I need your tips on managing a full time job, small DC and a house please!(27 Posts)
I have a 4yo and a 1yo. I'm returning to work full time at the end of this month - DH already works full time. Currently I don't work and I do everything at home and for the children - and I still don't seem to have enough time (especially for housework). I'm sure DH hasn't quite realised that he's going to have to do more in the mornings and evenings and can't leave it all to me when I'm working.
So I'm looking for your coping strategies, please. General tips and also more specifically about the following:
Division of labour between you and your DH
Not letting the washing mound take over the house
Shopping and cooking
Getting out of the house in the mornings on time, with all necessary bags etc.
Thanks in advance.
There are two components to this question:
1. how can I do what I need to do as efficiently as possible
2. how can I get others to do as much as as possible and fair
I bet you are already an expert at number 1. Lots of good suggestions on this thread and all over mn already, if not. Maybe you still can find corners to cut that won't matter to you or your family - maybe they're all cut to the quick already - only you can decide.
So, number 2. breaks down into:
communicating what has to be done with your partner; making sure he does a decent amount of it; getting paid help; other (if "other" of any kind is available to you)
Involve your partner in planning.
If you are getting a cleaner or other paid helper remember to include the management of this in the overall division of labour.
Do not use the word "just" ever. Do not "just" bung a wash on, or "just" blitz the kitchen before leaving the house, etc, etc. Account for all the jobs because ALL the work is breakdownable into small bits that can be downgraded and shifted onto you with the word "just".
I've got homeroutines app. It helps me no end just having a focus of what to do.
mornings: make sure your eldest can dress herself, then one person can get the children dressed (we did a getting dressed race) while the other tidys away breakfasts sorts out the bags
evenings: if your dcs are in full time childcare they probably will not want/be to tired for big tea so have a rolling menu of easy healthy things they can eat, cheese and fruit/salad, oatcakes, pasta tossed with peas and grated cheese, left over meat, sandwiches etcs. one person cooks grown up supper while the other does the bath.
key thing is for each grown up to have a job- that way no shouting
Both dh and I work full time. He is 9-5 and I am shiftwork. We do the following (not that it seems to work that well!!):
*DH gets himself and dd up and ready on his workdays. If im.on an early ive already left and he drops her at the CMs. If im.on a late or off he wakes me at 7.30 so he can leave.
*DD eats her tea at the CMs (unless im.on a day off), so when she is collected we do an hour play and then bath bottle bed. We have dinner together once she is down. One cooks tea while the other bathes dd and puts her down.
*On a sunday (im pretty much always.off), we blast through the housework during dds morning nap.
*We put a load in the washig machine every night before bed
*We do the dishes once a day, after dinner and before bed.
*We have low standards and never iron.
*We use our bedroom as a dumping ground so when people visit we chuck everythig in there and deal with it later.
I have 5 and 2yo and DH and I have been working FT all along. It will be fine as long as you can leave your work on time. I used to to meal planning, but dropped that as now I plan an evening meal while at work and mini-shop during my lunch break. I normally wash once in a midweek and many loads on weekends. I make sure I have at least 3-4 sets of clothes for DC so there is not too much of washing. We do not have a cleaner or a dishwasher.. DH works as a dishwasher and we split house cleaning each every 2nd weekend.
Morning routine is manageable, DH and I take care of one child each.
Congrats on your new job and believe me it will be OK.
Midweek delivery is cheaper for online shopping. I would also advocate meal planning routines - don't get fancy, do the same thing every Monday, Tuesday etc or with slight variations for week 1 and 2. Plus don't be too proud to pick the busiest day of the week and make that beans on toast day for everyone, every week (this is Monday
and Tuesday for me atm). Look in your local post office or Spar/Tesco Express type place for cleaner ads.
Declutter and organise. Everything in our house has a place, if it doesn't we don't have room for it and it goes. Starting from an organised point is much easier.
We don't have a cleaner, although we have discussed it. An hour of housework for both of us each day keeps us going until the school holidays when we have time to do a proper clean.
Clean bathrooms while bathing younger children.
Plan work outfits at the start of the week with accessories etc.
Washer on every day and then straight to airier, line, dryer to save ironing,
Get a slow cooker.
