Being a physician with three children has required a hearty capacity for multi-tasking, not to mention a giant sense of humor. Any mother who works outside the home realizes that she has at least two full-time jobs. Here are some of the strategies I've used to keep afloat:
1) Keep a well-stocked car.
a. Have a filled diaper bag in the car for the baby. Include wipes, diapers, diaper cream, change of clothing for baby (of course) plus zip-lock baggies (for dirty clothes), a few toys, a disposable camera. Keep a small folding stroller handy, too
b. Store a jacket, an extra shirt, hairbrush, and toothbrush for yourself.
c. Have a change of clothes for each child, as well as paper towels and all-purpose wipes.
d. Keep a take-out menu of your favorite restaurants in the glove compartment for days when you're too tired to cook.
2) Buy a cordless phone or even better, a headset phone that will allow you to do chores while talking on the phone.
3) Supply your home with healthy snacks—whole grain crackers with nut butter, carrot sticks, celery, cheese, apple slices. Remove the high-fat, high-sugar snacks and cereals from the cupboards and you'll worry less when your kids snack.
4) Keep a laundry basket in each bedroom and let your kids score a basket when it's time to pick up dirty clothes.
5) If you have more than one bathroom, keep a toothbrush for each child in each bathroom—this saves on fighting over who gets to use the bathroom first.
6) Prepare in the evening for the next day's activity. Pick out clothes for school and help your child lay them out. Have your school-age children pack their backpacks.
7) Use a cardboard box to collect the daily clutter around the house, and let your family members be the ones to put away their own things.
8) Make breakfast foods nutritious, convenient and protein-rich.
a. Smoothies are guaranteed to be a hit. Combine one banana, one cup orange juice, soy milk, and frozen berries, and protein powder for a quick nutritious treat.
b. Add protein when you can. Prepare pancakes with cottage cheese, add soy protein powder to muffins. Bake on the weekend and freeze breakfast foods for weekday use.
9) Place a giant family calendar in a central location (such as the kitchen) to coordinate all important appointments, trips, school vacations, and school events. This way the whole family can see what's ahead.
10) Begin a weekly chore list for family members. Let your kids record their participation prepping meals or cleaning, and link this to allowance or special treats.
Enjoy the chaos because it's now part of life, and let go of your dream for an immaculate household. Try to appreciate the noise and the humor — your kids will be out of the house before you know it and you'll probably miss all the commotion!
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.