Ahead of Mother’s Day, here is a list of essential cheats which overworked mums are using to make their lives easier and save time.

The clever tricks have been collated after a survey of mums showed the incredible extent many go to when it comes to trying to ease their workload.

Decorating shop-bought cakes and passing them off as their own, creating storage from leftover containers, freezing food for later, grating vegetables on meals so kids don’t notice and laying out clothes the night before as well as hanging them to avoid ironing are just some of the common tactics being employed.

Passing off supermarket own-brand products as upmarket brands by refilling empty bottles or packets, using baby wipes to clean children instead of always washing their faces and spraying clothes with freshener to get an extra day’s wear are other regular ruses used by frazzled mums.

Research was commissioned by kitchen, bathroom and bedroom retailer Bohen, and unsurprisingly found hectic schedules are leaving most mums willing to try any old ploy to manage family life.

More than nine in 10 mums in the south east described themselves as busy, while eight in 10 said they find it hard to cope with the number of daily tasks and almost 90 per cent are using clever timesavers to make life easier.

One in 10 mums said they simply couldn’t cope without relying on various time-saving measures.

The study also found mums are not getting a lot of support.

Results showed 44 per cent felt that when it comes to sharing the workload their partner could do more to help and that they didn’t work as an equal team.

A third of mums felt a bit taken for granted and 30 per cent said they felt a sense of obligation to keep things running smoothly. One in 10 went as far as to say they do everything themselves.

Psychologist Donna Dawson said: “Home-hacking – coming up with inventive ways around the home to cut down on the amount and variety of work that needs accomplishing – is the new trend that is emerging in the world of the frazzled mum.

“With mums proving desperate to accomplish everything that needs to be done over the hours of the day, and still have time for that cup of tea, it means that shortcuts need to be found.

“Our study unveils that mums are clearly coming up with their own home-hacks on a daily basis with ingenious shortcuts, imaginative re-cycling, thinking ahead, and a good knowledge of human nature. It also involves a deep understanding of what makes their own children tick, and the ability to be slightly ahead of them when called for!”

Here are mums’ top 20 shortcuts:

  1. Freezing food to use later in the week
  2. Using jarred sauces instead of home making everything
  3. Laying out all clothes and school uniform the night before
  4. Hanging clothes up instead of ironing them
  5. Using a pen to write their names on clothing and shoes, instead of sewing in name tags
  6. Bribing the children with treats to get them to cooperate
  7. Delegating household tasks to other family members
  8. Shopping online for food instead of going to the supermarket
  9. Using the 'three-second rule' when dropping food on the kitchen floor
  10. Using baby wipes to clean children instead of always washing their face
  11. Grating vegetables into food to ensure the children are eating their five a day
  12. Using a bit of ketchup on foods they don't really like
  13. Putting dry shampoo or a bit of talc on greasy hair to save washing it
  14. Spraying deodorant in smelly shoes instead of buying new ones
  15. Spraying furniture polish before guests arrive so they think that you have recently cleaned
  16. Skipping bath time in favour of an extra bedtime story
  17. Spraying clothes freshener to get an extra day's wear out of them
  18. Using convenience food for breakfast so children can eat in the car
  19. Icing bought cakes and pretending you made them
  20. Getting children to do their homework in the car

Which of these tricks and cheats do you use to make family life easier? What other secrets and shortcuts do you have? Do you think mums are generally taken for granted? Add your comments below.