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

Mosman Sun 07-Oct-12 11:32:46

I'm about to sign up to a working mums coach to get myself sorted out because 4 months in and it's still killing me, worked ok but not brilliantly when DH was part time and I was full, now both full time I'm in my knees tbh

peggyblackett Sun 07-Oct-12 11:33:31

Lay out clothes the night before. Check bags (including yours) the night before. I know some people shower the night before too, but I can't bring myself to do that - sweaty!

peggyblackett Sun 07-Oct-12 11:34:06

Working mums coach? What's one of those?

notnowImreading Sun 07-Oct-12 11:35:11


I am just about to go full time too so in the same boat! I am so worried because I've been working PT and really struggling!

I agree with Peggy, I get everyones clothes out for the next day the night before - It means DH can get up and do his stuff (He's up at 5am) then I can get up, get showered and get dressed then start the process for my DS.

I also have set days to do certain stuff, such as hoovering, washing, emptying bins/cat litter etc. which seems to be working so far - But its stuff like washing up, shopping etc that I'm struggling with and the local supermarket deliveries are crap! We've tried all of them and they have all been rubbish so it means I have to do it.

How much is the average cleaner? Do they do laundry? I think what I basically need is a clone - someone who can do the shopping, laundry, cooking and cleaning whilst DH and I work - Where can I get one of these?

RancerDoo Sun 07-Oct-12 11:40:47

Which bits aren't quite working?

Parts tht are helpful (if i can do them) for me are:

Maintaining decent division of labour re home stuff (there's invariably a drift of things onto my list and pushing back to be done)

Excellent childcare (a good nanny = huge relief)

Putting out my stuff the night before

Putting everyone elses stuff out the night before!

My diary with a column for everyone (each of the kids, DH and nanny) so I know where everyone should be at all times. Dh and I both feed in and communicate any out of normal working hours commitments. The norm is he leaves early and I work late so we do one end of the day each, but anything outside of that - which happens at least twice aweek- gets agreed and written own.

Cleaner (from an agency so you get a replacement if yours is ill).

And seriously, getting your commute as short as you can. We moved because I refuse to waste three hours a day on the tube and I feel a lot less pressured now ( although I appreciate moving is rather extreme!)

Oh and I've been making packed lunches for the whole month in advance and freezing them - It's not as bad as it sounds actually - They don't go soggy either - Plus its cheaper to bulk buy the meat etc.

DottyDot Sun 07-Oct-12 11:44:38

I work full-time, dp works part-time in the day and then most evenings, I also teach piano in the evenings and our 2 ds's have activities 5 days a week. Life is bonkers! Top tips:

Household calendar - vital. Write everything down!

Weekly meetings - sounds mental but dp and I have just instituted it and it's fab. We go through the week ahead and sort out any birthdays coming up, plan meals for the next week and talk about any jobs that need doing.

Weekly meal plan - we have to have tea at different times each day and at precise times due to my teaching and ds's activities. So on Monday it has to be at 5.45pm and ds2 has to be out by 6pm. So we plan a quick easy meal for that day. We have a chart in the kitchen showing what time each teatime is. Meals have to be practical to fit around everything!

Allocate jobs - so I know my job is to put the bins out on a Monday night. No messing around then with whose turn it is. Dp is in charge of the washing, etc.

Date night - we have an evening a month and usually go to the pictures and we also try to have an evening week together watching telly but that's not always possible. Finding time together is for me one of the most difficult things so it needs planning in.

Basically run your house like a job and be as organised as possible - and red wine at the weekends helps!

Mosman Sun 07-Oct-12 11:47:24

I am having massive problems finding a new who has a clue and a cleaner that cleans, seriously looking for the past 6 years. I reckon if you can find those you are home and dry.

I think the WM's coach will be like mums net on the phone, that's what I'm hoping anyway somebody that will help me get systems in place to make the household run more efficiently.

Condensedmilk Sun 07-Oct-12 12:33:47

Slow cooker/crock pot.

It is so wonderful to walk in at the end of the day and have dinner ready.

YouSmegHead Sun 07-Oct-12 12:38:22

Thanks all. A cleaner isn't an option currently sad am determined to get all the ironing done today do I don't have to worry about that. Have fab childcare which dh and I share drop off and pick ups when possible but dhs hours are variable.

crosscupcake Sun 07-Oct-12 12:49:57

Washing machine on every evening after all showers are done. Hang stuff on radiators as soon as washer is finished.
Take stuff off radiators in the morning.

Have laundry baskets for whites and colours... train everyone on how to use...make it someones job to bring fullest to the washing machine and load it it.

Meal plan and shop on line for it all. This has cut my shopping bill but 2/3rds.
I know what we are having every evening, take stuff out of freezer the night before bed.
Whoever gets in first starts the cooking...slow cooker is a GODsend!

Load dishwasher as you go along. or put into sink full of washing up water.

Give different people jobs to do..empty dishwasher/sort out rubbish/recycling etc every day.

I do ironing (minimal) on a Sunday and lay out the entire weeks school uniforms including socks & undies so no need to lay out each evening.

Calender/diary on the kitchen wall, so every knows where they should be on any given day.

Clean as i go, while kid is getting uniform on & cleaning teeth i run hoover over and tidy.

Pile stuff on stairs that need to go up..never go up empty handed..train everyone else to never go up empty handed.

There is no getting away from it, its hard slog!

GhostofMammaTJ Sun 07-Oct-12 13:01:02

Find yourself a SAHM who could do with a little extra money and ask if she wants to do your ironing in her home for you. I used to do this for a couple of people and they were happy and I was happy with the extra money.

Jcee Sun 07-Oct-12 13:21:34

It took me about 6 months to even start hitting my stride after returning to work. Things that work for me 18 months down the line are:

Getting clothes out and ironing night before

Shower/wash hair in evening (I hate doing this but I just dont have time in mornings)

Menu planning for week so when I get home from work I know what we are having and no scrabbling about in freezer/cupboards scratting a meal together or resorting to take away

Weekly supermarket delivery of everything we need for week

Batch cooking at weekends so some weeks there are ready made meals in freezer and I get a night off from cooking as DP can just about operate microwave

Get laundry on 1st thing Saturday morning so it's done

Things that aren't working and we are working on are divvying up of housework as currently no one is doing it and DP can be incredibly lazy and finding some time for me to do my thing

It has been hard work - strangely enough harder than actually dealing with the return to work and getting up to speed in office, which I did not expect - and sometimes depressingly I always seem to be planning the next thing or for the next day and never get a chance to just stop and breathe or watch my stuff on the sky planner

marriedinwhite Sun 07-Oct-12 13:48:32

sunday: all uniform, ironed and ready for the week (two dc). some batch cooking for at least two/three meals. My outfits in wardrobe Mon to Friday grouped together for each day (top, skirt or trousers, jacket). All dry washing sorted and put away.

Evenings: all bags, kit, shoes ready and packed and lined up in the hall.
Mornings: dishwasher unloaded, wet washing in dryer or hung, new load in.

Monday eves - quick tidy round downstairs
Tuesday eves - I try to do about an hour of ironing
Wednesday eves - A quick tidy so the cleaner can have a clear run on Thurs.
Thursday eves - Nothing special
Friday eve - supermarket shop
Sats - washing and sorting generally
Suns - bit of ironing and paperwork

It's being organised enough so you aren't forever looking for stuff at the last minute.

marriedinwhite Sun 07-Oct-12 13:50:30

Oh and no child comes downstairs unwashed, undressed or unbrushed on a week day (though ours are 14 and nearly 18 now). Breakfast is at the kitchen table and there has never been a tv on in this house before children are dressed and breakfasted. I used to let them watch it while I got ready for work when they were younger and then there was five minutes to get shoes and put on coats, etc.

Fiendishlie Sun 07-Oct-12 13:50:50

Don't iron if you can help it.
The best thing I do is to plan and prepare the next day's meal the night before. So I might get all the meat and veg chopped for a stir fry, or have the stuff ready for the slow cooker in the morning. I might prepare rice or potatoes the evening before, or have a baking tray in the fridge ready to just be popped in the oven when I get in.
Shop online, always, without fail.

FunnysInLaJardin Sun 07-Oct-12 13:53:54

we are into the second year of both working FT with 2 DC and we are just getting it sorted. I have found having a cleaner, and being very organised is the only way. I do the shopping and cooking, DH does the washing and ironing

Plus this year I have said we are not doing any extras i.e. extra school things, extra trips with Beavers etc. DS1 has Beavers and Karate during the week and THATS IT. By the end of last term my head was spinning trying to keep up with everything so I trimmed it back.

Also we have found that we couldn't spend enough time gardening as we needed to and so are laying most of the vegetable garden to lawn.

FunnysInLaJardin Sun 07-Oct-12 14:04:31

oh and another thing for me is making the best use of my time, i.e. I shop on a Monday in between leaving work and collecting DS1 from Beavers. It gives me just over an hour which is just enough. I also meal plan and do my shopping list on a Sunday night and get what I need out of the freezer the night before. Thursdays I go to the gym after work while DS1 is at Karate and collect him after. There isn't much free time during the week, but I keep my weekends as free as possible.

marriedinwhite Sun 07-Oct-12 14:14:35

logging off Mnet wink. Au-reviour - jobs to do.

cocoachannel Sun 07-Oct-12 14:32:04

ChunkyMinkey, I'm perhaps being a bit dim, but do you mean you freeze sandwiches for lunches and it works?

cocoachannel Sun 07-Oct-12 14:32:21

Monkey, sorry...

xlatia Sun 07-Oct-12 14:52:05

cocoachanel i do the same, but only for a week. prepare a batch of sandwiches with anything on them really, pop into freezer and take out the night before. in the mornings just add fresh stuff like veg, salad, fruit, and bob's your uncle.

i also prepare brekkie (i. e. coffe powder in mug, dry weetabix in bowl, etc.) the night before.

other things: i strictly refuse to iron, never walk around the place empty-handed and try to clean in between - i. e. unloading dishwasher while porridge is in the microwave in the morning, tidy bathroom while DS is having his bath. now i'm working on training DP to do more, that's the hardest part actually grin

Mandy21 Sun 07-Oct-12 15:06:27

I'm intrigued with everyone who says they don't iron or does very little ironing - I have 3DCs who all wear school uniform, DS who has to wear suit (so shirt etc) and I have to wear a suit / smart work wear so blouses / tailored shirts etc. I could iron for 2 hours every night and I still wouldn't keep on top of the ironing (admittedly there is always a backlog!) so where am I going wrong???

marriedinwhite Sun 07-Oct-12 15:23:06

I agree with you about the ironing Mandy21 DD = five school cotton blouses, DS now wears men's cotton shirts x 5 smaller versions of his dad's, DH cotton formal shirts x 5, I wear 5 tops (blouses, etc) too each week - and it's worse in the summer because sometimes I wear dresses. I don't see how you can possible not iron that sort of stuf..

reshetima Sun 07-Oct-12 15:30:34

I prepare DH and my sandwiches for the week on a Sunday and then freeze (only works with hard cheese, smoked meat not egg). Then all I have to do is add fruit, brunch bar and yoghurt in the morning.

My cleaner does the ironing of DH shirts and my linen clothes. The rest is drip dry. DS trousers and shirts just have to go on crumpled. I'm sure we're down as neglectful parents, but he's clean and that's the main thing.

Supermarket shop once a week and top up on the way home. (Almost) only cook two batches of food and pop one in the freezer or eat the next day.

Lay out breakfast dishes and cereal etc the night before. Lay out clothes and pack bags the night before.

cardibach Sun 07-Oct-12 15:35:19

I work full time and am a lone parent. I cope bu not caring if housework is done. I work (teacher, so have stuff to do at home, too) cook mostly healthy food and spend time with DD hanging out/having fun (she's 16 and it's been just us since she was a baby). If nothing else gets done for weeks on end I don;t stress. It means some rushed cleaning/tidying if people are coming round - although my friends aren't bothered on the whole - but we are both very healthy, so it isn;t killing us.
THis isn't always a very popular attitude on MN, though.

Lifeisontheup Sun 07-Oct-12 15:54:05

I work full time hours but 12 hour shifts so can be over three or four days/nights each week.
The only child at home full-time is 16 but is on AS and it is an uphill struggle to get him to help but we keep trying.
I've just started an OU degree course which needs approx 16 hours a week study so I try to do all housework in one day and then study for another full day, preferably when DH is home plus odd bits as and when.
Have got a simple organisation chart on the fridge and i write jobs on post -its and move them round according to importance. Still knackered though but we survive.

GupX Sun 07-Oct-12 15:58:04

Weekly meal plan
Online shopping
No ironing - stuff straight out of dryer onto hangers
Easy dinners (eg fresh pasta, bulk cook things like bolognaise and korma)

We can't afford a cleaner either
We clean with the kids for about an hour on Saturdays
Once a month catch up with all the paperwork - betweentimes we have a folder
After the kids are in bed, decks are completely cleared for the following day
Also slow cooker is fab.

