Being a working mum is no walk in the park………! Sometimes I think i’m mad for going back full time, especially on the days i’m tired and sleep deprived……. BUT, I always try to sleep on it and (usually) always feel much better the next day, remembering why I decided to go back.
Whilst on maternity leave, thinking about what to do after is one of the most difficult decisions you can make – and it always comes with questioning whether you’re doing the right thing. But, i’m now 7 months in to being back, and I love it – even though it does require juggling lots of balls at the same time. I thought I was a good multi-tasker before……but now…..i’m flipping AWESOME!
I know lots of mums who struggle to make the decision as to whether to go back to work, as well as mums who find it really difficult to juggle all the balls that are thrown in their direction. So, I thought i’d share the tips that have worked for us to get a great balance (most of the time!).
One thing we definitely don’t have time for now that we’re both working full time is the ‘what we having to eat’ conversation at 7pm…… I remember the good old days where we used to just decide to get a takeaway or pop out for dinner……. oh how things have changed! So, I try and make a list of 3-4 meals that we can have that week, and that way when we get home from work we have options rather than waiting for one of us to get hangry about there being nothing decent in the fridge. And that, leads me on nicely to food shopping.
*Online food shopping
The online food shop is essential for us – as it means we don’t have to take time out of our ‘quality time’ together to go to the supermarket (where i’m constantly shouting PUT THAT BACK, and no, not to the toddler!!) I’ve also realised that as well as saving time, we also save lots of money as we don’t get tempted by everything on offer at the end of the aisles!
When I first went back to work after mat leave I was completely naive and thought I could ‘do it all’, and had refused to get a cleaner. And now? I couldn’t live without one! During my first month back at work I would dedicate Saturday mornings to cleaning the house, and noticed pretty quickly that the little man was not happy with the fact I wasn’t paying him attention, as all he wanted to do was play. So, I swallowed my pride and now have a cleaner who comes and does 3 hours every fortnight and it’s AMAZING as I know the deep clean is done, and I buy myself some time (literally) with the little man!
One of the things that has helped me achieve the best balance for us is requesting flexible working. ‘But you work full time’, I may hear you ask. Yes, I do, but rather than working 9-5, I work 8-4, and that shift maximises my time at home when it really matters. I see my little guy for an hour or two in the morning before daddy does the drop off to nursery, and then I pick him up at 5 and have some ‘quality time’ before bedtime. It really does make the world of difference, and I’m so pleased I get that time.
*Childcare that works for you
Being happy with your childcare provider goes a long way to helping you survive going back to work. We have a fab nursery where I love the staff and can see that he’s happy as Larry. Yes, we still get the mornings where he doesn’t want to be dropped off, but, just think about the number of mornings we have where we don’t want to get out of bed / go to work?
*A ‘me’ day once in a while
After being back at work for 2 months I felt a bit ‘burnt out’, because I was trying to do everything, and not succeeding. A friend of mine said she knew someone who used to take a day of leave every month, whilst her daughter was still at nursery, and do something she wanted to do. I took her advice and the first time I did it I felt super guilty, but, by the end of the day I was like a new person. I’d had lunch in peace, went to the gym, didn’t have anywhere I had to be, and even managed to have a nap! I felt spectacular! So now, once every 8 weeks I make sure I take a ‘me’ day, and it’s AMAZING.
*Weekend ‘lie in’ rota
If you both work, early mornings at the weekend can be pretty hard going. Anyone remember the weekends when you used to snooze on and off until midday?! So, be kind to each other, there is no point in both of you being exhausted. Take it in turns to look after the little ones and give each other the time to recuperate and be the best parent they can be. Lets face it, none of us parent particularly well when we’re knackered.
*Coffee & Chocolate
No explanation required…..
What are your tips? I’d love to hear them!
Mummy S x