Being a working mum and trying to manage raising a family can be a pretty stressful challenge. I work full time from home and have a three year old and six year old – life can be pretty hectic! Some people may believe it’s a dream working from home for myself and while it does give me flexibility to do the school runs and attend appointments in the day, it also means I have to work full time around these duties. That means I work whilst the kids are at school and also in the evening. There’s no getting back from work and switching off for the rest of the day as I have to continue working once the kids are in bed to make up my full time hours and wage.
As I work in the school day and evenings, I have to get all the housework done before school and after school. I try to cram in as much as possible whilst also getting the kids lunches packed and them ready for school in the morning, then after school trying to do housework whilst doing their homework and cooking dinner an squeezing in a trip to the gym and their extra-curricular activities. The weekdays are pretty hectic and with food shopping, family finances to track, keeping up with friends and family and general life stuff, it can become overwhelming! Time doesn’t stop in the week and each day is nonstop until I go to bed. Then wake and do it all again!
It doesn’t matter whether you work from home like me or go out to work (believe me, I’ve done both) there’s never enough time to get everything done. At times it can become overwhelming and stressful, especially when things build up, the kids play up or a disaster strikes.
I do somehow manage to maintain a clean and tidy house and get the kids to school on time every day, just about! Here I want to share with you some tips on how to make life less stressful as a working mum. I’m not sure I can make mine totally stress free, but there are some things we do that make things a bit easier:
Choosing to live a more minimal lifestyle not only saves us money, but lots of time too. Whether it’s time in the morning when choosing what to wear or time cleaning the house as there are less knick-knacks to clean and less things to move out the way. Living minimally helps to make me a whole lot less stressed.
Be more organised
I’ve still not cracked the making lunches the night before as I prefer to make them fresh in the morning, but if you want to then that’s a great time saver in the morning. I do separate our washing into colours in a big washing draw which we have under the stairs, so as soon as a colour is full I will wash it.
We use a family calendar on our phones which syncs so my husband and I know all the plans wherever we are and when we are apart. This means we don’t have to keep confirming arrangements with each other and can see all the family goings on in one place. I put birthdays on the calendar which repeat yearly and I set up a reminder of these one week before so I know to buy a present and card in enough time. My iPhone calendar really is a time saver as I can set up events to recur rather than having to keep re-writing them in a planner every week, month or year.
I also keep on top of housework and sometimes multitask where possible. For example, if the kids are having a bath then I’ll clean the rest of the bathroom whilst they’re in there or put things away upstairs whilst keeping an eye on them. Staying on top of housework and doing bits each day means it doesn’t build up and become chaotic all at once. I always put things away after using them and try to encourage the kids to do the same with their toys, though that rarely happens! If I have things to go upstairs then I leave them on the stairs and take them as soon as I go up and vice-versa.
Separate work and home
Separating work and home can be tricky in today’s world when many of us are expected to be available 24/7. It’s challenging as a freelancer as sometimes I need to respond to something within a short timeframe to ensure I secure paid work before others beat me to it. My husband is expected to be on call even when he’s not a work, so there’s no distinct line for either of us between work and home life. I do take weekends off and avoid my blogging work during this time as much as possible, so it’s great to have proper family time without distraction at the weekend. If you feel like you’re working every day and all day long then it can get quite stressful.
Make use of online shopping. I used to much prefer going to a store and choosing what I wanted, but it was very time consuming. I order online and they save my regular items into a favourites section. Now I can order a week to a month’s food shop in a matter of minutes. I tend to order a bulk one month worth of cupboard stuff and then a weekly organic fruit and veg box. This sees us through each month quite well and I only need to worry about placing the big cupboard food shop once per month instead of taking regular visits to the supermarket every few days like I used to.
Take quality time
It’s important to take quality time with the children, your partner and also by yourself. Working all the time means you never switch off, so remember to switch off and enjoy quality time with those around you. Even if it’s 30 minutes at bedtime, make sure you give your kids your full attention and spend some quality time together away from work and screens every day. It’s also important to take time as a couple away from work and the family to keep a relationship strong and remember why you’re with each other and that you’re not just workers or parents – you’re your own self too. Time by yourself to refresh and rejuvenate is also so important, either time to relax and destress or to do something you love. A little ‘me-time’ each week will really help to combat the stresses of busy working and family life each week.
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