Meal plan.
Freeze leftovers for nights when you don't feel like cooking.
Have one or two nights of beans on toast/omelette/soup type simple meals.
Only iron the bare minimum then just do them on one side only
washing done on specific days and all dried/ put away same day e.g. Towels done on a Wednesday, colours wash on a Thursday, bedding on a Friday, another colours wash on a Sunday. I have a machine with a timer which I set to come on overnight so stuff is ready to hang out in the morning.
Try and plan so that one day is free of specific tasks - mine is Saturday but I might still do a wash or clean windows etc if it's a nice day and there's nothing else planned.
Either shop online or go to Aldi (only takes 45 min as there's nothing to distract from the basics).
HTH smile

RillaBlythe Sun 07-Oct-12 16:10:20

marriedinwhite, when I was your DC age my brothers & me tool turns each week to do the ironing. 3 x school shirts, my dad's work shirts, a couple of blouses for my mum. We considered it a good job because you could do it in front of the TV (the other jobs rota'd with that one were cleaning bathrooms or doing part of the weekly shop - we also took turns at hoovering, mopping & laying/clearing table for meals)

HandMini Sun 07-Oct-12 16:11:11

Does anyone have a "housekeeper" type service as opposed to just a cleaner? Me and DP both work full time and have one DC, another due soon, and we don't have it very well sorted to be honest. I don't really know what a housekeeper would do above and beyond what a cleaner does, but would be interested to know if anyone has more success outsourcing some of the housework. I guess I'd like someone else to be doing the thinking about when we run out of lightbulbs etc....any thoughts?

My only tip is to buy very simple baby clothes, and lots of them. Our DD lives in plain tights, body suits and dresses from H and M so I can just grab from the cupboard in the morning and if we don't get round to doing a wash until the weekend she's got plenty to use.

Ginfox Sun 07-Oct-12 16:12:20

Some great ideas on here, but best post so far is definitely from Cardibach. I've just gone from working 4 dpw to 5, and the house is sort of tidy but definitely not clean, whilst the (weedtastic) veg patch makes me feel guilty every time I look at it.

But as long as I manage to do the essentials - washing/ironing, feeding everyone, etc - that's fine. Because I'm not going to spend all my precious weekend time doing chores when I could be having fun with my DH and DD. They'll get done eventually. Or it will be too late and they won't need doing at all grin

Anyway, my not very original advice would be to menu plan, then do an online shop for as much as you have space for. I plan a month in advance (so we don't end up eating the same thing every week due to lack of imagination), do a monthly online shop, get a weekly fruit and veg box delivered, so just need to top up at local shop as and when. Saves money too.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Sun 07-Oct-12 16:36:46

Don't iron ffs.

If your partner requires ironed shirts, he can do his own. NOTHING else requires it, certainly not children's clothes.

Xenia Sun 07-Oct-12 16:43:31

I've worked full time with 5 children for 28 years, we both did. Youngest are 13 and someof that as single. My tips:

1. Avoid sexist marriages. By all means have clothes laid out the night before - make that your husband's job so you never even have to think about it.

2. He does all wasyhing, ironing and putting away and you do cooking or vice versa. Never take on more than him at home. Only idiots married to sexist pigs do that.

3. When we could afford it we got someone in 3 times a week who did all the cleaning and importantly emptied the washer and dishwasher (we had someone 5 mornings a week for a good few years too). We put them on before we left for work and she emptied them and more importantly oput all clothes away and changed the sheets and towels on a rota system. I've not had to change beds for about 15 years now - lucky me (but I did pick a well paid career deliberately in my teesns so in a sense we live with our choices).

4. I do not believe your local deliveries of groceries are too bad to accept. ALl the majors are briliant. You have to compromise to have happy family and working life and avoid perfectionism. So what if a ferw groceries are too old or the delivery is a bit late - it is much easier than going to a shop. We have it delvered when the cleaner is here so I don't even have to look at the stuff. The children have access to the on line food account and add what they need too to it - they are very sensible children whom I trust. I never enter a shop if I can help it.

5. Now they are older we all get our own food in the evening which makes things very relaxed and lovely although I accept not everyone operates like that. Their brother cooks for the younger two.

I do all admin on the day of receipt so I never had a back lot or in pile - this is impossible when you avhe little children. Huge 13 year olds as I have are dead easy.

If working whilst breastfeeding I did all the night feeds in year 1 and their father did all night waking (we had loads) in years 2 - 5 which is a fair division in terms of time and works well as they were not breastfeeding in those later years.

Above all acept no sexism or unfairness at home even for one day and be more than happy to let their father do lots of tasks even if he does them differently from you. the key is that he is not helping you but he is 100% responsible for all wasing always whilst you do cooking or wahtever divided you do - the key is you are not in charge of it and do not tell him what to do but that you each have tasks as adults for which you are 100% responsbile.

(I foudn it easier as I earned 10x what he did mind you - I suggest money and power help in marriages and the more you earn the easier everything is made).

Xenia Sun 07-Oct-12 16:44:27

Another thing we had a few years with baby twins adn teenagers when their father work on Saturday too and I often had things to do when we hired a local teenage girl to give unadulterated attention to the twins whom she adored for 4 hours - they loved it and it made such a difference to know we could concentrate no the other 3 chidlren or just erad the paper without interruption for 2 - 4 hours.

myBOYSareBONKERS Sun 07-Oct-12 17:06:40

To those of you going FT. Do you really HAVE too? or is it expected of you and the level of profession you are at? I had to have a complete re-think after DS2 as I was getting so bogged down with everything and eventually cut my hours.

Lifeisontheup Sun 07-Oct-12 17:07:25

We sort out chores between us according to what we dislike the least so DH does all the paperwork including anything to do with school, cleans shoes, empties bins ,walks the dog and cooks at weekends and when I'm on a late finish or on nights.
I cook when I'm home before him or on days off, I clean, hoover and put washing on. Whoever is around fills and empties dishwasher and does shopping, supermarket is a three minute walk from the house so very easy.
We also have an ironing lady who is wonderful.

smoppet Sun 07-Oct-12 17:27:58

Agree with lots of the minimalism above. Lots of great advice. My two penneth:

NEVER iron - I don't buy clothes that need it, didn't own an iron til i was >30; if anyone in the family wants pressed shirts, they can do them themselves. It's a personal preference IMHO. I might be lucky that DD is in primary so in stay-pressd pinnies and skirts and horrid polo shirts - but when she's in shirts I'll go poly-cotton not cotton, and she can iron if she wants them pristine. I have plenty of work clothes that are smart but don't require ironing. DP buys shirts that are checked, so noone sees the creases!

Washing on a short economy cycle so it's out and drying the same night it goes in the machine.

Dirty house. (Clean loo, clean kitchen surfaces, clean sink/bath. Filthy floors).

Over-cook most of the time (often by accident) so we have freezer portions in double-adult and kid-size of chilli, bolognese, dhal etc.

A repertoire of easy meals (spaghetti Bol, chilli, Dahl, chakchouka, couscous and veg, bean stew, sausage and mash) and a lot of non-perishables (tinned beans, couscous, pasta etc) and frozen veg (peas obvs and sweetcorn and baby broad beans a boon!) so you can always do something from scratch dead quick sans inspiration. Pasta peas and Parmesan is a winner here. Takes as long as the pasta takes to cook.

Haven't been doing packed lunches long enough to need to but will def get to making batches of sarnies or rolls and freezing them when I'm fed up.

All grocery shopping is online - snatched minutes at work when I remember items to add to basket, and in the evenings in front of the tv.

And the DC must help out with chores - we're all part of the family, we all want to have a nice time, so we all have to help out. Otherwise mummy's a drudge, grumpy and no-one has fun.

Good luck!

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Sun 07-Oct-12 17:35:01

Grubby floors and unironed polo shirts do not a bad parent make.

I loathe hate and despise ironing and avoid it all costs.
meal plan and prep in advance what you can.
Slow cooking is great.
Lower your standards.
Drink plenty of wine grin

smoppet Sun 07-Oct-12 17:37:16

Quite, JenaiMarr!

Xenia Sun 07-Oct-12 17:44:12

IN some careers full time is the difference between potentially earning £2m a year in some professions and not too much more than the minimum wage so yes for many we prefer full time and if it means fewer chores and more done by the other half full time is way the best option. I never iron.
On housekeepers I never relaly know what that title means. When we had someone 5 mornings a week she did the cleaning and ironing and washign and putting away of clothes as I said above, uses initiative in a way I don't think all cleaners do, answered door - we get a ot of deliveries. Stuff like bring in post. Bringing in wheelie bins, putting them out on the right day, bedding and towel washing. I did a list I think years ago of what she should do each day. i am not sure it was all been stuck to - dusting often not done and I now get someone once a year or every 6 months who does windows inside and out as she never does the windows inside. I don't think she ever changed light bulbs.

At the momen in most places there are loads and loads of people from students to general unemployed who will almost kill for any kind of job like cleaning and housekeeping at the minimum wage or if you can afford it above (except in rural areas) so it is not hard unless you don't earn enough to pay someone.

By the way when I had 3 chidlren by age 26 and worked full time we no way had help because the childcare was 50% of each of our salaries so I certainly very much appreciate now 20 years on being able to afford more help.

scottishmummy Sun 07-Oct-12 17:52:36

batch cook& freeze
shop online
groceries online
lay all week clothes out in mine and kids
dp gets his shirts laundered and ironed
pack bag night before
make packed lunch night before
get a spreadsheet on laptop of parties,a/l, events - map out schedule
direct debit for bills,mortgage
to do lists,review regularly and action tasks
window cleaner
don't cool Friday it's fish & chips or takeaway
ignore the precious moments mamas and why have em if you work fulltime crew

I love working and any wee tome saving tip is a blessing
working mums coach is that like a mc life coach. I'm sceptical.I don't need to be coached

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 07-Oct-12 17:59:10

Yes to all the above, especially the bits about not worrying about not living in a show home, making sure your other half and older children are doing their fair share around the house, and dealing with admin as soon as it comes in

marriedinwhite Sun 07-Oct-12 18:15:38

Oh Xenia - you weren't that different from us except that DH earns more than 10 x my salary!! I knew when we had the DC that I was at the top of my earning potential and that it was likely to go down; the City was rocky, I was 30s and you don't go back to selling eurobonds once you stop. DH was the one with the potential. But it didn't stop me going back after a few years and carving a new career and getting professional quals. I think if he had had to come home in the early years and do half the chores after putting in a 13 hour day, plus weekends and many evenings - I think he'd have thrown in the towel and we would have much much less coming in now. Glad I was at home for a while - I think it paid off and it worked for us - and I'm sure we are both better off after 23 years having compromised and worked together. And nothing he has ever done has ever made me want to call him a sexist pig.

BTW I have a cleaner twice a week and she helps with the ironing. I do about 1 to 2 hours of laundry a week, all the shopping and cooking (I like the shopping and cooking) and no cleaning. Like you once a year I have in a company to do a complete spring clean, incuding all the windows, glass, stair rods, etc., and every other year they do the carpets. Nothing is ever quite perfect - it can't be when two people work full time it was when I didn't go to work but then I couldn't whip out a cheque book on whim and entirely without consultation. I am very very glad I went back to work and think I am in a much better place than the mums who are now early/mid 50s like me and who have been at home for 20 years and who are probably almost unemployable and could be in a very bad place if suddenly they had to work or even if they were suddenly on their own and had no financial problems but an empty nest. At least for the next 15 years or so I will have purpose if the worst were to come to the worst.

I think giving him a bit of slack on the household front helped us all.

DottyDot Sun 07-Oct-12 18:18:09

We never iron - as in, haven't even unpacked it since last moving 4 years ago! Clothes get hung up to dry then put straight away. Uniforms look fine, as do work clothes. Can't see what ironing would add and I can't imagine where the time would come from to do it!

Admittedly this is probably backlash from growing up with a mum who (still) irons everything - including socks and pants!

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 07-Oct-12 18:34:42

just thought of something else, as I'm doing the pre-Monday routine: buy more / bigger stuff. Eg DS needs a clean school jumper every day, so he has five so that I don't have to worry about getting a couple through the wash during the week. And we have a big wash basket so that it isn't overflowing after a couple of days.

prettybird Sun 07-Oct-12 18:39:04

One bit of advice my best friend (mum of 4, GP, married to another GP, home cooks, makes her own curtains I hate her wink) gave me was to wear the same outfit twice.

I couldn't bring myself to do so two days in a row, but I did alternate two days. It meant I only need to think of/get ready 3 outfits in a week, rather than 5.

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.


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
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.

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
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.

Get a cleaner. Don't iron. I really can't believe how many people iron t-shirts and bed clothes. It's ok if you enjoy it. But the same people whine about how they loathe ironing.

And yes to ocado shopping too. It probably helps about the ironing bit that my little one is a toddler, and that neither me nor DH wear suits to work. There are lots of clothes option that don't require ironing.

TheOnlyPersonInTheRoom Mon 08-Oct-12 10:59:15

Slow cooker
Clothes and bags ready the night before
There are some things you should ALWAYS have in the house: e.g. spare birthday cards, stamps, milk and bread in the freezer, a tin with pound coins in
Be organised - have an address card system, a calendar with birthdays/holidays/visitors/visits on it, a drawer of takeaway menus!
Don't have a pet that consumes a lot of time and makes a lot of mess! (i.e. a dog) bitter experience
Short commute
We shower the night before [filthy]
Deal with the post when you get it
Direct debits for everything you can
A second car seat (for DH's van) has helped me us no end.
If either of us get some time at home alone it goes without saying that it is spent ironing/cleaning/vacuuming/washing

I am 3 months in and really struggling - we both work full time, we have a 1-year-old and no family around. We don't have a cleaner or an ironer (and we have a LOT of ironing... like Mandy I don't understand how people can get away with not ironing). There is no supermarket nearby but online shopping takes just as long. I have a CM but she only works 8-5.