Bread maker with a timer allows us to have easy fresh bread daily.
Organisation, military in its rigour! Spare time built in to morning routine because there will be strops/ lost shoes/ need for an urgent poo just before you go out. Without fail.
I am currently ft, but have been pt for several yrs. Dh is up and out at 0630 and never back before bedtime, so I just run a tight ship to suit me!
Cleaner if you can afford it is brilliant.
I do daily wash load ,put on as soon as I get up, then hang out while dc are faffing about. School lunches so they have had a cooked meal, slow cooker/ batch cook for adult meals. My dc are stillq small, so have early bedtime, so they eat a packed tea on the way home, packed stuff always made upthe night before. Standby bread, milk in freezer. Milkman delivers basic groceries ,only have to be ordered the night before if we run out of anything.
Good luck. Prepare to be very tired ,but it does get easier as everything falls into a routine.
Defo allocate a job for dh, eg my dh does all the washing and ironing. I do food planning and cooking, we have a cleaning company once a month to do whole house, eg top of wardrobes ,paints blinds etc the jobs you never have time for.
I agree with expat, except we do it the other way round - we don't really divide up the jobs as we do the leisure. He has a lie-in, I get a lie-in. He has a nap, I get a nap. I have an hour in the house on my own, he gets an hour, and so on. not in a point-scoring, resentful way, but because we're a team and it needs to be fair. And this means that on the odd occasion one of us goes out and spends the next day lying around, it's fine, as we'll do it the other way round another time.
I am expecting to buy a second fridge (to cope with bigger & fewer shops).
Cleaner currently comes once a week (yes I am that lazy minging SAHM) which might up to 2x/week.
Strict routine about when we shop & for what groceries.
Strict routines about leaving work on time most days.
I think I will carry a little notebook around with me to write down things under Urgent/Soon/Maybe columns. Urgent = needs doing in next 24 hours.
Finding a cleaner: ask around & look for notices in corner shop: can put up your own wanted notice, too. You can advertise with job centre, too, I think.
Divide up the jobs. He gets his, you get yours and then leave him to it! If he doesn't do it, it doesn't get done.
Relax - hah! Well, I have zero relax time in the morning as I take DS with me on the train. I get to work early though so have a sit down and cup of coffee before lessons start.
When we get home it's go, go, go until after bathtime when I've sorted washing/ironing and the bags. Then I get to sit down with for maybe an hour or so. I watch hardly any TV in the week but often take my tablet to bed and mn or Netflix. The key is to be organised in the house if you can so you're not wasting time looking for things or drowning in clutter.
Start your new routine as soon as you can so it is second nature by the time you are at work. Batch freeze now while you have time, make some treats for the freezer as well. If you are making sandwiches for the kids at lunch you can make them at the weekend and freeze them ( I have never done this but some mns have ). Make sure paperwork is all up to date and have a system in place for all their school notes etc, as when you are stressed for time it is harder to find things. Make any appointments you need to for yourself before you go back to work so you dont have the stress of doing that in the first weeks. Plan your outfits for the week at the weekend and put them hangers. Plan, plan plan, and expect the unexpected to happen as it always does. Don't worry if your standards slip , sometimes somthing has to give. Have a plan as to who will look after the kids if they are sick .
You will find that you will get into your own little routine and will work out what works for you.
These are fantastic - thank you. Will definitely meal plan and do online shop. Bags ready in the car the night before - brilliant. Few things can be more hasselly than ushering 2 children, one in a baby car seat, one school bag, one changing bag and one work satchel into the car in one go.
Also loving the idea of picking out everyone's outfits and showering the night before.
One question - do you ever get a chance to sit down and relax?
Must must must do bags night before and possibly even put in the car then too.
Use an online calendar and task list and share it with your DH (forcibly if necessary) so that he knows where everybody should be with which bit of kits and days don't get double booked and he can't use the old "well you didn't tell me!" line.
Give yourself 4-5 weeks to get into a routine
School dinners to avoid the hassle of sandwich making etc in the morning
Pack bags the night before
Deal with school admin (permission slips etc) immediately
Lower your standards
Don't let the wash basket get more than 3/4s full - we just about get away with doing a load on 3-4 days Mon to Fri then weekend sports fills it back up again
Keep on top of bigger jobs like cleaning the bathroom, mopping the kitchen floor so that you only need to do one a day (ie rather than leaving it all to do on a Sat morning)
Meal plan for at least the next three days (I've never managed to master beyond that timeframe....)
