The following is a guest post in the Mothers return to work series. Please welcome Kirsty from My Home Truths as she shares a little of what she does to make life as a working mother work for her.
This August marked 8 years since I returned to work after the birth of my first child, thus becoming a working parent. You would be forgiven for thinking that I would be an expert by now. Yet, sadly, I’m not!
I still struggle with the transition from home to work, with daily organisation, with household cleaning, with keeping on top of homework and getting to after school activities.
But over the years I have found ways to get by and, most importantly, I have learned how to let go of unrealistic and unproductive expectations so I can just get things done.
So here’s a few ways I manage to get by as a working parent:
1. I use my daily commute to transition from home to work and back again.
I listen to my favourite tunes on my iPhone and let the music help my mind adjust from being a frazzled mum fresh from the school run into a more focused and productive employee. It doesn’t always work, but it’s more effective than anything else I’ve tried.
2. I do as much as I can in advance.
I make lunches each night, ready for the next day. I iron on Sunday nights so clothes are ready for the week. I try to get the kids to pack their bags each night ready for the morning. It means I don’t often sit down until after 8.30pm each night but it does help me stay on schedule and remain a little less stressed out each morning.
3. I am planning on outsourcing the cleaning.
This is a battle that I have not been able to win. I currently work 4 days a week and I’ll soon be returning for a 5th day. I cannot keep the house as clean and tidy as I would like and, to be honest, I would rather spend time with my kids than spend my weekends cleaning. So after years of beating myself up about it, I am finally going to take that step and get some help!
4. We have daily routines for the kids that helps keep us all on track.
These ones are only new but I am already seeing a change, especially in how my kids cope with the tight time frames we have in the morning.
5. I now know that I am not superhuman and I simply cannot do everything.
It took me a while to get there but I finally learned to let go of some things else I lose my sanity all together. For example I have chosen to spend time with the kids and to look after myself over ensuring my house is squeaky-clean.
I am also learning to say no to things to ensure that I look after my own mental health and well being. This is hard, particularly if you are a control freak like me… But you have to look hard at your life and start prioritising because there is no way you can do it all as a working parent. No way at all.
So there are my top tips for staying sane as a working parent. I would love to hear your tips too – I may have been doing this for a while but I still don’t have this thing licked yet!
Kirsty Russell is a working mother of 3 endlessly entertaining children, two of whom have special needs. In between working, caring, organizing and advocating she somehow finds the time to blog about her life at http://www.myhometruths.com . You can also follow her on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/myhometruths and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/MyHomeTruths .
Find your simple,
This post is part of a series on mothers returning to work. Other posts in the series include:
Job hunting tips + online resources – Guest post by Deb McNair