We don't help ourselves either as we 'make' extra work for ourselves. If we are all at home on the weekend with no visitors (rare) then the spare time will be filled with something dull like doing the accounts. DH is a tradesman and will end up picking up jobs at the weekend if there is something going. If our family visit they create work rather than helping us out.

Our house is going to rack and ruin as is my body, our relationship is suffering, I for one am completely exhausted.

Way2Go Mon 08-Oct-12 11:00:20

Stop going on about cleaners angry Or, even housekeepers confused

The OP has said she can't afford a cleaner at the moment.

Xenia Mon 08-Oct-12 11:05:50

Oops, sorry well I did say we had a period where certainly no cleaner (in fact allbaby clothes second hand childcare cost more than one of our salaries). In those days we divided tasks up their father washed all the nappies - no good disposable in 1988 or they were too expensive so he did 100% of the ashing of those (andwe had 3 in nappies at night at one point) - in other words share tasks between both of you.

TheOnly, well it will get easier. We had no family around either. With little children it is full on as soon as you get in at the door (with 3 under 4 and both of us working full time it was),. All I can say is that now they are much older - three have graduated - it was definitely worth keeping working if you look at what I have earned over the next nearly 30 years. It was massively worth putting up with those very few years which are hard and they are hard whether you aer home with babies all day or working all day.

I agree wth TheO's points too. I remember doing a lot of hoovering with the screaming baby (she didn't stop crying for 4 months) strapped on my front as that was a way to keep her calm - boy movement and sound of hoover and it keeps you moving.

I can remember a period of having a shower every 2 days not every day although I accept not everyone would find that acecptable. I don't think I smelled.

pleasethanks Mon 08-Oct-12 11:46:05

I'll caveat this with saying I don't work full time, but I do work full days on a Mon to Wed. But what I have found helps is;

- cooking on a sunday so we have dinner for that night and Tuesday night ready

- putting something simple in the slow cooker on a monday morn for dinner that night (I pull out DD's when we get in from nursery and then our dinner is ready once she is in bed for the night). It is not my favourite meals, but so handy for a monday

- bit of batch cooking at weekends and freezing

- eat out or takeaway on a fri or sat night

- DH gets in from work just in time for bath, so he does bath and I run round tidying up etc and then I do bedtime and he takes over any tidying etc. Knowing I am just tidying for 10 mins or so focuses me and I just get on with it and it means I can relax a bit more once DD is in bed

- Get DD (2) to help me as much as she can - emptying dishwasher, clearing up toys etc. Feel it is good to instill this in her

- iron only what needs to be done. Tend to do it on a tues night when DH is out and I would just be lying on couch anyway

- accept my standards are probably lower now and that is fine as I love spending time with DD and DH

TheOnly I'm nearly a year in now. I think you have it harder because your DH is self employed so it sounds like you have to do the accounts after work hours. That is like holding a full time and a part time job at the same time.

As for online shopping taking just as long. That's why I specifically mention Ocado. It takes just as long if you use any of the other other supermarkets. Their website all sucks. Ocado is very fast because, well, the website is very slick and you don't have to browse through lists and lists of items to get what you want. I can do a weekly shop in 10-15min. And I don't repeat cook the same every week. So it's a new basket everytime.

Also I don't see why you need to iron. Your DH surely doesn't need to wear a shirt? (Females always have the option to wear other things with suits). It sometimes called lowering your standards. What are you ironing specifically?

TheOnlyPersonInTheRoom Mon 08-Oct-12 12:18:40

OneLittle yes I need to rethink my ironing stance I think. DH doesn't have much (I just fold his work clothes) but me and DD seem to generate a lot of ironing. My wardrobe is very disorganised, I need to streamline it (need some help there) and I think my life would be simpler. I need to know what materials I can get away with not ironing and only buy clothes made of that material!

I probably don't need to iron DD's stuff at all but I just feel better if she goes out in the morning looking 'pressed'. My DH does more than his fair share - if he gets an early knock-off he tackles the entire pile and does a lot of stuff round the house.

His accounts build up and I tackle them in one go so it's not too bad, but the thing with him being a tradesman is he is out of the house a lot (working but also doing quotes in the evenings and picking up stock at the weekends). He also goes away to work sometimes so can be away for a week or so. I feel like a single parent trying to work full time.

BoffinMum Mon 08-Oct-12 12:20:18

"If either of us get some time at home alone it goes without saying that it is spent ironing/cleaning/vacuuming/washing"

I would set a timer and have both adults do an hour's intensive cleaning up, and then stop when the timer bleeps, otherwise it will eat into every moment you have. Any home can be dealt with in 4-6 hours a week, that's 2-3 hours each, and that should include your laundry and ironing. Seriously.

"I am 3 months in and really struggling - we both work full time, we have a 1-year-old and no family around. We don't have a cleaner or an ironer (and we have a LOT of ironing... "

I suggest that either you get a large tumble dryer, or you only iron things you wear in public, and avoid ironing bedding, table linens, pyjamas, and anything you can get away with just shaking out and hanging up. Also are you leaving it in the washing machine too long, or filling the washing machine too full? Those are both things that generate a lot of ironing. If you accidentally do this, it is better to halve the load and quickly re-wash it rather than struggling on.

"There is no supermarket nearby but online shopping takes just as long".

Set up a regular order and just eat the same stuff each week. Many online supermarkets have a facility to refill the basket with your regular items.

"We don't help ourselves either as we 'make' extra work for ourselves. If we are all at home on the weekend with no visitors (rare) then the spare time will be filled with something dull like doing the accounts".

That is family life grin

"DH is a tradesman and will end up picking up jobs at the weekend if there is something going".

Fathers do that. It's called supporting the family.

"If our family visit they create work rather than helping us out".

Visit them instead?

"Our house is going to rack and ruin as is my body, our relationship is suffering, I for one am completely exhausted".

My darling, you need a holiday. Any chance of one?

BoffinMum Mon 08-Oct-12 12:21:42

Another good tactic I do sometimes is take a couple of days' leave from work, and then sort out my wardrobe, catch up with my mending and errands, give the place a good clean and do a big freezer shop. Helps no end. DH does that sometimes as well.

TheOnly poor DD never look "pressed" grin. She doesn't seem to mind, yet!

BoffinMum Mon 08-Oct-12 12:33:30

Clean is good enough, tbh. Pressed is for best!

TheOnlyPersonInTheRoom Mon 08-Oct-12 12:40:47

Boffin I wasn't complaining about him working weekends! I realise why he does it! It is just one of many things that eats into 'time available to accomplish things' is all smile

Family (both sets) are a 5 hour drive away - that's 10 hours I could be ironing!

Great tip about the washer/dryer thank you

pleasethanks Mon 08-Oct-12 12:43:56

Also, I only wash my hair on one out of my three work days. I just dry shampoo and spruce up with the straighteners on the other work days (but shower). Saves me 10 mins in the morn. Every little helps!

mommybunny Mon 08-Oct-12 12:52:51

Not getting the whole 5x school shirts thing - my DCs (7 and 5, admittedly not teenagers yet) have 2 each, one to wear and one to wash. DS has 2 pairs of uniform trousers and DD has 2 uniform tunics. 5+ pairs of socks/tights though.

Teaching DCs to look after themselves as early as possible is a very good coping strategy too. DS (the 7yo) dresses himself, makes his bed, tidies his room, lays the breakfast table and feeds the fish before he's allowed to play on his Wii in the morning, I'm trying to find a similar inducement for DD (the 5yo) as she couldn't care less about the Wii...

ChicMama25 Mon 08-Oct-12 13:04:27

haha Xenia "Go on a mental health course to remove whoever conditioned yuou into thinking ironing was necessary"

amazing. my mum comes over on a friday takes DD to ballet and does some cleaning and ironing... but I have to tell her not to iron b/c she irons bloody TSHIRTS and SHEETS when there are like 5 million actual work shirts always always. She was a SAHM so doesnt get that you dont need to iron pillowcases...

want an aupair but cant afford it yet and also prefer to have the house to ourselves....

I have 3 DS under 5 and am expecting DC4, and work full time commuting into central london.

I too am a slovenly beast and shower/wash my hair at night - usually when 2 DS are in the bath (I am right next to the bath and watching them) and whilst the other one plays. Then all change and other one in whilst I get dry and dry the other 2.

At night I get school bags ready (fortunately no packed lunches to make) and uniform out for DS1.

I second a good cleaner - by the time the kids are asleep it is 8pm, and I then have to cook dinner for DH and me so I don't want to do housework as am exhausted and need to go to bed early due to morning sickness, and DH gets up at 5am every day for a long day.

Also doing the main shop online for the same delivery time every week has been a godsend. We don't drive to a supermarket, so this way I can take advantage of the multibuy cheap but heavy things (nappies, washing liquid, loo rolls etc) so it more than offsets the delivery charge (I sign up for a year so the delivery charge is very economical.

Do homework at bedtime.

At lunchtime in the office I am super efficient doing all admin.

Batch cook (stews are good) and freeze.

We always eat out on a Sunday tea time as a family so that we have one evening where we aren't cooking, aren't doing washing up etc and can actually have an hour and a half of grown up time (DH and me) together so we actually feel like we spend some time together instead of just charging around all the time.

harrietspy Mon 08-Oct-12 13:11:50

I'm working on stopping the laundry pile from getting big in the first place to save on drying costs and to cut down on the time it takes to wash, dry, fold, etc. (There's no way I could dry it reliably outside, the tumble dryer is expensive and we haven't put the central heating on yet). The boys' school sweatshirts and trousers always have food/mud on after a day's wear, so I've taken to keeping a bottle of washing up liquid and a sponge in the bathroom. I'll scrape/sponge the crud off the clothes while the boys are in the bath then hang up overnight. It only takes a couple of minutes but really keeps the washing down and they're not old enough to be sweaty so it really isn't as gross as it sounds. And they do get a proper wash after 2-3 wears.

My work lunch is a packet of oatcakes, cheese, dates and as much fruit as I can fit in a lunch box so it requires virtually no prep. Kids' lunches are uncomplicated too. Lay out breakfast night before including tea bag in cup.

Good luck!

ChicMama25 Mon 08-Oct-12 13:15:48

I also shower and wash myhair the night before whicih I hate but I leave home at 4.50am or 5.50am for work so no choice there really (I do cycle as well most days but when I do I shower at work (again) but takes too long to wash and dry hair there - could cut it off again but i am too vain)

my partner does cooking and housework in the mornings after I leave for an hour or so and it realyl helps. he then brings DD to school and I pick her up at the end of the day (630pm). I do earn more than him but it is more the fact that I do 12hr days and he does only about 9 or 10hr days, so yeah I'd say he does marginally more housework than me on balance. I generally do laundry and he does shopping/cooking. He cleans kitchen and I clean bathroom.

The best thing to do is prep meals in advance, we dont get home with DD till 7pm and then she always has a bit of hwk left and we need to eat and get her to bed (she has a shower in the morning now while DP does housework which helps)

the most depressing thing is cleaning on the weekend so we try not to do that and yeah the house is not always clean. we want to get a cleaner but always find new uses for the money in our budget like we want to decorate the house first...

TheOnlyPersonInTheRoom Mon 08-Oct-12 13:19:16

I permanently carry a brunch bar or cereal bar in case I don't get breakfast, and I have food in my drawers at work.

I shower at night, sleep with wet hair (what would my grandma say??) and then bung it up in a clawclip for work. I am lucky to not have unruly hair though, I don't know how people manage when they have to faff about straightning and what not before work.

I never go to the doctors. I have my hair cut twice a year MAX (and I have to take half a day off for that if I'm not organised enough to bag a Saturday appointment). I can't imagine what it's like to get your nails done or be waxed, tanned, etc..

I buy all my clothes online and if they don't fit then I rarely find time to send them back so I just hang them up and wait til they fit me. I have countless things still with labels on.

As someone else said I do tasks whilst waiting for other tasks - unload dishwasher whilst waiting for kettle to boil etc.

I no longer watch soaps or, indeed, any television. I LOL when I think how many hours I spent playing Farmville pre-DD!

ChicMama so true about SAHM and ironing. My MIL was a SAH and she ironed everything. (She doesn't now because of ill health). Sheets, pillowcases, t-shirts, socks, towels. It's insane. DH said she used to dust and vaccum everyday too.

My own mum worked full time so we never looked "pressed". I ironed my own school uniform, and that's it. I guess that's why I don't have a over-iron habit to break.

ChicMama25 Mon 08-Oct-12 13:25:42

JMO but don't agree with taking holiday to do house admin and stuff.. those 25 days are TOO precious to me! fit it in somehow and save hols for RELAXING STUFF and spending time with your kids <3

SusanneLinder Mon 08-Oct-12 13:54:26

I get up an hour earlier than my youngest daughter so I can get sorted and have ME time before I need to chase her about.

Everyone has chores, and I expect them to be done.

Dinner-slow cooker, or something cooked at weekends and reheated in microwave. Or something with a jar sauce. While dinner is cooking, I tidy round and wield a duster.We have a dishwasher, and just put the plates in at end of day.

