will either be the world’s best or worst eaters, so as long as their everyday food is healthy, then their sometimes food can be as easy and stress-free as you need it to be.

4. Be ready for anything at any time

When I first had my daughter, I’d often put getting out of the house in the “too hard” basket because on most days it was simply a task I could never master easily. I vowed to do things differently when my son was born so I never had an excuse to stay home. To ensure I’m always ready to grab a coffee, meet up with friends or even just head to the supermarket, I’m always dressed and ready-to-go as soon as I wake up, or should I say, as soon as the kids wake me up. I now always put my own morning routine ahead of my children’s so I’m ready to tackle whatever is thrown at me (literally and figuratively!) during the day. It seems terribly simple, but dealing with the morning routine and racing out the door seems a heck of a lot easier if I’m feeling comfortable and confident, and being suitably groomed is a big part of that.

5. Add to calendar

I’m a routine-mum all the way and I’ve found that having a schedule not only works for sleep-time with children, but also weekly activities. To ensure things go smoothly for my family, my husband and I put all extracurricular activities into each other’s calendar so we know what we’re up for before heading into a new week. This can include everything from ballet lessons to doctor appointments, nights out with friends and birthday parties. The reason for this? I’ve spoken about my anxiety before, and one of the ways I feel more on top of things is by knowing what’s coming next. It’s a really simple idea that helps set the tone for our week ahead in terms of work, play and family. It also means if one of us is unexpectedly unavailable, we can easily pick up where the other left off. Basically, I don’t think there’s such a thing as being too organised when kids are involved, and if a little forward planning makes all the difference for everyone’s stress levels, then I’m all for it.

Words: Marisa Remond | Image: Grace Alyssa Kyo