All parents know how much work is involved in running a house and looking after the kids, and how hectic it can be to get out of the house some days. I’ve just recently gone back to paid work (teaching) after having my second daughter (who is 17 months old) and life is now even more busy than it was before! To ensure everyone is organised for the day, nothing is forgotten and everyone gets out the door on time, I’ve compiled a list of tips that might be handy if you are finding juggling all your commitments stressful, or if you are thinking about heading back into paid work outside the home.
Use a planner & write things down
I’m not sure about you, but after having kids, my memory is definitely not what it used to be! I’ve tried to be a digital planner and use my phone to remember appointments but I definitely prefer paper-based planning, and for the last year or so have been feeling much more organised using my Leanne Baker Daily planner, but also having notepads & notebooks to use at work/school and home have been invaluable in ensuring I never forget anything.
personalised however you like!]
[Notebooks are super handy for work and home
– I’m using an A4 notebook personalised for teaching,
and an A5 notebook for home].
Do as much as you can the night before
While I’m making dinner the night before work/preschool/daycare, I also prepare lunchboxes. I like to make a double-batch of whatever I’m cooking for dinner that night to take as leftovers for lunch at work the next day, and also check my meal plan to see what’s for dinner the next night, so I can have the meat thawed out and ready to go. I make sure drink bottles are filled and bags are packed and I lay out our outfits including shoes (how frustrating is it when you are trying to leave the house but can’t find the kids shoes!) - doing these small things has made our mornings run so much more smooth. I also find going to bed early the night before really helps me to feel good the next day.
Use a slow cooker on work days
This is especially handy as winter approaches – having meat thawed the night before and even the vegetables cut up and placed in a container in the fridge means you can just chuck them into the slow cooker in the morning, turn it on and come home to a nice, warm meal ready to eat! If the slow cooker isn’t for you, have something on your meal plan that you can either prepare ahead of time, or have leftovers, or have something simple and quick to make.
Be kind to yourself
When you get home, if time & kids allow, give yourself a transition time to get out of ‘work mode’ and into ‘home mode.’ I love to go and have a shower and get changed, and just sit with a cuppa for 10 minutes. Usually I can do this while the kids are having their afternoon tea. I also don’t expect too much of myself on work days – I figure there’s enough to do on those days as it is! I don’t do washing or any major cleaning/housework, just some general tidying, getting organised for the next day and cleaning up after dinner & baths. Share the load and ask for help if you are struggling – and make sure you take time out to do something for you – make self-care a priority!
Above all, I like to know that my kids are happy and thriving at daycare & preschool and this has made returning to work so much easier. I’d love to know if you work or are planning to head back to work, and what tips you have for making life easier – let me know in the comments below!