Ironing-I really thought I couldnt live without ironing grin.I just DON'T. I fold stuff as it comes out of tumble dryer and hang it up/stick it in drawer. I don't have work shirts to do as my DH is a nurse and irons his own uniform, but my mate sticks her DH's shirts up to Morrisons.£1 a shirt-sorted. Thinking about doing this with DD's blouses smile

And tidy up as you go along-you cant afford not to.

YouSmegHead Mon 08-Oct-12 14:26:04

Way2Go grin

Thanks everyone loads of useful tips in here will not think about much easier it would be with a cleaner and someone to do the ironing

YouSmegHead Mon 08-Oct-12 14:27:11

Btw I am a committed non ironer, incorrectly when I returned to it meant the start of ironing and dd start school [grr]

Xenia Mon 08-Oct-12 14:48:31

(By the way I don't agree only Ocado have good on line shopping. Tesco takes me 10 mins only as we just go into our favourites each time. Very reliable.)

OhDearSpareHeadTwo Mon 08-Oct-12 14:58:53

- Zone cleaning is a good idea, as is having a mini cleaning kit in each room containing everything you need to clean it. Poundland is good for supplies. Do the bigger cleaning jobs on the days you have more time and the quick ones on more pressured days.

- When you have a task on your to do list just DO IT. NOW. Eat that frog !

- Train/bus commutes can be used to catch up on emails, diary planning etc. Likewise I use the trip to MILs when DH drives as an oppotunity to write a shopping list/menu plan etc as it's 40 minutes when I can't do anything else.

- Repack bags when you use the contents so they are always fresh and ready to go

- 10 for a pound at Card Factory. I always have a card available, buy a selection of childish, female, male and neutral.

OhDearSpareHeadTwo Mon 08-Oct-12 15:01:14

And on a beauty front, wearing your hair up saves washing it. I only wash mine once a week, air dry it and it is in very good condition because it doesn't get over-producted/dessicated

Hopefully Mon 08-Oct-12 15:33:55

I am literally taking notes from this thread grin

handbagCrab Mon 08-Oct-12 15:51:37

I think it's a two pronged approach. I think you have to lower your expectations of yourself whilst simultaneously making sure you have less to do in the first place.

So for eg. All ds', dhs, household and most of my washing can go in at 40 and be tumble dried. I buy a lot from m and s because this is the norm for their stuff and primark because it's not the end of the world if something shrinks. I try to buy mixed colour clothes so I don't have to separate washing. This means both me and dh can just shove mixed loads of washing in without having to think about it. I choose clothes that don't need ironing and will only iron for special occasions and probably school shirts when ds is older but I hope for further advancements on the fabric front by then!

We cook simple stuff that requires little prep. If I didn't have a dishwasher we'd eat one pot meals to cut down on washing up. As we do have a dishwasher I don't get stuff that can't be washed in it. My preference is for things that can be baked in the oven as these tend to make less mess than hob food or grilled.

For lunches I find salads quicker to make than sarnies and also like tins of soup and leftovers. If school dinners aren't extorniate I'd use those too.

I employ a cleaner for 2 hours a week. I keep the house tidy by having less stuff, most surfaces are clear. I have one spot in the living room for crud and one spot in the kitchen. I have a toy box downstairs and a laundry bag downstairs to keep ds' stuff from completely taking over. I ruthlessly bin and charity shop stuff that multiplies such as unwanted gifts, disliked clothes and shoes and miniature toiletries.

I have two hair dos for work, down if it looks alright and up if it doesn't. I wash the night before and see how it looks in the morning. I have a simple makeup routine and I keep the products required in one place and separate from extra stuff. I have a drawer in the bedroom with hairspray, deodorant, hairbrushes etc in it so everything I use everyday is in one place. I have an outfit a day for work that lives on one hanger and I get my clothes out the night before.

I keep a calendar on my phone and both me and dh know what each other are doing. Ds doesn't have evening places to be yet.

My absolute minimum is that ds has clean clothes, nappies, wipes, milk, food and clean bottles and eating utensils. Ideally dh and I also have clean clothes, food and clean eating utensils but if we're too tired its dominos out of the box and an early night smile

handbagCrab Mon 08-Oct-12 15:56:37

Oh and I have an electric toothbrush. Whilst its doing it's 2 min cycle I wander round opening curtains, making beds & straightening things.

DottyDot Mon 08-Oct-12 16:09:27

I know not everyone has got the opportunity to do it, but if you can book the odd day to work from home then do - I do a day a month at home and find I can get tons of work done cos it's quiet but can also get stuff done in the house - washing loads on or bits of cleaning in between work. Feels much less stressful and a kind of bonus day!

We also have a card and wrapping paper box - lots of different birthday and occasion cards plus wrapping paper and we've just started to buy a book of 6 stamps with every weekly shop - so Christmas will feel a bit easier. I've done a spreadsheet of all cards to be sent, addresses and who to buy xmas presents for so we can get things ready bit by bit.

I do that, handbagCrab smile I am a firm believer in multitasking in that way, eg in the morning while I wait for the kettle to boil I empty the dishwasher. While I brush my teeth at night I go through the flat picking up toys. While one of us is driving to anywhere we go at the weekend, the other one is typing up the meal plan we're discussing for the week.

Shared google calendar, 'out of milk' shared shopping list, and smartphones... that's mainly how anything gets done!

First one home puts the washing on/switches it into the tumble drier.
Straight onto hangers for less ironing. I don't buy anything that needs ironing for work (can get away with smart knit jersey twinsets or blouses under a suit jacket).

Trouser suit: can wear flats and don't need to worry about tights.

DH irons his work shirts (and the 2 I own that need ironing, the lovely man) on Sunday nights after DS is asleep. I sit sorting clean laundry that doesn't need ironing at the same time, we both watch telly and chat.

We are fortunate to be able to afford a cleaner once a fortnight, who does a very thorough clean of the whole flat. The week in-between we clean the kitchen and bathroom incl. floors, and then wipe/dust surfaces. The hoover doesn't come out and so far not one of our friends seems to care. We certainly don't grin

Amazon delivers all my siblings, nieces and nephews their birthday presents (recurring reminder in gcalendar, 1 week before). Occasionally I will see something like lovely Hannah Anderson dresses on sale for a tenner, and buy one for each of my (6!) nieces in the size I imagine they'll be at Christmas (if in doubt size up, etc) - and then a huge wodge of xmas shopping is done.

I have 2 DSs and buy their clothes a year ahead, size ahead in seasonal sales.
The moment something doesn't fit DS1 it goes into a hamper that, whenfull, goes into the loft (labelled) for DS2. When it doesn't fit DS2 it is out my door within a week - ebay, charity, or chuck.

Streamlining my own wardrobe saves me SO much time: everything in my chest of drawers fits me and can be worn with everything else. I put work clothes to the left and casual stuff to the right. I do have things hanging up or in the loft which I am too fat/thin/pregnant/breastfeeding to wear at the moment but NOT cluttering up my chest of drawers or wardrobe. I plan tomorrow's clothes in advance (don't lay them out, but do know what I'm going to be wearing and that it's clean, where it should be, etc) and honestly couldn't cope at 6am if I had to make clothing decisions!

Same goes for surfaces: I find it hard to keep on top of admin-style paperwork, bills etc, so I try to do everything online or have an hour a week to go through a folder and do it. If something has outlived it's usefulness I get ruthless about chucking it. Clutter steals your time!

I happen to love my hair very short, so it is easy to style. I usually wash it every other day but can go an extra day without it looking bad. Bath at night to wind down sometimes, then skip the shower the next morning.

Both boys have breakfast at daycare, which cuts down on morning stress.

We have a rule that our weekend days are only ever half-chores. So: morning might involve DS1 haircut or new shoes or buying curtains, but afternoon will involve zoo, park, or playdate. Never a full day of errands, it's too soul destroying.

I love having a dog as it's an hour to myself (well, with baby in sling) outside every day with some lovely podcasts cued up on my ipod, but it DOES add to the workload/cut into my sleep.

Take it in turns to sleep late at the weekends.

I do all nights for 1st year (breastfeeding) and DH does all nights after that. Ditto I pump milk at work (America, no mat.leave) and DH does all the bottle filling, washing, and labelling for daycare. Apart from alternate-morning lie-ins on weekdays, we have a policy where if one of us is 'working' (doing bathtime) so is the other one (loading dishwasher). In the early days of parenthood I would walk up to DH and say "Let's do 10 minutes in the kitchen and it'll be done" or "don't sit down yet" or even "why are you standing talking to me while I wash up, and not doing the bloody dinner/packing their daycare bags/making their lunches?" grin Now I don't have to say anything. grin

TheOnlyPersonInTheRoom Mon 08-Oct-12 16:41:54

"Streamlining my own wardrobe saves me SO much time: everything in my chest of drawers fits me and can be worn with everything else"
Please can I hire you blackcurrants? :D

I am serious though - I do need a wardrobe consultant / declutterer / whatever they are called

Want2bSupermum Mon 08-Oct-12 16:50:30

I do the same as blackcurrants with my clothes. Everything is navy, black, grey, white, cream or red. It is amazing how easy it is to put outfits together. Black dress with grey suit jacket is one outfit, another might be a cream jumper with black skirt/trousers and red jacket etc. It isn't that hard and saves so much time/money.

I have to wear a suit for work and look smart. I have found that some of the washable suits are amazing. Wool is best but they need to be drycleaned. I had a service come to the house but it is rather expensive.

TheOnly oh I am NOT good at this stuff- it's really being rigorous with myself and making myself do it, that's the only way! I don't really care about/enjoy clothes that much, so have assembled myself a 'uniform' of easy-to-care-for, good-to-wear clothes that I can wear for work. If something works for me (landsend cardis) I get it in several colours when they've got a sale.

Am a bit scruffier at home (jeans and hoodies, yay!) but basic principle is the same. Nothing that doesn't fit in easy reach.

My body changes SO much with pregnancy, breastfeeding, losing all the weight again - I can't get rid of everything as I'll need it all in 6 months (or whatever) BUT I can put it in underbed/loft storage so I'm not rummaging past it every morning. Plus, the less packed your drawers are, the 'fresher' or more 'pressed' your stylish jersey knit twinset looks grin

Seriously, award yourself a half-day one weekend (while OH takes DC to a film or something) and do a wardrobe audit. make a list, try it on in front of a big mirror and then keep a spreadsheet, and have bin bags ready for loft/charity shop. You'll feel AMAZING!

The blog has some good tips for wardrobe organization.

notcitrus Mon 08-Oct-12 16:59:12

My kids aren't at school yet (reading with interest!) but returning to work after ds, my tips were:
pack everything the night before.
rather than 5x school uniform, have 5x work outfits (working 4 days a week so one in hand), all non-iron
So I could shower, dress, and if needed pick up sleeping ds straight into buggy and take him to nursery.
And good stash of porridge oats, cereal, cafetiere and coffee at work so I could have breakfast there!

MrNC collected ds one evening a week so I could work a bit late to catch up, and go out for dinner or to the theatre or whatever.

Going to be interesting in a couple months with two kids to get to nursery - dd will still be portable into the buggy, but will have to start early just in case of 4yo strops...

Cleaner once a fortnight, internet shop every few weeks delivered between 8-9pm, pick up extra food on the commute or at lunchtime.

Our house was a wreck that we've been slowly doing up, and the pace has really slowed down, but now it's liveable, there's many weekends were we go "could paint that window... or go play with the kids" and the kids usually win. I'm hoping they won't care about the decor until old enough to actually help.

Xenia Mon 08-Oct-12 17:00:03

I wear a uniform in a sense, same clothes at home, same clothes for work things and it works really well as you don't need to spend any time at all thinking about it. I have suppose I have one "outfit". Obviously everyone though has different priorities.

stickercharts Mon 08-Oct-12 18:07:09

Blusher in the car. Put it on at the traffic lights!

stickercharts Mon 08-Oct-12 18:08:47

Oh and try and de-clutter your house and life as much as possible. Clutter is choice.

Astr0naut Mon 08-Oct-12 19:41:25

CLothes all out night before.

Get up at 6. Get Dh to dress kids.

Have breakfast togetehr before nursey; make butties for work whilse they're finishing (make porridge fingers for the baby - thanks mumsnet!)

Clean kitchen and bathroom once a week. FLick wtih a duster if people come round - but they won't, because you're at work.

Stick to a rigid bedtime routine, so at 7pm you can chill/work etc.

Lose some hours. FT was doable with 1 child, but damn near impossible with 2 (I'm a secondary school teacher).

issimma Mon 08-Oct-12 19:47:40

Buy gifts on amazon and get them sent (usually for £0) to the recipient. Saves time shopping, wrapping and queuing in the post office.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 08-Oct-12 19:51:36

I am glad we're not the only family that synchronises their electronic diaries! Even though MiL thinks we are mad to do it, finding out that our work Outlook calendars could talk to each other was a very useful discovery.

I wish I could get away with only a couple of uniforms for DS. Seriously, how? No amount of careful sponging would get rid of the mud /paint / food / pen stains that are on every item of clothing every day...

harrietspy Mon 08-Oct-12 20:08:23

FamiliesShareGerms, we do the sponging thing but still have a stack of uniforms... I couldn't do it with 2 sets per child, no way. Respect to those who can!

freerangelady Mon 08-Oct-12 20:15:55

I'm expecting first dc - I'm scared after reading this thread - I'll never be the organised superwoman you all are....I'll be too busy grumbling that the days of thinking I was
Busy when I only got to watch an hr of tv a night are over!!

