First there was one, one became two, three, four, five, six… sometimes all in one go!
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little creatures. They are the most precious of time-wasters and they can fill our lives with so much joy. But raising kids can also be tough. Especially when you have multiples. The need to be organised multiplies by the number of babies you have and more often than not, it is hard to do on your own.
So from a mummy of one who has organised many clients with multiples (and a few without), here are my top 10 tips for how to stay organised.
1) Colour code – I mean everything. If they’re old enough let the kids pick their favourite colour (any fights over the same colour means no one gets it in my world!). From towels to plastic cups to laundry hampers to storage baskets and boxes, always keep that one colour for that child. It’s a lot easier to know who’s left the wet towel on the floor and who still needs to pack away their homework and pencil case.
2) Create a home for stuff – Children take more responsibility for taking care of their stuff when they have clear guidelines and expectations. Create a section for all their things; show them the (coloured) box where their shoes are to be kept. Have a hook for their towel with their name above it. Create a school bag organising station for them to keep their hat, school bags and related items.
3) Label anything and everything! Use colours, use pictures, use words. If it’s labelled and you’ve shown them where ‘home’ is, kids don’t have a leg to stand on with the, “I don’t know where it lives” argument.
4) Follow a schedule – Especially with babies this will be a lifesaver. Divide your day into 15 or 30 minute blocks and create a Default Diary. Leave gaps for emergencies and make sure you have at least one block per day just for you. To shower, have a cup of tea, or eat some chocolate; whatever you need that day. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of YOU.
5) Create a Chores roster – If you’ve got older kids have a family pow-wow and create the list of chores together. Delegate chores appropriate to each age and make sure the kids (mostly) feel it’s fair. Create rewards/consequences for when daily or weekly tasks do or don’t get done. Asking the kids for input helps create a sense of ownership and responsibility.
6) Ask for and accept help – Don’t pretend to be Superwoman. Just don’t. You are amazing enough for carrying multiples to full term and loving those little creatures. If people offer to babysit, make note of when they’re available. If a friend offers to help with chores once a week, let her come. If you need an hour to yourself once a week and need to pay a babysitter to come, do it. Your sanity is so important.
7) Plan – As soon as you know you’re having multiples create a plan. Do you need to move house? Rearrange rooms? Win the lotto? Spend time reading about mums with multiples and meet up with some for some encouragement and support.
8) Set up a system – Use a (coloured) ring-binder to organise each child’s life. Keep track of their health records, school certificates, even notes about feeding times, personality traits etc. Use the ring-binder to record all your thoughts and notes about each child so when mummy brain takes over, you’re prepared.
9) Alternate time with each child – Try to spend at least 10-15 minutes one-on-one time with each child a day. The more multiples you have the smaller this amount of time will have to be. Alternatively, with older children, rotate special time every two days so you can spend longer with each child. Once a month spend a couple of hours with each child (or rotate on a montly basis) doing something fun together. These times will be so precious to the both of you.
10) BREATHE – There will be times when you feel overwhelmed and you’re struggling to cope. This happens to any parent. Remember to stop, take 3 deep breaths and relax. It will all be okay.