"You can't NOT iron" came the unanimous response.
To which the answer is: "Actually you can NOT iron."
And if you really can't get the clothes flat enough by tumbling and folding them, then iron the bits that show. For instance, if a blouse is going under a school jumper and it is a cold winter's day outside, then iron the collar and a bit of the front. Result: your child looks as if they are wearing perfectly ironed clothes.
2. Keep spare uniform for emergencies.
Imagine the scene: It is 7.20, the bus leaves at 7.26 a.m..Your child MUST leave now or they will miss the bus. "Mum, I can't find my blazer." Now obviously, you cannot buy an endless supply of spares, but if you happen to chance upon the odd spare, always keep it to hand, to avoid the possibility of your child not going into school with the right uniform. 18 Year Old has now left school, but in true family style, she hung on to the expensive bits of her uniform when she went into the sixth form a couple of years ago. The blazer went into 14 Year Old's cupboard. At the time it was massive on 14 Year Old, and 14 Year Old had her own anyway, but it still stayed there. Sure enough, just last week, when 14 Year Old had left her blazer in the loo at McDonald's, I was able to triumphantly produce the spare blazer. It was still a bit big, but not ridiculous and, most importantly, stopped me from looking like a bad mother by sending her into school without proper uniform, and stopped her from getting into trouble.
3. Keep spare hats, gloves, scarves, hair elastics and hairbrushes in a cupboard near your front door.
The scene continues. It is now 7.21 a.m. the bus is one minute nearer leaving. Your child's hair looks like a haystack. They are not wearing gloves, or a hat, and it is freezing cold.
Dive into the cupboard by the door. Get all necessary spares and do child's hair very quickly, ignoring pleas of "Leave it, it looks fine."
4. Use the microwave to give your child a poached egg for breakfast.
You can literally give your child a cooked breakfast in 35 seconds. 3 x 10 second bursts, and 5 seconds to get it on the plate. With practice, you don't even have to clean out the microwave afterwards.
5. Keep a set of drawers in the kitchen, with one drawer for each child.
I stole this idea off one of my chums, who, it has to be said, is an absolute Yummy Mummy. What you do is to keep a drawer for each of the children. Into it go all important letters and notices relevant to that child. That way you can always have the right piece of paper to hand at a second's notice. You look SO organised...
6. Keep a big calendar in a prominent place.
Write the whole family's engagements on said calendar so that at least one person, i.e. YOU, knows what is going on with everyone.
7. Keep spare lunch boxes and drink bottles.
About five per child should make sure that you always have one to hand.
8. Keep supplies of pasta, tomato puree, and tins of tomatoes in the cupboard, some cheese in the fridge and some peas in the freezer.
For days when you need a very quick and reasonably healthy evening meal, but when you just haven't had time to get to the shops or prepare something more elaborate.
9. Keep a supply of birthday cards in the cupboard.
You can even extend this to a couple of children's presents too, so that when you find out that your child is supposed to be going to a birthday party that evening, as they arrive home from school that day, you are prepared, with no effort.
10. Keep a little secret stash of "Mummy" chocolate in the cupboard.
Just in case you have a bad day, and all else fails...
And finally, do remember to use all that spare time for YOU, doing whatever you fancy. Personally I'm off to watch an old episode of Desperate Housewives.