Snog Mon 08-Oct-12 20:16:57

Agree amazon prime is your friend!

vor Mon 08-Oct-12 21:17:21

I have just gone back to work full time, after 4 years at home. I must admit I was never a particularly good housewife - bizarrely, I am much better at organising the house now that I am working!

I do think you have to decide which standards are important to uphold (eg. healthy food, getting homework done, having fun, clean loos!) and not worry about the rest (for me, ironing, filing, dusting, making beds)

I have a cleaning service come once a week - I have a small budget, so it isn't a perfect clean, but gets to the most important parts (eg.loos and bath, floors)

Things that are working for me to keep calm and more organised than come naturally:
- strict morning routine, no coming downstairs until fully dressed, breakfast at the table, dishwasher always dealt with
- lunches made the night before and kept simple so they only take 5 min to prepare
- eat lunch at my desk and use lunch break to go for a walk to refresh or pick up groceries/do chores
- set nights for household / family chores eg. laundry on Wed and Sat; quick hoover on Thurs night, major tidy on Sunday, homework on Friday afternoon and Sunday morning (luckily DS gets all of his at once and then has the week to finish)
- folders for each member of the family with forms, letters, admin, jobs that need to be done (it can be hard to stay on top of all the stuff from school)
- batch cooking

We're a house that doesn't iron (almost!). The DCs uniforms are acrylic jumpers, polo shirts and the usual school grey stuff that you can wash, shake, hang to dry and wear (I might iron the shirts once a term if they've become a bit curly) I wear suits with knit tops or dresses, so just a visit to the dry cleaners. DP used to iron his own shirts, but found an ironing service that pick up, iron and drop off for £15 a fortnight.

vor Mon 08-Oct-12 21:18:40

oh and forgot to add, we use google calendar to keep up to date on all work and school and fun diary dates, especially useful as DP travels a lot for work

Somermummy1 Mon 08-Oct-12 21:20:41

Oh i love this thread already!

DS (aged 4) just started school. DD (15 months) at nursery. Me just gone back to work FT from PT last week. DH very good but only if told EXACTLY what to do other wise seems to lose all ability to think for self

By 8.30 I'm like a screaming banshee as DS who is perfectly capable of getting self dressed has started wearing school trousers backwards and somehow getting entire body through pants leg hole and has shirt on back to front...................

Seriously though ......I can make sandwiches and freeze them?????

vor Mon 08-Oct-12 22:17:21

Freezing sandwiches is a bit of a family joke here - one year DP's parents decided to fill a whole chest freezer with sandwiches for their 5 boys (talking late '70s here), spent a whole week on the task, made enough for months. The boys were a street smart bunch who quickly worked out how to dig the best ones out, eventually leaving the marmite sandwiches that no-one wanted to eat....

off to make a packed lunch now....

LadyLetch Mon 08-Oct-12 23:53:45

I would say my two tips are...

1. Lower your standards - it really doesn't matter if the house isn't all that tidy, or you haven't ironed the school jumpers. Do what is manageable and forget the rest.

2. Make your children self - sufficient. I think when you are a SAHM it can be easier just to do everything for your children, but this isn't possible when you're working. So now, my children (8 and 5) are perfectly capable of: getting up, getting themselves dressed (clothes laid out the night before), getting their own breakfast, take their bowls out, cleaning their teeth, brushing their hair, grabbing their bags and leaving. Pretty much we get up and get ourselves ready to go. If they do all this on time, they get a sticker for the sticker chart. And mostly, they do... I'm usually the one that's overslept and is running late! But life is so much easier when you have only got to worry about getting yourself ready, when your children are trained, they can sort themselves out grin.

YouSmegHead Tue 09-Oct-12 05:51:53

Somermummy1 ditto my mornings grin

ChicMama25 Tue 09-Oct-12 07:30:35

FamiliesShareGerms how do you get your work outlook calendars to talk to each other? can you link them so you can see each others?

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 08:04:28

Can someone help me do labels from Outlook for my Xmas cards, btw? Every year I try, and every year it goes horribly wrong ....!

CMOTDibbler Tue 09-Oct-12 08:55:12

Chicmama - just add the other person as an attendee to any events you create and then it will send them an appointment.

Boffinmum - in my Outlook, go into contacts, Actions, Mail merge, and select labels. I haven't tried it though !

DonaAna Tue 09-Oct-12 09:54:00

I've asked all my senior colleagues about how they survived the small children years and simultaneously got promoted at work. The answer was always cleaner and a housekeeper / au pair and a flexible spouse who does his share.

I'm spending a significant sum each month on outsourcing the housework. Worth every penny.

overthemill Tue 09-Oct-12 09:54:37

boffinmum where did you get your moleskine A6 concertina folder from??

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 09:55:43

I am working from an oldish version of Outlook, so that doesn't work. I managed to persuade it to do some sort of merge in the past but ended up with random labels everywhere. Or the same label everywhere.

I need a PA, I really do.

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 09:56:13

Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts gift shop!

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 10:00:19

It is a fine art, and sometimes goes wrong but this is my approach:

1. DH gets home from work earlier than me, so I drop off to the CM, he picks up.
2. DC baths are alternated between us, so neither one is doing the bathing every night, ditto with cooking dinner.
3. Meal plan for the week and get a slow cooker, it is a god send.
4. Clothes are laid out the night before, my bag irs organised night before and DH's lunchf or work is made too.
5. Party invites/event letters etc are on the front of the fridge so we can see whats on that week.
6. I allocate 3 hours on a Sunday to blitx the house, so during the week it's 'upkeep' like laundry, run the hoover round etc, Bedsheets always changed on a sunday.
7. My hair is always washed the night before, it takes up too much time in the mornings.
8. DISHWASHER! - 'nuff said.

bacon Tue 09-Oct-12 12:19:13

I'm self employed here and its a busy busy farm with other business so long hours and stress.

I agree with whats already said but my tumble dryer was a godsend. You iron very little, the clothes are softer and you can sort out the pants, socks into seperate piles.

As for a cleaner, again, agree if you can find someone who is reliable and cleans properly then its a help but my place is dusty and grubby after 2 days of a cleaner coming over so realistically I would need her twice a week but cant justify or afford that.

Dont bath the kids everynight, just isnt necessary when young, it seems a waste of hot water and time. Once a week plus a shower at the swimming pool after lessons. My kids dont smell or look grubby - use a flannel instead.

Big freezer, buy meat in bulk ie meat box, chickens etc. Buy bread in large amounts and freeze. Batch cook as much as possible.

Wall calender in kitchen, magnets notes on fridge.

Think plenty of mums are lucky if they have the luxury of weekends together with the OH. If so then it should be easy to find hours to catch up while OH takes the kids out. Use grandparents more (I do find mine are very selfish with helping out).

Training the kids is great but that depends on their age mine arnt old enough yet.

Hullygully Tue 09-Oct-12 12:22:16

Isn't it all just so grim?

bacon Tue 09-Oct-12 12:28:55

Think places like the 'Card Warehouse' sell great greetings cards for the money 29p - 99p. I tend to buy a bundle - I buy a mix of childrens, adults and ages cards. You can also have the odd congrats/sympathy cards and at the price they sell them its perfect. Also a few rolls of male/female wrapping paper usually mega cheap. I have a bag of gifts in the wardrobe that I collect of the year like lego books, torches, modelling clay etc which are great for the kids parties.

DottyDot Tue 09-Oct-12 12:30:27

No time to be grim - grim would be no job and no money. At least working f/t and very little money = no time and therefore no time to think about how bloody tiring it all is... grin

Second the use of the tumbledrier. I live somewhere where washing freezes on the line 4 months of the year and rots on the line 2 months of the year (welcome to sunny new jersey!) and our flat is too small for enough clothes horses. I use them sometimes and for some things, but in general, remove wash from machine, chuck in drier, remove from drier (straight to hangers if work shirts) - sort, fold, done. it makes it a one-night task rather than lingering, which helps me feel like it's DONE. Bad for environment, good for my sanity. Much like my eventual caving to disposable nappies, alas! Not enough hours in the day.

issimma Tue 09-Oct-12 13:12:13

Am another tumble fan. Whenever I use the washing line, everything gets rained on or spidery.
Am about to book a cleaner (thanks thread grin).

Shit, I don't even work - but do have a toddler and am 33 weeks upduffed <self-justifies>.

Every one should have a cleaner. We don't go out, don't spend much on ourselves, but the cleaner is a luxury that is thoroughly justified.

My cleaner has a cleaner (well, she says her mum does it).

Cleaners are brilliant.

TheOnlyPersonInTheRoom Tue 09-Oct-12 13:42:50

So many great tips on this thread -how do I go about finding a cleaner? Am going to tumble more, we generate our own leccy so it's free anyway. Will def set up online shop. Decluttering at the weekend can't bloody wait!

We only bath DD on alternate nights and one of us gets in with her. We also alternate bedtime feed whilst other tidies, loads dishwasher etc.

A minor thing that helps me is a large mirror in lounge with good lighting - I can do my work make-up in it whilst keeping an eye on DD.

issimma Tue 09-Oct-12 13:53:57

Dd has 3 baths a week, and a nightly rub down with a flannel - face, hands and feet (she's 20mo).

stepjo Tue 09-Oct-12 13:54:06

Get an awesome OH grin

sheeesh Tue 09-Oct-12 13:56:45

This does all sound terribly middle class.

DP and I work FT, have 2 DCs and we manage fine! Yes we make sure we plan and prepare but I'm really surprised by the amount of effort it seems to take to just live your life!

I wonder what % time is spent planning and whether all this planning / updating calendars / syncing phones etc etc actually produces a return on time invested.

Sounds like planning for the sake of planning

And if all the work is outsourced - how can you still be so busy??? confused

higgle Tue 09-Oct-12 14:06:51

Mandy 21 ( if you are still here) No - ironing. I can't get it down to no ironing at all but childrens stuff is ok if you fold it straight out of the tumble drier and the load is not too big to start with. I wear smart clothes but never a blouse - jersey tops with suits can be tumbledried. Lots of my dresses and workwear can be washed, but not officialy tumble dried, so i line dry them until nearly dry and finish off for 10 minutes on a low heat to take any creases out.

Smart office shirts are the only thing that gets ironed in my house and DH does those himself.

Xenia Tue 09-Oct-12 14:13:39

I don't think it's middle class to be organised although I agree that many people simply will never earn enough to hire a cleaner. Some people lead very disorganised lives or they and their partner just prefer things like that lurch from disaster to disaster and live in a messy house - some love it, that's how they are made and that's fine. The ideal is to find a balance you can live with depending on your personality.

We have one paper calendarin the kitchen which people glance at each morning to see what is on - music lesson, games kit, after school club or whatever. That at the moment is quicker than everyone having things into electronic diaries and works for us. Just find what works for you. I certainly think it helps children to have somwhere they can loom at to see what is going on when. We also put out school notes which say things like tomorrow is a trip and you need to bring a packed lunch and everyone tries to remind everyohne else so that things aren't forgotten.

No it's not all horrible nad over busy now chidlre are over. The organisation means you get as children age much much more leisure time. Now my youngest are 13 it's all a complete picnic compared to having under 5s.

Some people male and female will bke in a state and a flap if they have one dental appointment on that day and no work and nothing else. Other people will be running BP and a family the size of mine with thousands of things on and be fine. I think the calmness comes from your own personality, getting enough sleep and good food and positive thoughts. It does not necessarily flow from the kind of life you are leading.

bonceaswell Tue 09-Oct-12 14:24:10

Here's my wishlist:
- cleaner
- gardener
- handyman
- on-tap babysitting
- secretary
- car mechanic
- large private income wink

And the reality ...
- single mother
- a slightly disabled and messy 10 year old who clearly still believes in the washing/dishes/pick clothes off the floor/money/homework fairy
- full time work
- commute daily right across to the other side of london
- no cleaner, gardener, handyman, babysitter (but childminder for pick-up)
- massive overdraft shock

But never mind, I'll grin and bear it! grin wine

MLWfirsttimemum Tue 09-Oct-12 14:24:28

Getting a cleaner is absolutely vital, absolutely, but doing a weekly food plan and an on-line shop has revolutionised our lives. I also do most of our clothes shopping on-line at the beginning of each season.

Also, making sure the house is tidy every night makes me feel organised but doesn't take a long time (since we do it every day, and don't wait until there are heaps of stuff around, which would make me stressed anyway).

I also try to work from home one day a week and get extra stuff done then. If I am really stretched I bring paperwork to work with me and do it in the lunch hour.

And agree with a short commute - my commute is 30 mins door to door, we could live somewhere lovely in the countryside but have decided its better to be home quickly so we have more time with the DCs.

DH has to do his own ironing, I do my own and the children's (limited). As a rule I try to avoid buying stuff that needs to be ironed.

Must adopt the sandwhich-freezing approach!

ProphetOfDoom Tue 09-Oct-12 14:24:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Xenia Tue 09-Oct-12 14:30:24

On the entrepreneurs and women who earn £1k a day thread there will be suggestions of the 4 hour working week and how to find something where you own, you run the business and you decide the hours. I certainly have found working for myself even if I do work a lot of hours at times is much much easier than working for someone else's profit.

sheeesh Tue 09-Oct-12 14:38:36

To be fair - yes, I have picked up some useful points from this thread.

