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

scottishmummy Sun 07-Oct-12 21:53:10

I have personal handbag and a workbag that's always packed case I need grab
own bag:,book,lip balm,perfume,keys,tissues,kids books,plastic tat,own phone
workbag: essential documents,laptop,tissue,work keys,work phones,lip balm

CMOTDibbler Sun 07-Oct-12 22:01:56

You have to absolutely share everything - inc the boring stuff like birthday present buying and party ferrying.

Low standards help a lot, and developing a teflon shoulders approach to others judgements.

Ocado groceries, and Amaon Prime - I do virtually all my christmas shopping online too.

Big whiteboard in the kitchen has weekly timetable, things to buy, reminders etc on.

Prioritise your family in non work time. While you are struggling, its not the time for voluntary work, clubs, gym etc imo. That goes for all adults in the household.

Minimise childrens activities that aren't part of school or your childcare.

Don't iron. We dry everything hung on hangers over a dehumidifier which is v efficient, and results in few creases. DH irons his own shirts, and ds wears a jumper over his shirt so no ironing. I wear work wear that needs no ironing, and check this in the shop.

Use online calendars - dh and I both have e calendars for work synced with our blackberries. Everything goes in those, inc parties with all the details

scottishmummy Sun 07-Oct-12 22:10:31

present drawer and birthday cards I have a stash of wrapped just in case pressies
yes all a/l, school holidays on organized and sync on phones
book holiday clubs well in advance

BoffinMum Sun 07-Oct-12 22:11:42

I also buy presents in bulk, paper in bulk, sellotape, cards, everything.

scottishmummy Sun 07-Oct-12 22:15:59

sync all birthdays and week before prompts me,and I post a card
buy stuff in sales for pressie stash, recycle duplicate gifts
at work have make up,tights,dry shampoo in desk drawer.I'm a just in timer

didireallysaythat Sun 07-Oct-12 22:18:50

All good points - I'm learning a lot here ! It does get easier - I went back to work full time after 3 months mat leave both times, and the first few months did feel like really hard work, but then you settle into a routine. A lot of it is common sense really, I don't think I do anything special, but it's been really useful to pick up tips from everyone else.

My two pennies

1. Don't iron. But I don't have to wear a suit. Last ironed June 2011...
2. 2 x school uniforms
3. 30 min cycle on the washing machine is the only one I use unless someone has thrown up on sheets etc. )
4. Set the washing machine off in the evening, put the wet washing by the back door and hang it out in the morning once the kids are eating their toast
5. Rotary washing line with a cover - leave your washing out for days without it getting wet
6. Basket at the bottom of the stairs where ALL shoes go so there's no hunting
7. School uniform put together the night before
8. Half a dozen of those £1 sports bags from ebay, different colours. On Sunday evening load tennis kit, football kit, swimming kit, projects for school etc.
9. Two pegs in the corridor - one for coat, school book bag and the appropriate sports bag for the next day. The other peg has all the other bags.
10. 4 week meal rota, and a shopping list for each week so it's a doddle to make sure you get the food you need for the week. Days when there's something on the evening are quick meals - love beans on toast.
11. Milk delivered to the door (luxury of a milkman but our 2 year old has a couple of pints a day).
12. Bread delivered to the door midweek (again, great milkman)
13. Cleaner once a fortnight who vacuums, mops, cleans the kitchen and the bathroom. I'm not house proud but chicken chow mein sticks to the floor like only weetabix can. It's two hours once a fortnight and it's great.
14. Making cooking double up at the beginning of the week - e.g. cook twice as much rice as you need for chilli one day and you've got fried rice the next.
15. Food shopping online is really useful - we don't need to every week but once every two months it's great to top things up
16. Bulk buy things like nappies and wipes - people laugh that I have 150 nappies in the garage but I know we won't run out ! (We don't have a shop in our village and I can't stop at a supermarket on the way to or from work as I'm battling the traffic to get to work on time or to pick up from after school day care before they close).
17. School dinners - no choice ! We had to do packed lunch for two terms and it was miserable (I lack creativity) - I used to do two-three days at a time.

blueshoes Sun 07-Oct-12 22:19:10

To stay on top of everything, I maintain the universal family/work calendar on Outlook in my office.

