Your tips please to a happy household when working ft...

(367 Posts)
YouSmegHead Sun 07-Oct-12 11:31:12

So recently went back to work ft and haven't found my stride yet. What top tips do you have for keeping me sane smile

marriedinwhite Sun 07-Oct-12 18:47:54

We would stink. Skirts yes, trousers yes, shirts and tops - just nooooooooo!
Fine if you merely glow, but this family sweats even though we shower daily and use anti-perspirant.

Cromwell44 Sun 07-Oct-12 19:03:09

I'd treat packed lunch making in a simlar way as ironing - ie. in the optional category. Use school dinners as much as possible unless prohibitively expensive. Other tips are great but most importsantly lower standards, know what's important to you, don't compare yourself to SAHMs and don't think 50:50 domestic sharing with your partner is optional. Single parents - I take my hat off to you.

nancy75 Sun 07-Oct-12 19:03:31

My top tip is get 5 sets of school uniform, on Friday night the uniform get washed, on Sunday I iron it and put a complete uniform on hangers, so each hanger has shirt, dress,cardigan, tights and underwear, it saves precious minutes looking for stuff in the morning.

Snog Sun 07-Oct-12 19:12:55

I'm like cardibach.
Dp and I work full time. We cook from scratch and meal plan/ batch cook/ get an ocado delivery every 4 days. The laundry and ironing run like clockwork; dp irons his own shirts. I spend lots of time hanging out with dd; less time than I would ideally like to with friends and family. My lowest priority is tidying/ cleaning my house and my standards on this are not high!!!

It's a happy arrangement for us. I used to work part time but find full time a lot better tbh. Career wise, working part time was shit for me.

blueshoes Sun 07-Oct-12 19:50:12

Live-in aupair.

She (aka ft working parent godsend) does the cleaning, ironing, schoolrun, laying out of uniforms, baths, children's meals, covers if children are ill (rare), accepts deliveries of parcels, lets trademen in and does simple errands like posting parcels and buying milk when we run out.

The loss of privacy is nothing compared to the peace of mind and logistical support of having someone at home.

Mine would be:

1. Make sure your partner is on board with doing half the cleaning, childcare, night waking etc. Talk openly about this and don't let resentment fester. Make sure you have equal leisure time.

2. Reduce your expectations of how much 'chilling on the sofa' time you'll have. Some nights I get an hour, some I don't.

3. Organise everything possible the night before - pack changing bag, sort clothes etc.

4. Never let housework build up. It is a matter of life or death in our house that the washing up is done, kitchen wiped down and a wash put on every evening.

5. Speed up housework by keeping floors and surfaces clear and cleaning products to hand. Get kids to join in, so you aren't spending precious child-free time doing housework (our exceptions to this are cutting the grass and mucking out the ducks, which are impossible with dd in tow).

6. Combine housework with other tasks as much as possible, clean the bathroom while supervising kids in the bath, put away washing up while the kettle is boiling.

7. Lower your standards and stop ironing (except work shirts).

Way2Go Sun 07-Oct-12 19:59:59

Lots of good advice,

I would add that I would try to keep after school activities to a minimum.

5x school uniform is good

Eating at the table is good then everyone can help get the able laid etc and everyone can clear up together.

Let standards drop if you have too.

Never fall into the tap that you have to be perfect, you don't have to prove you can do it all. Do what works for you and you family.

Way2Go Sun 07-Oct-12 20:01:27

How old are you DC's?

Dozer Sun 07-Oct-12 20:12:45

If online supermarket deliveries are sub-standard / not long before out of date, and you complain by phone they send an e-voucher refund. we do this every week!

I am a year in, PT, and struggling, mainly due to a long commute which eats up too much time. Is OK with quiet weekends, but goes badly wrong if we go away or have visitors.

Xenia Sun 07-Oct-12 20:19:03

Routine helps too as people are saying. I try never to go upstairs without taking something to put away and we try to keep surfaces tidy which makes cleaning easier.

Always get what is needed for school out the night before if that is your job not their father's but make sure jobs are fairly shared out. Don't wait to the next morning.

Children like familiarity so try to have times for things - time they always go to bed, time get up etc etc.