Some posts, however, have made me feel almost claustrophobic.

I genuinely wonder whether some people create more "busy-ness" in their lives than is absolutely necessary.

GuernseyFamily Tue 09-Oct-12 15:27:31

I send my 2 x DC (age 7 & 11) to school on a Monday with every bag of kit they need for the week (Saves thinking on a daily basis which kit they need on which day) & they get the school / public bus (saves me a fortune in fuel)

Everything gets ironed on a Saturday & hung in everyones wardrobe for the week. We all clean the house together on a Saturday morning whilst listening to music(before footy/hockey etc) otherwise no pocket money for DC.

We're on Economy12 so dishwasher & washing machine goes on at 9pm every night & emptied by DH & myself at 5.45am whilst the kettle is boiling on the aga. Clothes all hung above aga to dry whilst at work.

DH & DD shower in the eveinings, me & DS shower in the am. We all leave the house at 7.30am

Packed lunches are done & put in fridge for next day whilst cooking evening meal. No tv is allowed for DC Sun eve to & inc Thu eve. (no time anyway due to homework / after school activities etc)

A3 month view calander / family planner on wall & alarm reminders set on my phone for everything!!

I still end up shouting & screaming in the mornings but they love me!!

ItMustBeSaturday Tue 09-Oct-12 16:00:12

I find shared electronic calendar absolutely invaluable - you only have to set it up once and then it runs itself, adding an entry is really easy, just as quick as writing on a paper diary/calendar, with 2 massive advantages over it.

Both dh and I can check what's on it means we don't double book - if either is asked to do something out of regular working hours I mean - and the blessed, blessed reminders means that we don't forget things.

I do also have a year planner on the study wall, it's really handy for seeing at a glance when there's a busy period coming up.

Proudnscary Tue 09-Oct-12 17:07:08


ShoopShoop Tue 09-Oct-12 17:30:34

I feel for you OP. I went back to work full time in April. DH also works full time. Things that work for us are:

- lay out all DD's clothes at the weekend, for the week ahead. (only 14 months old so easy to do and doesn't take up much space!)

- hang up my work outfits for the forthcoming week in order, in my wardrobe. DH looks after himself grin

- cook all meals for the week at the weekend and freeze in portions. I have a white board on my kitchen wall where I plan out what we're having each day...I also use this as a basis for my shopping list

- I do three or four loads of washing at the weekend, none in the week. Lights, darks, sheets, towels.

- I do all my ironing on a Sunday night with a glass of wine grin and watching countryfile

- I clean one room / area per night in the week, I then don't have masses to do at the weekend, and the whole house stays reasonable presentable

- DH makes his own lunch in the morning whilst looking after DD when I'm getting ready

- I make my lunch while he is getting ready....i.e. done in shifts! DD is fed at nursery so I don't have to worry about that.

However, I still run around like a headless chicken before leaving the house every day.....there is definitely room for improvement!! And if we go away for a weekend somewhere, everything goes to pot and it's chaos for the following week while I get back on track!!

Good luck!

ithinkimightbegoingmad Tue 09-Oct-12 17:32:13

I kind of agree with sheesh a bit...I opened the thread because i am a LP working with 2 dcs in 2 different childcare locations; i am generally run-ragged and thought the answer to all my woes may lie here....

how are you alls still so run ragged if you have cleaners and nannies??! shock

it makes me realise that the struggling is all in vain! Doesnt matter how organised you get, because even if you have someone doing the work for you it is still a struggle!! confused grin

i do get everything ready the night before-packed lunches, clothes, bags, shoes, drink, bikes with tyres pumped, helmets, waterproofs...all lined up at the door

shopping delivery once a week

dont iron, or often put clothes away....or hoover...never dust blush Spend a lot of time out of the house so it doesn't matter...or keep light dim, so you don't notice smile

LFCisTarkaDahl Tue 09-Oct-12 17:32:48

Don't iron

Clean 2 hours a week (adults and older children, do it together)

Play with each other

ithinkimightbegoingmad Tue 09-Oct-12 17:34:51

and what proudnscary said grin
and lots of chocolate cake helps too

GuernseyFamily Tue 09-Oct-12 17:40:53

proudnscary I love your way....I might just start doing that instead! wink

maryquant Tue 09-Oct-12 17:46:23

If you can afford a cleaner fair enough but I would rather spend the money on gin and nice bags.

Everything goes on the calendar plus a large desk diary so I can plan ahead.

Night before all clothes laid out get radio weather forecast.
so you can plan your own clothes- watching the tv one gets you distracted.

Fill school bags and your work bag

Do as much of the lunch box as you can- frozen sandwiches are a step too far for me.

Have a tumble dryer- speeds up the whole washing process

A load of washing every day.

Shop on line or try to do a mon thly shop for dry goods cleaning goods pet food need good storage for this .

Send DH to supermarket with DCs saturday am giving you time to whizz round house work.

Yea to wine

BrianButterfield Tue 09-Oct-12 17:49:42

After DS's bath each weeknight I do a trawl of the laundry baskets and put on a load if needed. It goes on airers before bed and is dry by the time we get in the next day. Stops laundry building up and up and no need to tumble dry.

Ds has lunch at nursery so DH and I take microwave meals, leftovers or cartons of soup to work. No 'packed lunches', they're too time-consuming to make.

Eat out every Friday, easy meals in the week.

Admit what you will and won't do. I always nod sagely at "batch cook and freeze" but I know that actually I will never do this. I don't mind making a big Sunday dinner so it does Monday's tea as well, though.

issimma Tue 09-Oct-12 19:08:37

Use frozen garlic, ginger, onion and chillis for cooking. Tastes the same in stews and curries, but saves time.

YouSmegHead Tue 09-Oct-12 19:17:07

ithinkimightbegoingmad so basically you are doing all this and still feel like there should be a better way?

WideAwakeMum Tue 09-Oct-12 20:29:09

Great tips here. I iron nothing, here's how:

Banana Republic non-iron blouses - properly smart for work, decent fabric (and I am a fabric snob!) and really are non-iron if out of washing machine onto hanger.

M&S non-iron school shirts for DDs - brilliant!

DP does his own and only a couple to do each week as he also has decent non-iron variety

I never buy anything that looks like it might need ironing - won't buy linen etc. Don't see the point of ironing tee shirts, socks and all those types of things. Tend to feel a bit sorry for people who do...

ithinkimightbegoingmad Tue 09-Oct-12 20:39:47

yes smeg definitely...i feel like i'm doing it wrong confused Its so relentless. Repetitive routines to this extent really repel me. I like its taken me aloooong time to get organised; and it does make life less stressful. Sometimes though, the repetitiveness and organisation gets all to much and I dont get organised the night before and opt for the morning stress instead

Maybe it is less of a bind/bore if you enjoy routines....confused

ithinkimightbegoingmad Tue 09-Oct-12 20:40:57

and smeg i hae always thought that a cleaner is the answer...this thread says otherwise i think

ithink I might be a wee bit into routines, but they free up some space for spontaneity, imo - if I know I've got all the cleaning/laundry/whatever done, I'm free to take DS to the zoo, or to look at the trains, or off to marvel at a local construction site (thrills to a 2 year old!) - my working week is all about making sure the weekend isn't endless chores and rushing to keep up.

Also, I suspect it is different for different ages. Right now I'm pg with a 2 year old. Perhaps when I've got a 6 and 8 year old I'll be all "riiight, everyone tidy up then we can go out for pizza! woo!" on a school night, but at the moment the children aren't helping and DH and I are knackered...

I think it would be a lot, lot worse without a cleaner. I think she probably gives us about 5 hours of free time each weekend by coming every other wednesday - and I bloody LOVE her! smile

ithinkimightbegoingmad Tue 09-Oct-12 21:20:41

YY blackcurrants i completely does free up time for spontaneity...that is what me so long to come to terms with (dumbass emoticon)

but sometimes the amount of time it frees up isn't worth the time spent getting organised (i don't think i can convey quite how much i hate routine!)

Also, I don't want to get out the tiny violin, but when you are a LP you know you have to do it all, ALL THE i think sometimes it maybe feels more insurmountable than if you have a DP picking up some of the chores? maybe not...i dont have the washing and clearing up which comes with that extra person in the house...maybe it evens out...

issimma Tue 09-Oct-12 21:22:33

I have time, but like blackcurrants am getting ready for 2 under 2, and am absolutely knackered. DH is crazy busy at work so also worn out. Anything that frees up time away from domestic labour for fun is worth it grin.

issimma Tue 09-Oct-12 21:22:58

time or energy, I mean.

TheOnlyPersonInTheRoom Tue 09-Oct-12 21:31:34

[is slightly in love with blackcurrants] bit concerned you're pregnant with a 2 year old though. That is seriously asking for inducement.

ithink - ooh you're right there. I often think the hardest part of being a LP must be feeling that it's always, always, always down to you. Stupid things like, if DS is ill I love having DH there so I can say: more calpol? Should we call the doctor? It's not that I can't make that decision on my own - I can and I have - it's that I'm not on my own when I make it. It must be bloody hard, I can't fully express my admiration for all LPs!

I like routines, and they work for me. They get rid of that panic: wait, did I miss a doctor's appointment? Wait, are we out of nappies? Wait... what just happened? I like feeling in control. Obv. if you feel they're stifling then it won't work for you!

Routines also get rid of having to make it up on the spot when knackered. If I've planned for spag bol, bought the ingredients for spag bol, and (even better) made spag bol in advance and have it in the freezer, we don't all roll in starving at 6pm with a stropping toddler who's demanding biscuits and then open the fridge and think "I have to decide what we're having for dinner and I don't have a brain cell left." - That sense of not having enough impetus at the end of the day was what drove me to meal planning. One of the nice things about meal planning too is it gives me just enough 'safe spontenaeity' - like, I'll get home and think: no, don't fancy spag bol but did also make thai sweet chilli chicken - really fancy that, so let's have thursday night's dinner tonight.... and I can, because I've planned enough to have it all in the house.

theonly grin and shock Gosh, DS was 9lb and 21 inches - 27 months ago... so the idea of a 2 year old ... oowwwwwch

ooooooouuuuuuch grin

ok if I laugh any more I may just wee. and it'll be YOUR fault!

Lavenderhoney Tue 09-Oct-12 21:40:43

I am a sahm and work from home. Dh works all day and at night and is away a lot. I have a dd who is at home with me and a ds at school. Great tips on heresmile

Meal planning
No online shopping where I live so one massive big shop then fresh stuff once a week.
Cleaning- dh has time with dcs and I do big clean weekends. Otherwise as I go. No ironing unless vital ie don't buy stuff that needs ironing.

Tidy time once a day, dcs pitch in. They love itsmile

Work- iPhone / iPad at toddler groups and at night when in bed. Otherwise totally ignore housework as am looking after dd.

Once a week- beauty night, admin night, housework night, catch up with friends night, home fitness DVD night etc.

Once a week meeting with dh to update him on family stuffsmile

Every night- glass of wine with dh to discuss family issues and dc.

Enjoyed a book called how to walk in high heels- v usefulsmile

Xenia Tue 09-Oct-12 22:04:07

Nother useful tip is always ensure you get as many business trips away as your other half to ensure equality in the marriage and so that both of you are equally competent at not just helping but being in charge. Also if they have time to play with children at weekends you have the same time they do and when you are playing with them he is cleaning. In other words achieving that equity and fairness in the relationship can be the key to managing at all. Never take on more burden than he has and always be more than happy to assume he will be tons better than yuou are at cleaning, holding a screamnig baby for 3 hours at 2am and washing baby clothes. That ability to have faith that your other half is great at those things ( was more than happy myself to assume he would well exceed me) makes for a lovely relaxed life leaving the other half to do at least half that kind of thing.

ithinkimightbegoingmad Tue 09-Oct-12 22:08:58

ive been thinking about this thread whilst doing some bloody chores hmm

and what actually keeps me sane (so in answer to the OP) is;

remembering that I am really really lucky to have my lovely happy healthy kids; remembering Im lucky to have had a good education and have a professional job which I enjoy; appreciating that dd1 loves school and dd2 loves nursery; enjoying my bike ride to work; chatting abstract nonsense with my favourite colleague (you have to find a good friend at work IMO); sometimes thinking fuck-it and having cheese sandwiches and popcorn on the sofa for tea with the kids whilst watching a film and going to bed too late; sometimes letting everyone have chocolate cake for breakfast; sometimes being late for work/leaving work early/take a day off mid-week to chill. And remember to catch yourself whilst hurrying the kids home/through tea/to bed/out of bed/out of the door/to school/home again....and breath....and smile...

sheeesh Tue 09-Oct-12 22:43:26

ithinkimightbegoingmad lovely post

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 22:43:39
ithinkimightbegoingmad Tue 09-Oct-12 22:55:57

see see SEEEE!....that makes me hyperventilate boffin!! grin

ithinkimightbegoingmad Tue 09-Oct-12 22:58:20

but...on the subject of breakfast...i send my kids to breakfast clubs (they love it!) so that saves a headache

i get up at 6am and eat my breakfast in peace before the mayhem starts (although means i am ready for 2nd breakfast by 10am!)