In that calendar, I pop all of dh/my dcs' school, work and social events such as:

Term dates
School hols, my/dh hols
Birthday parties
Which days I/dh am late/not coming home or travelling
Days when the aupair is not around
mufti/costume days
Playdates
School plays, sports days
Afterschool events, extra curricular activities
School project due dates
Dates of tests
Things I have to buy - esp those bits of school uniform that routinely get lost/outgrown

For each event, I set a reminder e.g. birthday parties I set a week reminder so I have time to buy and wrap a present and get dcs to do a card. If I have to get a costume, I put a 4 week reminder to give myself time to find one. Mufti days I put a day's reminder so I know to remind dcs/aupair for the next day. Or for school plays, I put reminders to myself/dh to book leave.

For those days that affect the aupair, I also put it in the family calendar at home, so even if I forget to tell the aupair, she can read it.

The diary is the command centre. Dh does not book anything over the weekends without first consulting me re: the calendar ...

I would say that generally I am on top of things and the household runs like clockwork <smug>

flippinada Sun 07-Oct-12 22:22:47

Just read the op - this is my twopennorth as to what helps - years of working as a single parent so I need to be organised. Feel free to use/disregard at will!

- prepare packed lunches the night before if needed
- ditto for anything that needs to be in school bags
- ditto for clothes
- keep a diary/appointments book and write absolutely everything in it (I need to do this or I forget, you might be better organised!)
- internet shopping is your friend. It saves dragging bored/fractious children round the supermarket and means you save cos you don't impulse buy (although this may just be me)
- batch cook at weekends if you get the opportunity
- go to bed early (before 10) at least one night a week
- only iron if absolutely necessary
- don't run yourself ragged with after school activities, they are not compulsory
- if kids have a hot meal at school they don't need another one after (ditto if they get a hot meal at childminder/nursery)

Dozer Sun 07-Oct-12 22:25:44

If you have apple-macs or ipad/iphone can have a shared "i-cloud" diary. We have this and is brilliant, instantly updates, people in different colours, and when appointments move no scribbling out!

Or google calendar.

blueshoes Sun 07-Oct-12 22:28:24

Dcs are still at an age where they allow me to buy their clothes.

I buy the clothes online during the sales one season ahead. For example, I will buy in the winter sale for the following winter one size up. It will be a capsule wardrobe with a few outfits (casual and party), pants, socks, tights, hats, gloves, coats, PJs, wellies, casual shoes. Therefore, there is no frantic rush when the next cold season rolls round again. Dcs' clothes are pretty much sorted and I only need to pick up the odd piece.

Twice a year, when the seasons change, I sort out all of dcs' clothes - take them all out dump them in the centre of the room and make dcs try them on. Those that they have outgrown will be triaged into eBay, charity and throw. Those that have wear in them folded and packed away for the next year. I only then buy additional clothes in the online sales (as above) to supplement what is carried over from the previous year.

Way2Go Sun 07-Oct-12 22:32:26

If possible, use a calender/reminder app on your phone or computer. Set it so you can share a household/family calender.
I use ICal on my IPhone, iPads etc, etc
I put every little thing I have to remember in it. It runs my life!

Way2Go Sun 07-Oct-12 22:33:47

OP's xposted with Dozer. It is a good idea though. grin

blueshoes Sun 07-Oct-12 22:33:57

To be organised, you need to have a reasonably tidy home. There is nothing more timewasting than looking around for things and then not finding them, buying new ones and then the old ones pop up and you have lots of clutter.

That means throwing things out regularly and having proper storage for everything, so everything has its place and you know where to find things. Like things to be kept with like.

That also means unpacking bags and putting things as soon as you can, such as school bags, PE/swimming bags, shopping, groceries, luggage bags after a holiday.

Put in a load of washing as soon as you have enough for a full load in that colour. Fold clothes away once they are dry.

Way2Go Sun 07-Oct-12 22:34:14

Oooops..... xposted with Dozer. It is a good idea though. grin

Don't watch Telly unless you a doing something else at the same time.
On frantic busy weeks I stop drinking as well, so I can fit a couple more hours into the day. smile
EVERYBODY in the house helps to run the house. From tiny DC to visiting relatives. We don't say 'you are a guest, make yourself comfy' we say 'we think of you as family, please can you empty the dishwasher'

Shaky Sun 07-Oct-12 22:54:59

Yay to on line shopping, slow cookers, packing bags the night before.

Definitely pay someone to do your ironing for you, life is far too short for ironing.
I go home before picking ds up, run bath with hot water ( always cooled enough by the time he needs his bath), chuck his tea in oven, get changed out of work uniform, get a drink ready for when he gets home.