Teach the DC to help with the housework, even if it's just putting their dirty clothes into the wash basket at the end of the day
I went back to work FT for awhile before moving to the UK and once I got into the routine, it wasn't too bad. Have never had a cleaner but I definitely second the recommendation of a dishwasher if you don't already have one. Also, I used to put together large meals in the evenings after putting the DSs to bed. Something like baked ziti, a casserole, or pulled pork that I could just cook in the slow cooker throughout the day or pop in the oven when I get home the next night. Also, make large portions that will carry over for a few meals.
I agree that there should be less daily cleaning with everyone out of the house during the day, at least that was my experience. I would try to keep on top of the washing throughout the week and save the vacuuming, bathroom cleaning, floor scrubbing for the weekends. Also, after being married for 10 years, DH and I have pretty much just divided up the chores and it seems to work. For example, I clean bathrooms, do the cooking, food shopping and day to day cleaning but he handles trash, lawn, maintenance issues, finances, and puts away his own clothes. We eat as a family in the evening and then he gives the kids baths and puts them into PJs while I clean up dinner and load the dishwasher.
Also, one of the best purchases to save time was a stick vacuum (not sure if you call it that?) We got a Hoover Linx and it makes quick cleaning really easy. Works great if you have any pets that shed.
Ah, yes, cleaners. Great if you can afford them, that's not a given just because both work FT.
Just do the bare essentials, get a dishwasher if you don't have one yet (how I survived all those years without one I don't know). Load of washing a day sounds reasonable. Divide chores equally and get kids to help - even a 2 year old enjoys helping pegging the washing out by handing you the pegs, putting clothes away or wiping down the kitchen cupboards. - That way you can mix play time with housekeeping.
As for cleaner - newsagent's window or local paper small ads?
I put a load of washing on every night pretty much after DS is in bed, hang it on the ceiling airer over night and then iron the previous night's (can't go without ironing but one load at a time is manageable). Meal plan for the week, eat out every Friday night (if I'm going to work ft I want some perks!). I bring a week's worth of lunches to work at once - tins of soup, rice pouches, fruit cartons etc. Bags packed the night before and by the door, outfits picked out ditto, and I shower at night too which is not what I prefer but it takes one less job out of the equation in the morning. DH and I alternate getting DS up and giving him breakfast while the other one gets an extra ten minute lie-in. (longer at weekends). Lower your food standards! And get a cleaner - best thing ever for us.
No, I'll be doing all the drop offs and pick ups, because my job is local and DH commutes 1 hour away.
I'm really worried he won't pull his weight. Hope I'm wrong.
How do I find a cleaner? I did ask someone but she turned it down. I can't afford one of those posh companies.
A cleaner is a must, put the washing on first thing in the morning.
Shopping - online without a doubt
Cooking - I use my slow cooker a lot, meals that can be eaten over a couple of days, chilli that sort of thing. I plan our meals for the week.
Washing - we tend to do a couple of loads in the week and then the rest Saturday morning, have bags etc so it doesn't take over everything.
Housework - is easier when you're out of the house to be honest, I found it far harder to keep tidy when I was at home with our two. I don't get as much done as I'd like regularly, DH tends to do more extensive cleaning at the weekends. It means the house is never appalling but rarely visitor ready.
Mornings - I get up before everyone to exercise, MN, drink coffee and shower in peace. Makes me much calmer. I check and repack bags the night before. Also I have a family calendar on the fridge to keep everyone up to date. And use my phone as a memory dump.
How are you childcare drops offs arranged? Are you splitting those?
I am also returning to work full time in about 6 weeks so I will be watching this thread with interest.
I'm thinking internet shopping, batch cooking and if funds can afford, a cleaner!!
I think we will have to get everything ready the night before and I may change my boys to school dinners.
I am a teacher so I will more than likely have work to do in the evenings. My husband has encouraged my return to work but I'm still not so sure. I feel quite anxious about how I'll cope. Still, many, many women do this so I'm hoping we'll fall into a routine soon enough!
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