Ironing - right I have not ironed for 28 years. Our cleaner does a bit I assume. I don't wear anything ever that ever needs to be ironed - wear a vest top under a work jacket, not a blouse. My two sons have a school shirt. This is washed once a week - for some reason we just don't sweat in this family. I promise no one smells. I wash and tumble dry those shirts each weekend adn they put them on. They genuine look no different from an ironed shirt.

Why not just cease to iron? Buy things that dont' need ironing. Go on a mental health course to remove whoever conditioned yuou into thinking ironing was necessary, try self hypnosis or just take it from me you don't need to iron ever. Very liberating. No one forces anyone to wear a blouse unless they work for a bank which has a staff univform i suppose.

I can see a gap in the market for "anti ironing" counselling courses grin

marriedinwhite Sun 07-Oct-12 20:23:44

Xenia - if I wore a vest top under a jacket I would have to have the jacket dry cleaned every time I wore it grin. Our DS had a shower yesterday afternoon. He put on a clean tee shirt this morning - he literally stinks. There is no way my dc (14 and 17) could wear a shirt for more than one day. By the end of the week dd's jumper which she wears over the top of her blouse needs a wash. I promise they shower and anti perspirate daily. Even if DH didn't stink his collars have a line of London grime around them when he comes home.

But I do agree procrastination is the work of the devil.

sherbetpips Sun 07-Oct-12 20:37:21

Yak frozen sandwiches?
1. School lunches not sandwiches too much hassle in the morning.
2. Bulk cook the meals at weekends, meatballs with pasta, chicken curry with rice, salmon pasta, etc.... In portion sizes.
3. Do a wash as soon as there is enough of that colour
4. Homework in the mornings, way less of a battle than evenings.
5. Strict bedtimes so you have time for you and hubby.
6. Hoovering/dusting/bathrooms - first thing Saturday get it out of the way then don't do it again before the next weekend unless visitors coming.
7. Shower and dry hair at night, spruce up in the morning.
8. Internet shopping then stroll around the village Saturday afternoon for the fresh stuff.
9. Drink wine when not doing anything else above

sherbetpips Sun 07-Oct-12 20:38:31

Ooh definitely 5x school uniform and no ironing it, pull it straight out of the drier.

Virgil Sun 07-Oct-12 20:42:52

Definitely five lots of uniform. Makes life a lot easier when you don't suddenly realise you have to do an emergency wash on a Thursday night.

My cleaner does a lot to help. She cleans, does the washing, hangs clothes out, changes the beds, accepts the grocery delivery and puts away, does the bins, does the ironing if I ask her to. It means we have a cleaner for six hours a week but it's worth it if it saves me six hours.

Even so, I'm killing myself trying to do full time (not a nine to five job) and run the house.

Wheresthedamndog Sun 07-Oct-12 20:46:04

Little to add to the brilliant tips here other than:

Everything online
Do admin straight away
Meal plan
Set days for household tasks
Everyone helps.

Took me about 3 years to hit my stride but then I am not naturally domestically organised.....

Way2Go Sun 07-Oct-12 20:47:03

I can't imagine any school shirts of any age or sexed child lasting more than a day!!!! If it's not BO then it would be mud, or food, or brio or just general dirt.

1 shirt per day in this house. (not always ironed though smile )

noviceoftheday Sun 07-Oct-12 20:55:43

Constant planning.

We have a live in nanny so Mon to Fri don't have to worry about getting kids ready for school. She cooks for everyone 4 days and I do the other 3 days. I menu plan a week/two ahead. Grocery shop on line with Sainsburys and have the same slot, reserved 3 weeks ahead. I just go through the usuals list and add in the norm then finalise the night before.

On line shop for almost everything - usually John Lewis and Amazon as between them you're covered!

I use the organised mum weekly calendar which has 6 columns - first 3 for daily whereabouts of dh and I, dc1 and dc2 and last 3 for menu. Also note on there who needs paying that week.

I pack bag the night before and clothes out as well. I exercise 3/4 times a week so also leave gym gear out the night before.

We outsource as many chores as possible (alhough they all need organising, managing and paying!) - cleaner comes twice a week, ironing once a week (I do all the laundry at weekend in anticipation), dry cleaners do a weekly pick up and drop off at our house, gardener fortnightly, window cleaner and bin cleaner monthly.

