It’s all about back to school this week at I Love Cooking, and we’ve been wondering about the women who juggle a full time job with childcare, school runs and getting healthy meals on the table. Working mums are the best multi-taskers on the planet, especially when it comes to back to school time. These women know better than most about getting their families fed while spending precious one-on-one time with their school-goers.
So, how do they do it? We asked some of our favourite working mums for their top tips to surviving the back to school period, and here’s what they said.
“Make lunches the night before! This is paramount to survival.”
“Put yoghurts in the bag at the last possible minute to prevent yoghurt bursting mess. It’s wrecked many a creche bag here.”
“I make the kids lunches while they eat breakfast and I have my first cup of coffee. No soggy sandwiches allowed! I am not sure what I’ll do for my 4 year old who starts school in September, because he eats so little! School lunches and fussy eaters do not go hand in hand.”
“Over eights can make their own lunches (with some prior rules/instruction in place and a well-stocked fridge obviously). Batch cooking on the weekend, lots of casseroles etc that are easy for whoever is home first to throw in the oven. Lower the standards and loosen control in general, have a few pizzas etc in the freezer just in case things don’t go as planned. The kids will not die if they eat junk once or twice a week. That was a big one for me.”
“Create a seven day meal plan and most importantly – don’t sweat the small stuff.”
“Batch cooking at the weekend. I have to make sandwiches fresh in the morning too – it only takes a few minutes so long as everything is in the right place. I’ve started getting up a few minutes before the kids too in the morning and it’s making a HUGE difference to how on top of everything I feel!”
“Lower your expectations of everything dramatically. It is not possible to keep a perfect house, provide Michelin-starred meals and have a happy family while holding down a job. I make up bags of freezer meal kits in advance of extremely busy work weeks. I fill a large freezer bag with a variation of meat and vegetables. One of my favourites is chopped up chicken portions on the bone that are rubbed with a seasoning mix of something like cumin, coriander, paprika and garlic salt and then fire in some chopped up vegetables like peppers, onions, smooshed garlic cloves and some cubed sweet potato. In the morning, I take the bag out of the freezer and when work is finished, I throw it all on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and dinner is 25 minutes away.”
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