Style Magazine - - Opinion - BY SARAH KEE­LEY, STYLE COLUM­NIST

Re­mem­ber when you were young and sin­gle? When it didn’t mat­ter what was in the fridge or that the wash­ing wasn’t done?

Well, if you’re like me, those days are well and truly over — and grate­fully so.

Now it’s all about keep­ing on top of the wash­ing, keep­ing a fully stocked fridge, play dates and juggling work, all while try­ing to be a good friend, part­ner and per­son.

I’m not per­fect, but with some or­gan­i­sa­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and bound­aries, I feel we can keep our heads to­gether and win at fam­ily life.

To me noth­ing beats meal plan­ning — set aside time on a Sun­day (or what­ever day suits you) to check your fridge and pantry to de­cide on what your fam­ily is go­ing to eat for the week ahead. Cre­ate your shop­ping list and fill in the gaps from there. Not only will this save time and money, it also al­lows ev­ery­one to know what’s on the menu. Wash­ing, on the other hand — where do I start? In­vest in a ‘kick-ass’ washer and dryer. For my clients with large fam­i­lies, I cre­ate wash­ing baskets for each fam­ily mem­ber, so the kids just pick up the bas­ket and put away their own items.

One of the main things I see in so many homes is the an­noy­ing ‘dump zone’.

We all have them: it’s where the school bags are dumped, the sports bags, the shoes and the odds and ends.

Cre­at­ing a sys­tem with hooks, door­mats, even a mes­sage board, can re­ally help man­age this area.

Qual­ity fam­ily time is paramount. It’s good for the soul, great for nur­tur­ing and un­der­stand­ing your chil­dren and a won­der­ful way for you, as the par­ent, to get grounded and en­joy what hav­ing a fam­ily is all about.

Even if it’s just sit­ting down to­gether for one meal a week, it’s the rit­u­als that cre­ate com­fort and mem­o­ries.

They say it takes a vil­lage to raise a child, so if you don’t have that vil­lage or sup­port around you go find one, ask for help.

And if all else fails, may I rec­om­mend join­ing the circus.

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