Tea and drink are ready when he gets home. He has tea, then bath, then bed.

A halogen oven is also fab for time saving, cooks stuff like fish fingers and waffles really quickly (great for when you are short of time)

I also set my alarm for 30 mins before ds wake up time so I have chance for shower and getting dressed

mulranno Sun 07-Oct-12 23:09:29

agree on the decluttering stance - less is more - less stuff means more time. We are given lots of clothes and football kits seem to reproduce. Get rid of XS clothes regularly - boys only allowed 5 Tshirts at any one time for example - less folding etc. SOCKS always buy the same brand but differnt colours for each child - ie one has grey other black - easy to sort and no odd socks

Hollygolightley Sun 07-Oct-12 23:27:33

I didn't realise you could freeze sandwiches!! Does nigella know? This might be a stupid question but how long do they keep for?. I've just gone back to work full time so thanks for the suggestions on this thread ill have to try and chuck more stuff in the slow cooker although I'm sure even Einstein can't work out what the optimal volume of liquid is in mine whatever I try it either ends up as soup or burnt to a crisp

marriedinwhite Sun 07-Oct-12 23:33:07

Coming out of the other end of this, do you know what's lovely: Our DC are 14 and 17 (nearly 18). They are organised, they know what they have to pack for which day, what they are doing and what they need to take. They have required encouragement but no homework to be completed with them for years. DD is more than capable of finding her way around the tube network and I think DS knows almost every route across London (E/W, S/N etc). They can easily make themselves something to eat when they get home; do their own research; deal with minor emergencies such as a broken window, and ds can make a doctors appointment and get himself there. DS can drive and has been able to to for nine days grin.

>>>I think it's because I got to work full time - it sort of made them independent and self reliant.

OhDearSpareHeadTwo Sun 07-Oct-12 23:42:23

Stock up on ASDA £1 ready meals for lunches at work if you have access to a microwave. Saves time, money spent on "impulse sandwich turns into £15 shop" and calories smile

BabylonPI Sun 07-Oct-12 23:43:28

"Clean enough to be healthy, dirty enough to be happy"

I live by that rule - it works for me with 3 DCs grin

LongStory Sun 07-Oct-12 23:47:12

When I went back to work full time after my first (at 16 wks, mat leave was shorter then) I wanted to carry on breastfeeding and read a book by a US author about how to breastfeed and work full time. In the States, they have basically no mat leave, annual leave or other benefits that we're used to, I was amazed at how women went back to work a few weeks in and managed to juggle their lives. Not much of a life at times, methinks. We have it a lot easier than the working 'moms'.

Anyhow I now have 5 kids, breastfeed them all for a year or more and am doing pretty well in my career. The best tips I could pass on would be to pick a career where you can get paid well part time! We have a cleaner, nanny and gardener. We don't get to keep much of the income, but the pension's building up....!

LongStory Sun 07-Oct-12 23:50:14

Marriedinwhite just saw your post, thank you for the encouragement...

Want2bSupermum Mon 08-Oct-12 01:53:03

I was working until April. I went back full time when DD was 3 months old. DH works full time plus studies for his MBA. We don't have a cleaner... My top tips are:

1. Set out your weeks work wardrobe at the weekend. I did the same for DD.
2. Laundry was done every morning and I hung it out to dry when I got home. I didn't care if I sat in the machine for 8+ hours.
3. I prepared the weeks food on a Sunday. DH refuses to do a menu plan so I do one and don't tell him.
4. When I was working 6 days a week I stopped cooking dinners and struck a deal with our local restaurant. It worked out well for us and didn't cost that much more than the supermarket.
5. Don't drink alcohol unless it is a Friday/Saturday night and your OH is available to take over the following day. I had half a glass of wine at dinner midweek and it nearly killed me. I was exhausted and it just didn't go down well at all. I was screwed up the next day.
6. Wake up half an hour before the DC to get your day organized. I sat with my tea and toast catching up on the news and work emails.
7. If you can hire anyone get help with the evening crush. I hired a girl to come in three nights a week from 5-9pm. It worked out brilliantly as DH could study while I was working. Once DD went down she got DD's food sorted for the next day, washed her bottles etc.
8. Relax and expect the first 3 months to be a nightmare as you get back into the groove of working full time while raising your DC.

Napsalot Mon 08-Oct-12 02:24:31

To make a cleaner more affordable, get them to come in every other week. We live with it being a little more messy then we would like on day 13.

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