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 23:01:12

I still can't chuffing well do labels. Three degrees and labels defeat me. wink

Soopermum1 Tue 09-Oct-12 23:09:20

When cooking dinner make up sandwiches and sort out tomorrow's dinner (e.g take whatever out of the freezer)

Adjust expectations of nice dinners. Quick but healthy should be your mantra. Beans and or egg on toast is no problem for a hungry child if you're in a hurry. Ditto frozen veg with whatever you can throw together.

Batch cook and freeze when you're in the mood.

Deal with things as and when you find them. Money for school, letters to be signed etc get dealt with immediately and popped back in school bag.

As DS is now older he sorts himself out in the mornings and gets his uniform sorted the night before. Army style discipline imposed in the mornings (often shouting involved- he'll learn one day)

When DS was a baby, I sorted him first, new nappy, got him dressed, heated up a bottle and popped him in his high chair to enjoy while I whizzed around. He watched a lot of Noddy, but needs must.

When I get home I resist flopping out on the sofa and get straight on with what needs done, time for relaxing is later.

Well, DD is only 3yo and not at school but DH and I work FT (I've been back 3 days/week since DD was 7mo, then 4 days/week and finally FT for the last 18mo).

- I only iron my stuff (and the odd thing of DDs), DH does all his own ironing.

- We have a washer/dryer with a timer, so I set it to run right through (wash & dry) during the day when I'm at work. That way it's ready to put away as soon as I come in, usually still warm! In fact, I do this with bedding so no need to fold and put away, just put straight back on the bed blush

- We have two wash baskets (lights & colours) so I know DH isn't going to put a red sock in with the whites. If it's not in the basket it isn't washed. I don't pick washing up off the floor!

- I made a printable shopping list with tick boxes that I print out and stick on the fridge. Tick items when they're used up, remove & take to supermarket. Only buy what you need and no time needed to make a list. I shop on the way home from work, while DH gets DD and does her tea.

- Slow cooker and meal planning. Plus having something quick for emergencies in the freezer. Pasta bake is a staple - virtually no prep so you can get on with something else while it's cooking.

- We try to all eat the same meal, so we eat early with DD and then have more time in the evening to do bits & pieces around the house.

- Buy cleaning wipes. I keep a pack in the bathroom and wipe around toilet/sink etc while DD is in the bath.

- I use the hoover for everything... it has attachments for dusting surfaces as well as reaching up to the ceiling, doing lampshades etc. In fact I hoover our kitchen floor and laminate in the lounge regularly but mop infrequently. A bit yucky maybe but TBH we're busy! If it looks clean then it's probably fine!

- Pay people to do jobs you're honestly not going to have time to do. I would have painted our house, but paid a lovely man not much money really, to do it in a day. Sorted out a long overdue job in much less time than it would have taken us. Know your limits.

Whistleforit Tue 09-Oct-12 23:25:55

Loads of brilliant stuff on here. FT with 2dds, I find the hair/dentist/clothes stuff hard to fit in. Trying new approach on wardrobe... Instead of buying and returning/failing to rtn stuff online (am crap shopper) I add up what i'd spend monthly and go shopping with a list and a friend twice a year. It takes some £ flex, a willing friend and the best part of a day but bloody love not thinking about it in between. Less guilt as is budgeted for not impulse rubbish - and can decide what matters in advance - ie avoiding ironing & dry cleaning. I might even look a bit less haphazard if you ignore the baby sick. And leaky norks.

Want2bSupermum Tue 09-Oct-12 23:32:10

Boffin The ones from Cash are long enough that you can fold it in half and only sew in one edge. Takes so much less time.

Want2bSupermum Tue 09-Oct-12 23:36:22

hair - get your hairdresser to come to you. When I was working she wld stop by on her way into work on a saturday. I was ready with wet hair for 7.30am. I was done by 8.15 - cleanup et al. She got $100 for her troubles which saved me as the salan charged me $125 plus tip of $25.

I am marking my place as am going to show DH this thread later. I work 5days a week and am out of the house 11hrs on average, plus another 4-6 hrs of work in the evenings and weekends - With a 2.5 yr old I struggle to keep my head above water - although I do most of the things on here, have done flylady etc, if it were just me and DD the house would be fine and we would be pretty organised I think.

I need to show him as I want him to see what other DH's do - tonight I have had to pick up things in the kitchen from his dinner, put his dirty washing in the basket in our bedroom (there since Sunday), do all washing up (including his few bits he dumped in the sink to leave in dirty water till tomorrow or whenever I do the washing up) put washing on, tidy, put away stuff generally, do work emails, sort DD's stuff for tomorrow...he went to bed at 10, I am now having my chill out time. I got in at nearly 7 - this is the first time I have 'stopped'.

Granted he has had a lot on at work and only got in at 8:30 after leaving the house at 6, so I am cutting him some slack - but it is a change of mindset I need from him - just picking up his bloody mess after himself. I have tried leaving his stuff - it just sits there. He will eventually do it if I nag enough, but then it takes an age on the weekend - which is time he should be spending with me and DD. Currently there is a mountain of stuff on the stairs. I haven't looked, but I bet he has just stepped over it on his way up. He would literally have to scale three steps to do this, but the thought of actually taking it upstairs and putting it away would not occur to him.

I hate feeling like a bloody nag - he knows this but just will not stop leaving shit everywhere.

We have a cleaner coming tomorrow to give us a quote - 2 hrs a week I think we can afford. I have told him he needs to help tidy up the night before, put stuff away, so she can clean. I will spend one or two days of my holiday then doing the bigger jobs (teacher).

Wonder how many men would have this conversation - I spend my life organising the men around me - at work, home, everywhere.....

Sorry OP, hijack...feel a bit better though..

Bumblequeen Tue 09-Oct-12 23:49:32

Do a load of washing every other day/every day depending on how many in your family

Assign a task to each evening so your weekend does not consist of doing housework

Keep everything, I mean everything in its place. It is easy to keep an item out when it is regularly used, however it can lead to a chaotic house.

Encourage dc to pack their toys away

Put clothes out the night before

Pack work/school/nursery bag the night before - no last minute searching for travel card/umbrella/wallet

Do not allow letters to pile up- open and file them

Bulk cook- saves time and money

Dh and I both work f/t. It is far easier to keep the house tidy when you are all out for 8-10 hours per day. On the weekends you barely see the living room carpet as dd has her toys out!

Bumblequeen Tue 09-Oct-12 23:58:08

Use a diary-manual and electronic to log birthdays, appointments, occasions. This will help you to plan ahead and ensure you do not double book.

ithinkimightbegoingmad Wed 10-Oct-12 00:10:57

or use a sharpie boffin and supermum confused

labels??? <mutter mutter>

missmakesstuff that's outrageous. I hope your DH gets a right kick up the jacksie some useful tips from this thread. It's not just unfair to expect your partner to either pick up after you or agree to live in squalor, it's disrespectful and it's a bloody killer to one's sex life. I had a bf who didn't do his share ... the romance fizzled out verrry fast. One of the sexist things about DH (and it's a long list!) is that I know he hates housework as much as I do, but he doesn't expect me to do his half of it, he takes responsibility for keeping this house in a reasonable state for our family, just as I do. Which is what grownups do. Sexxxy grownups. smile

oops, that should read "one of the sexiest things about DH" - ... is that he isn't sexist! Now, where's the terrible typos thread?

Ohhelpohnoitsa Wed 10-Oct-12 01:49:55

I am going to be very positive as I have returned ft and pt on different occasions. I can honestly say that I was far more organised when ft. you just cope. Also try to avoid thinking of your situationsthat arise as long term - for instance if your los are young and need lots of one to one, then get your ironing, shirts laudered or whatever helps you, done at a local laundry. its not expensive. we did it for about ten months and now find time to do it ourselves. we cant believe we ever took it now, but at that time we had to. Similarly as xenia said, if you can get a neighbour teen to come and play with your dcs, that could be your cleaning time. i set the alarm o my phone and only allow myself about ten mins in each room to do a top to bottom clean - it stopz me from meandering (which i am VERY good at) - you know, "oh I'll just go through this drawer and tidy it" or "mmm a pile of magazines i need to flick through to see which to keep" etc. if if is winter and cold, I often call in the sains local or tesco express on my way to work when i have 5 mins to spare. agree with online shop, easy meal once or twice (my dcs love soup & a pudding night). keep a cotton dressing gown over your suit til you leave the house if dcs are very young. i havd been known to drive with my heated rollers in and whip them out when stuck in traffic - this is a real time saver to me. if you get stuff delivered agree a "safe place" with your sorting office so parcels can be left and you dont. end up having to go to the sorting. office every Saturday. when meal planning, try to get two days from one meal e. g. we have chicken dinner one night, then i bo up the carcass add the left over chicken and noodles and veg for chicken noodle soup the next nighg. or i do extra veg and have it with a steak pie or something the next night. when you sort things, it makes you feel smug........ until the dcs change and then your routine has to too.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Wed 10-Oct-12 01:55:01

boil up the carcass..... not bo!

Want2bSupermum Wed 10-Oct-12 02:58:49

missmakes Don't worry I have been there. I wrote a list of everything I did and everything that he did. I then asked him to take some of my chores and do to them as I couldn't do everything. It doesn't matter what time you both finish and return home. Stuff has to get done and your relationship won't survive if you are doing the lions share of work in the house. It gets dull fast and it ages you due to the stress.

The chore list still sits on the fridge door and sometimes I print out a clean copy if DH isn't pulling his weight. He might be working 45 hours a week, studying for 20 but it doesn't mean he can't pull his weight around the house, especially when I am working more hours than him.

Want2bSupermum Wed 10-Oct-12 03:01:35

Do show him this thread. Since you made the decision to go back to work he needs to support that decision that you made (you as in a collective 'you'). If not, then he needs to be able to make up for the lost income and the sense of satisfaction that you get from having a career. Also, how would he feel if his DD was being treated this way by her future DH?

Hope no-one minds but I've asked MNHQ to put this thread somewhere it won't disappear - its so useful and I think people need to be able to refer back to it forever! (at least I know I do)

Thanks everyone for spending the time to share tips.

BoffinMum Wed 10-Oct-12 07:02:54

Christmas card address labels!

I can do name tapes. Recently even bought a label making machine <anal> have labelled half the contents of my house in sheet joy <need to get out more emoticon>

TallulahTwinkle Wed 10-Oct-12 07:17:55

Am marking my place to read this thread (and take copious notes!) tonight. Thanks everyone smile

reastie Wed 10-Oct-12 07:39:31

OK, so everyone here is so much more organised than me and I didn't feel like I was doing too badly blush . I do things like batch cook a big bolognese for Sunday dinner and then keep it going for a few days - things like one day spag bol, the next add some chilli powder and kidney beans and have with rice for chilli con carne, the next maybe stick it in an oven dish with some pre rolled puff pastry on top for a pie. You can also make very quickly a scone dough and roll it in balls and place on top of the mince in an oven dish and you get a lovely cobbler. Things like pre prepared veg/salad or frozen veg are great for dinners in a hurry.

I get everything ready the night before including my packed lunch to take to work. I even lay out my breakfast things on the kitchen worksurface to save fumbling in cupboards in a hurry and have the kettle pre filled with the amount of water I need to make a tea in the morning so all I have to do it flick the swicth. It's little things like that.

I admit I do struggle with cleaning. I do vacuuming maybe every other day downstairs - a quick whizz around whilst DH baths DD, as it gets so messy so quickly.

Oh, and we never iron everything, just hang up and fold very very carefully, but then we don't have things like shirts to iron as DH doesn't wear suits to work.

TheOnlyPersonInTheRoom Wed 10-Oct-12 10:11:34

I'm confused - When people say they hang their washing on hangers straight out of the washer to dry nicely, where do you hang them? I could maybe fit 2 things in the shower and one thing per radiator but they'd take an age to dry!

CMOTDibbler Wed 10-Oct-12 10:38:40

I've got a Hangaway and an X wing airer which take loads of stuff, then a dehumidifier to take the damp out of the air around them. I can dry 3 or 4 loads of washing overnight this way. I am a bit evangelical about the dehumidifier tbh.

A mobile hairdresser is fab - the one I use is the best cut I have ever got, he charges me £20, and he comes in the evening, so I'm not wasting weekends having boring haircuts in a noisy salon. I do my own shellac nails now, which saves time and money.

DH worries about all these things too btw - although theres lots of days when he's out on site till all hours, when I'm away for work he deals with everything. He sorts a babysitter if he needs one, shuffles meetings into time schedules that work, cooks, shops etc. Its the agreement in our house - when we decided to have a child I was always going to be working and its always meant travelling, so he knew what we were doing.

GoblinGold Wed 10-Oct-12 10:55:46

Can we put this in classics? I don't want it to go phuttt!

