Back in January, I returned to work after maternity leave working 3 days a week. My desire to stay at home with my children, not to mention the cost of childcare, were my reasons behind my choice. Q has settled wonderfully at his nursery and O loves his out-of-hours school club, so I really needn’t have worried. Fast-forward to May… and I’ve returned to work full-time… I first thought ,’How on earth am I going to cope with running a house, caring for my family and working 5 days a week?!’
Before I fell pregnant with Q, I did work five full days and O attended nursery (and, latterly, school with out-of-hours care) and it worked. O was happy and I really do enjoy my job. Add a baby into the mix and life becomes chaotic – never-mind the fact that he isn’t sleeping through yet!
I guess the only way I managed previously was to be as organised as possible. I had all childcare booked for 4 weeks in advance, we established a good routine for O and everything was well managed. Although, I feel like I still need to work more on this and wondered if there were any secrets that other full-time working parents could share! So I took to the blogging community to ask for their input… here’s what they said!
Lauren, from Belle du Brighton, says “Get a cleaner seriously though every few months getting someone in to do a deep clean is a godsend! It means you can spend precious time together being together, as opposed to cleaning at the weekends!”, which isn’t a bad plan to be honest! It’s something I wondered about for a while and, although I would LOVE to encourage hubs and O to help me out a little more, I took the plunge a few weeks ago… Best £22 a fortnight I’ve ever spent!
Then again, Sarah from Digital Motherhood says, “Share the housework! If you’re both working full-time then it’s not mum’s responsibility to do all of the cleaning. Make kids put their toys away and pick up dirty clothes from the floor. If weekends are the only time you have to clean then split the chores between you and your partner so it’s done much quicker. If you can get stuff done in the week then just do one chore a day so you’re not spending hours on it after work – e.g. maybe you hoover on Weds and clean bathrooms on Thurs.”
Also, Katie from Mummy in a Tutu says “Don’t try and do everything – you’ll never win. Let others help and do the unimportant stuff. For example, if possible use a laundry service. It’s a silly job that takes up a lot of time. There are local and nationwide services and they don’t have to cost the earth either.” Similarly, Victoria from Mummy Times Two, says, “Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to do everything perfectly, it takes up valuable headspace which could be used for other things.”
“Practice mindfulness. It makes you realise what’s actually important and give you perspective. Prioritise things that are important you and your families needs.” says Kay, from Mummy Burgess. Similarly, Natasha from Mummy and Moose says, “We like to set our expectations really low. That way anything is a bonus. We’re clocking 15 years without serious incident so it seems to work.”.
On fitting in dedicated time to be a couple, Nyomi from Nomipalony says, “Try and get a babysitter on a weekend afternoon once a month and go on a daytime date where you don’t look at phones and you just reconnect. Night times are difficult for us as the kids are still needy at night and we are tired so getting the grandparents over so we can go out to lunch is ideal.”
Whereas Sally, from Teddy Bears and Cardigans, says, “We have been married 43 years, its about talking to each other. Every Saturday we would cook a nice meal, lay the table, light candles, dress up and enjoy the evening. The children would have whatever their favourite was and we would eat later. We still do this and our children have long since left home. Just make time to talk and be a couple.”
On a similar vein, Lisa, from The British Betty, says, “We have recently implemented a technology ban after 10pm so that my husband and I actually make time for each other and also have a family board game night once a week to spend some work free quality time as a family.” And Donna, from Bobsy’s Mum, says, “We have an evening a week where all tech is off or in another room once kids are in bed. Me and hubby also have board games nights which is a cheap, fun date night!”
I spend an awful lot of time meal planning and cooking too – preparing breakfasts, packed lunches and dinners every day is hard work and so time-consuming. Becci, from The Unnatural Mother, says, “I buy pre chopped veg and invested in a slow cooker. I throw the veg , meat and spices in the pot quickly when i get up in the morning and then when i get back from work I have meal ready to serve.” and Kati, from How to Rock at Parenting, says, “I also batch-cook and freeze soups for his lunches for the week, so all I have to do is leave them to defrost overnight.”
Sophia, from Tattooed Tealady, has an awesome tip to help stay on track; “spend 30 minutes a week planning small jobs, meals, appointments and your to-do list for the following week and never be afraid to ask for more help from the rest of your family. A home needs a family to keep it running!”.
There we go – I feel like I could take on the world, but I’m sure it’s going to be hard work. What top tips have you got to survive the every-day as a full-time working parent?