I also started taking a half day off a month just to sort myself out - sort out the to do list, birthday cards/presents, make appointments, book nights out etc. This has really helped in making me feel in control.

Nanny - in addition to normal nanny duties, she does all our grocery shopping, all of our laundry, organises playdates, buys and wraps birthday presents and helps me manage the family calendar/diary. Takes out rubbish and recycling. Makes evening meal for all of us. Actually she is really more of a nanny/housekeeper I guess.

Cleaner - once a week, all cleaning plus changes sheets and does all ironing.

Gardener.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 07-Oct-12 20:59:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 07-Oct-12 21:01:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hugoagogo Sun 07-Oct-12 21:22:32

These are the sort of threads that make people think that everyone on mn are so middle class. hmm grin

Still some good advice, but really not everyone can even dream of nannies/cleaners/aupairs.

dragonflymama Sun 07-Oct-12 21:31:29

CLEANING - cleaner is a must, organise duration & frequency of jobs based on budget!
WORK - negotiate flexible working hours if poss to travel in non-peak and wfh when sick kids.
LAUNDRY - use timer delay on washing machine so washes through night & hang out before work. Iron 1-2 times a week to keep on top of it.
SCHOOL RUN - DH drops off, I collect.
FOOD - shopping list on calendar (everyone adds to it), cook in advance in batches & freeze. Eat early'ish with kids in week, family meals at w-e, including takeaway / restaurant for break!
BED & BATH - I do Mon-Thurs, DH does Fri-Sun....means we always know who's on duty so there's no niggling about who's turn it is! Skip a bath if running late.
GETTING KIDS TO DO STUFF - reward chart with bag of small gifts (always stocked).
OUR TIME - allocated time for gym & ad-hoc nights with friends (cover each other), reliable babysitter 1-2 x / month for date.
OTHER - buy selection of gifts for parties and do lots of shopping online!

BoffinMum Sun 07-Oct-12 21:44:38

1. I second the thing about non-sexist marriages - DH definitely does his share and is as competent in the house as I am (apart from baking and sewing, which I trade for bin duty and repairing things with glue, which he is better at).

2. I hate shopping anyway, so I get practically everything delivered, usually from John Lewis (non food) or one of the main supermarkets (food).

3. I know the local business people well, spend money and chat with them when I can, and they are very good about helping me out in a crisis, especially the local garage (anything from a bulb to an engine explosion) and delicatessen (phone orders for entertaining, providing things for school events, preparing last minute picnics).

4. We try to get everyone wearing their clothes for two days each, except underwear and school/work shirts. I've got a large capacity Miele washing machine and dryer so little needs ironing. If it does, I have a nanny/housekeeper and a steam generating iron for that.

5. For work I wear jackets with a smart t-shirt underneath, and change the t-shirt daily. I tend to wear smart trousers a lot, with ballet pumps, and that gets around the laddered tights issue and potential sore feet problems. If I have to wear heels I have a pair of smart fold up flat shoes in my handbag so I am prepared if I want to change.

6. There is no clutter in my handbag, but in there you will find things like:

Two days' worth of my medication
An emergency tenner
A packet of tissues
A sewing kit
Tampons
Blister plaster
Make up mirror
Lipstick and powder
Large toothed comb
Healthy snack
iPhone and headphones, with free podcast downloaded onto it (eg History of a World in 100 objects; Infinite Monkey Cage, that sort of thing), and a few free e-Books loaded on, in case of transport delays/problems
A small toy to distract my 3-year-old if necessary
Moleskin A6 size concertinaed folder for my coupons and loyalty cards.

7. Kids have school dinners and pack their bags the night before. Older kids make their own breakfast and breakfast for the younger kids.

8. For supper we have weekly meal plans with linked shopping lists, all on my blog. There are also weekly cleaning schedules there, as well as schedules for getting out the house in the morning and tidying up in the evening.

9. Sometimes I sit on my backside on the sofa and forget about it all - you don't have to faff about at full throttle the whole time. You can take a day off from organisation and the world won't end.

BoffinMum Sun 07-Oct-12 21:47:48

Frankly I did most of this when I was a hard up single parent as well, except then I shopped at Kwiksave! And for entertaining I would get together with a friend and cook something good up.

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