As a mum of five, I like to think I have my sh*t together.
Of course, I have bad days where nothing seems to go my way and things start to cave and fall around me but thankfully, those days are rare and few especially now that baby number five is more alert and content watching and listening to the madness evolve around her.
In saying that, we didn't fall into a routine, we had to create it - as a busy mum, I have to be organised to make room for my work-life balance.
If you feel like the walls are closing in around you, try these simple tips and tricks to stay organised as a busy mum (or dad for that matter).
When it comes to parenting - you can't do it all and be it all. Share out the chores no matter what age your children are. My children (aged 3, 4, 5 and 9) all have age-appropriate chores, some more than others.
For example, both my girls aged three and four empty the bin in the bathroom, tidy the toy room, help empty the dishwasher and match socks and pants each and every day.
The older kids fill the dishwasher, feed and brush our dog daily and they bring the wheely bins in and out once a week too. On top of all that, they empty their lunchboxes, bring their own washing down each morning and make their own beds.
I call it life lessons (while they call it child labour!) but I know they will thank me in years to come.
Make a list and check it twice
I love a good list. Honestly, not one day has gone by this year where I haven't made a list of some sort - not only does it help you stay on top of things, I don't forget things or leave anything out.
We also make shopping lists, meal plan and budget our money on a weekly basis so we know what's going where and it helps us stay on top of things, especially since we are a larger family.
Call in a favour
If things are getting a little too much, call on family and friends - sure isn't that what they are there for? If I find myself getting a little overwhelmed with housework or running errands or just life, in general, I'll ask my mother, brother or even a good friend to keep an eye on the kids for an hour so I can catch up.
On some occasions, I even organise playdates returning the favour at a later day. When things get really bad and the budget allows, I call in a cleaner for a couple of hours or send a big bag of washing to the nearest launderette.
Never be late again
Recently a friend introduced me to the idea of setting various alarms on my phone and since, we have never been late for anything. The key is to set alarms ten or fifteen minutes before the time you have to leave so if you find yourself procrastinating and losing track of time, the alarm will give you a kick in the bum to get moving.
Aside from the obvious get up out of bed timers, I have alarms set for getting out the door for school and all the pickups, football training, playdates and everything else in between. It really helps to stay on top of the things I would normally forget.
Get a slow cooker
I would honestly be lost without my slow cooker - it is my lifesaver especially in the winter months. For days when you're chasing your tail, you can just throw in a lump of meat and a heap of veggies and leave it for the day on low heat.
It does take a bit of time prepping and peeling but honestly, somedays dinner wouldn't be served until nine o'clock if I didn't pop the slow cooker on before I head out on the school run.
Get a wall calendar
I find this so handy to stay organised, especially for the kids who can read. We add everything from extracurricular activities to days out on our whiteboard calendar which is in full view at all times. The kids can see what's happening and when - so there are no surprises.
Set up routines
Routines make life so much easier. We have had the same morning routine for years and it works wonders for us. All the kid's clothes, shoes and lunches are laid out the night before but they don't get ready until after breakfast in case of spills.
Each of my children knows exactly what they have to do and once completed, they can sit for five or ten minutes and watch TV while I have a cup of coffee before we hit the road.
The telly is not allowed on until everyone is ready so they tend to help each other out to maximise their time in the morning, meaning fewer squabbles.
And finally, my top tip is to completely and utterly gut your house. Over the course of two months last year before a big house move, I spent a week in each room-clearing them out. I dumped, donated and dished out all the stuff we no longer needed or used.
I don't know myself now, everything has a place and general housework is a dream. It has been a year since we moved and my spending habits have completely changed too - I no longer buy unnecessary stuff from Ali Express or Dealz because "it's only a euro".