One thing I know I struggle with is fitting everything in. I’m lucky enough to work from home now. But, I haven’t always. I used to drop The Boy off at a childminder for 8 am. Leaving ours at 7:15 so he could walk, go to work, pick him up at 6:30, get home at 7:30, have a quick catch up, put him to bed and then start preparing to do it all the next day. I was a working single mother; I could barely make time to cook.
Even now, it can be difficult. I drop The Boy off at school, come home and attempt to work while chatting to Bobsy about animal noises and shoes, do all the housework, tidy the insane amount of mess she’s made, do more work, feed her, pick The Boy up, prep tea, do reading and homework and ask about The Boys day. Then I blog and feed us all, before tidying up and getting a head start on tomorrows work while Husband puts the kids to bed. Sometimes I feel like I don’t stop until 9 pm, having started at 6 am.
I know it’s the same for all parents. Whether you work at home, go out to work or you’re a stay at home parent, there aren’t enough hours and you always feel guilty for not giving your child enough of your attention. One thing that often gets put to one side is cooking.
Here at Bobsy’s Mum, I try to share meals that are perfect for those weeks when you’re so busy the idea of cooking is just a bit too much. Meals that are easy, fast and filling. Because I honestly believe that cooking and baking is fun and that eating nice food together is a brilliant way to enjoy a little bit of time together as a family.
But, how do I find time to cook these meals around everything else, when some days I don’t even have 10 minutes for a coffee? Here is how I make time to cook.
I freeze so much. I cook in massive batches and then freeze a whole family meal. Then, when I have busy days I just get one out that morning. Equally useful at saving time are drive through McDonalds and takeouts!
I tend to know what I’m doing that morning. I make a list of everything I’ve got to do that day and start crossing things off. One of these things will be tea prep. There is an awful lot you can do beforehand. You can peel and chop potatoes and veg and just leave them in the fridge in a bowl of water until you need them. You can make sauces and extras. Anything you can do earlier, do it. Even the night before, this really helps me make time to cook!
I also measure things out ready, and put any bits together I can. Say a meal has ingredients that need mixing, I put them together, weighed out and then leave them on the side or in the fridge until I’m ready for them.
Then, cross it off your list, so you feel good!
Buy frozen veg or pre-cooked potatoes if it makes it easier. As long as you are cooking, and eating quality meals, it doesn’t really matter.
Involve the Kids
The Boy will now go and play in his room while I cook, but Bobsy is a pain in the arse. As soon as I’m in the kitchen, she’s screaming. So, I let her help. I’ll give her ingredients to play with, pots and pans, herb jars. If she thinks she’s helping mummy, she’s great!
If that fails, I feed her! Apples are good; they take her ages to eat! Raw carrots too!
Read the Recipe Well
Reading and understanding a recipe before you start means you don’t need to keep going back to it as you’re cooking. I sometimes write out my own short notes to keep to hand, so I’m not searching through big lists of steps.
One Pot Meals
One pot or pan meals are amazing. I love just chopping, throwing in the oven and leaving. And there’s less washing up! Just remember, potatoes take longer to cook, so slice them thin!
I never ever used to preheat my oven. But, honestly, it can save 10 minutes on every meal. You can also heat pots and pans. So, have your water or oil heating up while you are getting ready. Putting food into a hot pan or oven can save you time on every meal.
How do you make time to cook in your busy day?