Getting things done. It sounds simple, but as a working mum with no domestic help, the art of time-saving and getting things done has often eluded me. More often than not, I get what can be done, done. Come 5pm my bucket is empty, my brain is wrecked, the workday is yet to be over, and there’s still dinner to think about. Perhaps if there were a few more hours in a day, I could sneak in a nap or two, and still get everything done. Alas, the last time I checked, a day was still 24 hours. But some other mums in Singapore have mastered zen and the art of mothering while working at home, so I turn to them for advice, and find out how they do it.
“Keep life simple, don’t sweat the small stuff”
says Eliza Tang. The teacher and mum of two children aged 14 and 16 relies on time-saving technology to help her get things done at home. Like me, and like the other mums we asked, she has no domestic help. “My Thermomix, along with my 2-in-1 cleaning robots and my dishwasher, are enough. I would rather not deal with FDW (foreign domestic worker) woes,” she explains. Below are some other time-saving devices that help mums like us. What works for you? Do tell us!
Use a robot to clean the floor
“After my second child turned three, I decided to do away with helpers. So I got myself robots to vacuum and mop,” shares Eliza. “I vacuum daily on preset schedule, and mop once a week. I also have a part-time helper who irons and does thorough cleaning once a week. However during the circuit breaker when she could not come, I realised that my robots were pretty efficient actually. They free my time and energy, and keep me sane, adds Eliza, who uses iLife robotic vacuum cleaners. The brand has recently been awarded the Lazada Top Brand Award 2020.
D-I-Y your own facial at home
While facial salons and spas are open for treatments now, it may not be easy to make a booking as time slots are limited. If your complexion is looking dull and clogged, why not give your skin a treat from the comfort of home? We were wow-ed by the LG Pra.L electronic beauty range when it made its debut last year, and this is our preferred pick for time-saving, professional-standard, home-based complexion care. The set consists of four home beauty devices that use cutting-edge tech to deliver ageing-preventive skincare:
- Dual Cleanser: with two different brushes for customised cleansing
- Galvanic Ion Booster: which cleanses and boosts absorption of your skincare products.
- Total Life-Up Care: improves skin elasticity and tightens for a face-life effect
- Derma LED Mask: uses 160 LEDs to encourage cell regeneration for firm, radiant skin
While I have not tried the LG Pra.L series, the thought of being able to pamper my skin at home, in pyjamas, is certainly tempting!
:: GIVEAWAY :: We have three units of LG Pra.L Dual Cleanser (worth $449 each) to give away
This daily cleanser, which is said to help reduce blackheads, dead skin, and tighten pores, is the easiest to start with if you are new to electronic beauty devices. Simply follow the voice guide on skincare steps for each facial area. All it takes it 70 or 120 seconds daily, and because the device is completely waterproof, you can also use it in the shower. Two cleaning heads — one fibre, and one silicone — let you customise your cleaning process. Use the former to remove heavy makeup, and the latter for gentle cleansing. After that, pop your LG Pra.L Dual Cleanser into its own cradle for UV sanitisation so it is disinfected and ready for your next cleaning session.
How to win:
1. Like and share this article on Facebook2. Tag a friend who’d love the LG Pra.L Dual Cleanser too3. Share your favourite time-saving tip in the comments4. Sit back and relax; we’ll let you know if you’re a winner!
Closing date: 12pm, 12 October 2020. This giveaway is only open to Singapore residents.
Steam & blend baby food in just one jar
The Philips Avent 4-in-1 healthy baby food maker is very popular among mums in Singapore, and for good reason too. It lets you steam and blend in one jar, so there’s no need to wash an extra pot. I’d have loved to have this when my firstborn was about to wean. Steaming ensures that all the goodness remains in the fruits and vegetables when they are cooked. This way, you can ensure that your baby’s first foods are power-packed with nutrients. You can also use the device to defrost pre-blended foods, or heat up foods.
There is also no need to worry about overheating, as the device turns itself off after steaming the food. That’s such a useful function, especially if Baby starts to fuss (or wake up from a nap) while you’re prepping. Cleaning up is easy as the parts detach, and are dishwasher-friendly. Unsure of what to make? There’s a handy recipe guide for ideas. And when Baby has graduated from purees, use this to create sauces and gravies for other meals and bakes, or simply steam up food (dim sum anyone?) to eat.
(See also: How Four Real Mums find Balance in their Lives)
Use a dishwasher that’s time-saving and water-saving
Did you know that using a dishwasher saves more water than hand washing your dishes under running water? Now you know. Dishwashers don’t come cheap, but in the long run, they help you save on water consumption. In fact, the most resource-efficient dishwashers, like the Bosch ActiveWater Eco dishwasher use as little as 6.5 litres to clean up to 12 place settings. Dishwashers are also more hygienic, and better at removing stains, as they rinse dishes at high temperatures (70 degrees Celsius), thus eliminating up to 99% of bacteria. P/S: that old sponge in your kitchen sink could be harbouring E.coli and Salmonella — bacteria which cause food poisoning! Friends who have made the switch to dishwashers rave about how using one has freed up their time, and made them less reluctant to cook since they don’t have to think about the washing up after. Another bonus? Smoother hands because your skin is not dehydrated by harsh washing liquids!
Make perfect baby congee in the rice cooker
There’s no need to worry about “Uncle Roger” and his rice rules when you use the Tefal Delirice Pro Compact RK8001 rice cooker. Every grain cooked in this spherical rice pot comes out perfect — whether you’re craving fluffy Jasmine rice, sticky Japanese rice, softer brown rice, flavourful clay pot rice, or comforting congee. But what makes this even more perfect for mums, especially those with babies, is the Baby Food program. With this you can cook perfect congee for babies — less watery, and closer to puree in texture — in the rice cooker. This time-saving function thus frees you up to play with your little one instead of watching the pot! And if Baby’s still napping, or enjoying playtime too much to eat, use the 12-hour Keep Warm function to keep the congee piping hot for when they’re hungry.
(See also: 8 Awesomely Easy Rice Cooker Meals)
Invest in a time-saving ‘robot’ cook
Angie Oi’s time-saving game changer is in her kitchen. “I cleared out all other appliances and only kept my oven, and the Thermomix. The latter, popularly known as a “Thermie” was a “lifesaver” for the 46-year-old manager during the circuit breaker as she could easily prepare meals while working from home. “I can just dump the ingredients into the pot and let it cook while I am working.”
The Thermomix also served as a bonding tool with her children, as they followed built-in recipes to create meals, and even desserts such as sorbet, ice cream, bingsu. “I had never baked bread. But now, as long as I have flour, I can make the dough in two minutes. This saves me from having to buy a bread maker. In addition, I can cook dishes like mushroom chicken rice easily, while making sure that my kitchen remains oil-free, and smoke-free. With the Thermomix, I can become a master chef!” laughs Angie.
What’s your favourite time-saving appliance at home? Tell us in the comments below!