Motherhood is a blessing, but it’s hard. Building a career is stressful. Balancing working motherhood is tricky business and seems near impossible; requiring constant juggling, crazy organizational skills, endless to-do lists—but you’ve got this. Well, we are sailing in the same boat. There are some tried and true ideas to make life easier for a working mother.
1. Menu planning
Plan for the week ahead during the weekend. Planning a weekly menu saves time. Plus, you don’t need to rack your brains for options. Assess your week and accordingly plan. Like, for busy days or when you have a late-running schedule, or a day when you want some me-time, plan simple and quick dinners.
Fix certain options for breakfast and don’t change the menu frequently. Example, Oats idli on Monday, Peanut poha on Tuesday, Ragi pancakes on Wednesday, etc.
Once the menu is decided, jot down an exhaustive ingredients list as per planned recipes. Buy your ingredients and refill, stock your refrigerator with fresh and natural products; clean them up and store in zip lock bags, shop healthy foods like nuts and seeds, oats, etc. This will save time on busy days plus you won’t reach for junk. Have a shopping list attached to the fridge, and as soon as the last bottle of ketchup is emptied you can add it to the list. This way you already have your list of extras.
Online grocery shopping can be an option for those wanting to save more time and avoid going shop to shop. You can also opt for monthly grocery purchases. Re-arrange the kitchen as per the menu. So the jars of oats, poha, ragi can be arranged next to each other as per the order of usage.
3. Prepare batter in bulk
Soak and ferment dals and rice to make batters. Prepare dosa/idli batter during the weekends and store for use during the week. You can quickly make variety with the batter by adding veggies or millet flour or oats etc for meals.
4. Homemade masala pastes
Prepare a 3-4 days batch of ginger-garlic paste, tomato-onion paste, ginger-garlic-green chili paste, green chutney, tomato chutney, sauce varieties for pasta, tamarind paste, tomato puree, green chutney with coconut, etc. Whenever needed, take a spoonful for the sabzis or dals. Also, the dry masalas to be kept handy. Peel garlic and refrigerate. De-stem mint leaves, curry leaves, and coriander leaves and store them in an airtight container or zip lock bags. Peel and finely chop the ginger. Store lemon juice in a glass bottle.
5. Make a multitasking menu
A multitasking menu is cooking with the same ingredient in various dishes and cuisines throughout the day. This eases your work and adds variety to the menu – a win-win situation. For example, chickpea can be made into an Indian gravy for lunch and a Lebanese Tikki for dinner. Moong dal as dal fry for Indian lunch, dal paratha or baked casserole for dinner. Rajma can be put into a tortilla for snacks and turned into gravy or patty for dinner. Similarly, make multitasking gravies.
Boiling legumes and pulses take time, so get it done beforehand for the next day. For example, boil potatoes, rajma, chickpeas, etc the previous night for the quick morning cooking.
7. One-pot cooking
Nobody wants to cook an elaborate dinner after a long day. This will help you avoid ordering food online. Plan one-pot dishes for dinner like the continental baking style or OPOS. Interesting, healthy and easy.
8. Bake and shake
Bake some guilt-free cookies, muffins, khakras, etc for the weekdays. So when hunger strikes, you have healthy options handy. Use different flours, nuts, seeds to bake these.
Fruit smoothies are an excellent option when in a hurry with no cooking time.
9. Dairy daily
Keep dairy products like milk, curd, paneer, cheese handy for quick options like buttermilk, raita, gravies, sandwich, etc.