ChicMama25 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:48:06

ithinkimightbegoingmad I agree it is depressing when 100% of your time is accounted for but I look at it as an investment as I get more senior at work and as my DD grows up it will get easier I hope (I cant afford a cleaner atm either and run around like a headless chicken just doing the minimum)

I don't have 1 single second spare time in the week but I make sure I have at least 1 morning or afternoon at the weekend to do what I want and QT with my OH and DD. I've accepted that I wont get leisure time even to read or anything in the week. Last night though I had wine and danced round the kitchen with DD while we were on hold to the elec company on speakerphone while she did homework and we ate dinner and that was quite fun. you cant change the situation but you can change yorur attitude x

ithinkimightbegoingmad Wed 10-Oct-12 12:02:00

you cant change the situation but you can change your attitude x

^ this is the key to happiness! smile

ithinkimightbegoingmad Wed 10-Oct-12 12:04:07

they will be grown and gone before you know it...then we will all be longing for some of the madness and mayhem to return

I also look around at some of the people I know who are lonely and sad and bored and am thankful

< damn I'm cheesey! grin>

Yep - even in the middle of noooooooo, mummy, nooooo coat, noooo, mine, no,nononono [kick, flail, fall to the ground overwhelmed by suggestion of putting coat on for nice outing to park] - even then I think: I am so very, very lucky.

[with extra cheese]


Xenia Wed 10-Oct-12 14:10:25

Chic, it gets hugely easier and reading this thread reminds me how it is with little children and how much spare time there is when they are huge 13 year olds. Womern and men just have to stick on in there.

I do think sexism can play a big role. Someone mentioned name tapes. Last school I had no involvement with name tapes. Their father did them or found someone to sew them on. Nothing to do with me. Not he helping me but he 100% responsible for naming school uniform. you don't need a degree in sewing to do that whether you are male or female.

I agree about the attitude change. I always thinkn change what you can and make the best of what you can't but don't moan.

I love this thread.

I work 4 days but v.long, so not much time for anything else on working days. I realise from this thread that I thought I was organised but I must improve!

My tips:

I have a dodo pad diary that I love as there's loads of room to staple invites, school newsletters etc to the pages and make notes that i must not forget. MThis makes me feel organised as I always have it with me and gives peace of mind.

I can't get into batch cooking (can't be @rsed by the time the weekend arrives) but I do menu plan so I know what needs to be done. DS2 gets up ridiculously early so I have started preparing evening meal at 5.30am.

I do have a cleaner once a week which is a godsend.

I try not to put anything off. Homework is done by DS1 on the night he gets it with a refresher on the morning it is due in. Birthday invites replied to as soon as received.

I do struggle with remembering birthdays as work / life takes over and i just can't get to the shop or post office.

aelinora Wed 10-Oct-12 17:10:18

1. Cleaner - I thought I couldn't afford this, but somehow I did and now I can't imagine life without one! 2 hours on a Friday, £15, bliss.

2. Iron for the week on Sunday night, have clothes ready the night before. Don't iron PJs or bedding or undies but I find having it all ironed and neat saves me time in the long run finding things.

3. Be strict about what actually needs to get washed - DS wears the same uniform for 2 days unless it's filthy ;-) Don't just put things automatically in the washing basket.

3. School dinners for DS, hot lunch at work in microwave for me and DH means I only have to put supper together when we get in at 6.30.

4. Bags and coats and shoes have proper homes and get put ready for the next day as soon as we get in.

5. Always wash up. Be ruthless with clutter. Never go to bed with the place in a mess however tired you are.

6. Shortest possible commute.

7. I use a timer for stuff - it makes me do it and keeps us on track - i.e. we have to fit piano practice in, so I'll just say right we're doing it now and put the timer on for 15 minutes and get stuff done.

8. Plan meals so you know what you're having. Do supermarket shop online and have it delivered.

9. I send DH and DS downstairs to have brekkie etc while I make the beds and sort the bathroom in the morning, get myself dressed and then bring their clothes down with me - seems to work the best!

We both work really full full time (i always have, DH used to be house husband but works now) and DS is 5 and goes to school and then after school club til 6... I don't know how people do it with multiple kids though - I am running at full stretch!

ithinkimightbegoingmad Wed 10-Oct-12 17:12:58

re remembering birthdays....for family and good friends i compensate for never remembering blush by sending random presents throughout year, when i see something they will doesnt like an unexpected gift? and it means they get something good/relevant instead of some crap i have bought last minute

amazon is a godsend...can get it delivered straight to them, to avoid having to wrap and go to PO...they do a gift wrap service for a few extra quid

aelinora Wed 10-Oct-12 17:15:14

Oh and I put all the birthdays into Moonpig so it reminds me to send a card and I can do it from my desk at work!

ChicMama25 Wed 10-Oct-12 17:16:34

moaning (to others or in your head) actually makes YOU feel worse (I speak as a reformed complainer)

renaldo Wed 10-Oct-12 17:24:12

Amazon prime and a John Lewis account ( both on iPhone) mean you can present shop , buy uniform , music books costumes etc anytime you have a free moment and they are delivered the next day -

aelinora Wed 10-Oct-12 17:32:00

And finally - get the biggest and best clothes airer that money can buy! You need to be able to get a whole load on it with nothing touching - I have one that is just massive and flat (like a table shape if that makes sense) so everything is hanging straight down and it has changed my life ;-)

Blackberryinoperative Wed 10-Oct-12 17:33:01

Can I just peep in here to say I have been back at work for three weeks and I am


Just love being organised, never wandering aimlessly around the house looking at ever growing washing piles and trying to amuse darling baby dd2. Watching e clock tick by until school finished.

I go to bed at nine, absolutely knackered, but I feel so much more like ME now I'm back at work. Actually dreading half term!

At work, I'm treated as a person, have actual conversations and coffee and cake whenever I want too often

My top tips are, everything ready and put in bags/car the night before. Lunches in fridge, clothes hung in bathroom (I leave very early in morning and DH does school run so I dress in bathroom to avoid waking anyone). I do my makeup when I get to work as there is nobody there to scare when I get there in the morning. I shop quickly after school when I only have one child with me and no buggy and it's done in an hour. I usually cook tea for monday night on Sunday and so on and so forth. Quick teas (freezer stuff, beans or egg on toast) kill no one and my family actually prefer it sometimes. When cooking stew or cottage pie I always make two and freeze one. I also take leftovers to work for lunch.
Because I get up before DH and kids, I lay breakfast things ready for them, makes life a bit simpler in the morning. Apart from that things we are failing on is paperwork etc but hey, I've only been back to work three weeks and we are moving house in two weeks, we will improve I'm sure. Oh, and I haven't hoovered or polished for over a month and I couldn't give a shit and you can't tell! Kitchen and bathroom I clean as I go, wash clothes twice a week and beds when they need it. My standards are always quite low but everyone thinks my house is lovely!

I bumped into a mate who has given up work in the supermarket today and she looked so lost, so aimless, I just glowed inside because I love my job!

Ask me in a month I will probably hate it again!

Blackberryinoperative Wed 10-Oct-12 17:35:33

Oh yes chic mamma, moaning to others def makes me feel like shit so I try not to do it now. Except when it comes to the subject of DH, then I'm happy to moan away....

Xenia Wed 10-Oct-12 17:39:15

We have always had 2 clothes airers. When we had three in cloth nappies at night circa 1988 (I have had nearly 28 years of practice at all this stuff) it was essential - although in those days their father did 100% of the washing and I'm not srue I knew how to use the machine although I did other jobs. To his credit he was also very good at suggesting plans eg his idea that we put the washer and dishwasher on every morning so the daily nanny who looked after the 3 children could empty it really helped or the cleaner when we could afford one worked well as it meant we were not left to empty it all and put it away.

I remain of the view that the worst thing of all is lack of sleep. None of our five slept well at all. The oldest now at age 28 still hardly sleeps. We had a child waking and often a baby up for hours most nights for years. When we were richer I remember taking the twin babies to the gym on Saturday aftenroons to go into the creche for 2 hours and I used to have a sauna and then sleep for an hour on a bed outside the sauna and then read the papers. Those 2 hours most of which was just sleep whilst the twins genuinely had a really lovely time were so important. on the other hand with other chilren the idea we might be able to afford a gym would have been laughable. you just have to adapt to your own situation.

Good to see Blackberry loves her job. Far too many men and women seem to hate their lives and work which is such a shame.

Those younger than I am, ie everyone on the thread - can take heart that recent studies have shown men and women are at their happiest between 50 and 70 years of age so you can take it from me that things will only get better and better and better.

BoffinMum Wed 10-Oct-12 17:50:45

I recently discovered the virtues of a Sheila Maid clothes airer. Loads fits on those things, and it's up in the air out of the way while it dries.

Because of DD's wet eczema, I used disposables in the 1980s, unlike Xenia, but they weren't as efficient as disposables now, and they leaked a lot, so I think we all did a lot more washing in those days. Washing machines were crap as well, as they broke down all the time. Now they are usually a lot more reliable.

I am lucky, I suppose, because all mine have slept at least adequately and some actually rather well, so that has helped a lot. We are very strict on bedtime routines though - not fascistic, just very consistent.

OliviaLMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Oct-12 17:54:17

Hi there
We have moved this thread out of chat so it doesn't disappear.
It can probably going in lots of places but we think "going back to work" topic is a good one

Nikadebika Wed 10-Oct-12 17:55:44

I've had to work FT since DS was a tiny sprog, so what I really need is a wife... But failing that, I have a few tips. Firstly, if you make packed lunches, don't bother with sandwiches. Give 'em a couple of ready-cooked chicken drumsticks wrapped in foil with a few cherry tomatoes thrown in. My DS loves them. Doddle. Secondly, if you cook something like a curry or a casserole at weekends, make double and freeze it. You'll soon have an impressive stock of home-cooked ready meals at your disposal for those nights when the ping of a microwave is music to your weary ears. Thirdly, do your grocery shopping online and get a cleaner who irons if you can possibly afford it. Lastly, don't be a skivvy. Don't let the rest of the family assume that everything is your job. You have a job, thank you very much...

GoblinGold Wed 10-Oct-12 18:16:47

Thanks Olivia

zzzexhaustedzzz Wed 10-Oct-12 20:14:34

RancerDoo on p.1 has a diary with a column for everyone. Now, that I need! Ideas where I can get one/ something like? I need 4 columns! And as portable as possible as I am a car-less luddite (yet to pass a driving test) who walks/ bikes everywhere.

Zz - search dodo pad. A work colleague had one and I copied. It had 4 columns.

Re: birthdays - i am creating a John Lewis account and I am going to join moonpig tonight!

YouSmegHead Wed 10-Oct-12 20:42:06

Thanks OliviaLMumsnet grin

Shaky Wed 10-Oct-12 20:47:44

Frozen mash, frozen chopped onion.

I LOVE the idea of spaghetti Bol pie!

Soz8 Wed 10-Oct-12 21:02:49

Things that help us:
- Putting out clothes
- Organising bags etc
- Make lunches the night before
- A lovely cleaning lady for 2 hours a week
- Daily washing
- Food shopping delivered
- Share the organisation of our little boy in the evening and at night
- Have some time to chill before bed

feralgirl Wed 10-Oct-12 21:09:42

I work FT (teacher, so extra work in evenings too), DH is just PT so he is the 'housewife'. We can't afford a cleaner, although when we did have one it didn't make a huge amount of difference tbh. We manage by doing the following:

Bathroom gets cleaned once a week, hoovering and dusting ditto, kitchen given proper clean weekly too. So long as the house isn't too minging then I can cope. Any major jobs and a decent clean happen every six weeks when I'm on holiday.

Shop online (Asda and Approved Food)

DS and I make bread and a cake or biscuits every weekend that gets portioned and frozen for his lunches.

Bags, breakfast and clothes all laid out the night before.

I don't iron. Ever. DH's work uniform is all designed to not need it. DS not old enough to need school uniform but wen he is I will buy him non-iron shirts from M&S (this is where DH works so we get a discount). DD as the odd dress that needs ironing but I just hang them up and they dry OK.

We have the most expensive washing machine that we could afford and it has a mad spin cycle that gets things nearly dry and a huge drum for extra big loads.

I am conditioning DS (3) to put stuff in the laundry basket. He will clean up after DD and me without asking now which saves me a job!

molliemol Wed 10-Oct-12 21:11:07

I work ft, have four dc and dh works overseas- he is away for about 3 months at a time. I do laundry every day, sometimes twice, and then put on radiator or tumble dry. Tumble dryer is on all the time. Ready chopped veg and ready grated cheese save a bit of time. My house is run to mitary level in the morning- there is no time for anyone to be late for anything. Bath for dc in the evening where possible. Treats- important for all the family- dc and you. Good luck with the return to work.

feralgirl Wed 10-Oct-12 21:12:36

Oh yes. I buy everything online. All birthday presents delivered straight to recipients whose addresses are stored in Amazon.

And I have just discovered online postage from the post office too. This has revolutionised my life.

MtnBikeChick Wed 10-Oct-12 21:59:33

This is a long post...but this is what is working for me. Outsourcing is the name of the game!

1. Get a good, reliable cleaner. Get said cleaner to come twice a week. I live in a 4 bed house and ours comes 3 hours Monday, 3 hours Friday.

2. Cleaner does all laundry and ironing. This is NOT the time to be fussy about someone else seeing your pants.

3. Get three large drawstring bags labeled shirts, dry cleaning and handwash. Then you know you can deal with your delicate things yourself. Get work shirts collected by local dry cleaner/laundry person (we live in SE London and have amazing dry cleaners who collect between 8 and 10pm at night and drop off again the following night. Tonight I rang them at 7:15 and they arrived 20mins later (for free)).

4. Never go to a supermarket. Use online grocery shopping service (tesco, ocado, etc). Get a regular delivery slot (Ocado delivery pass is fab) and have it delivered same time each week WHEN YOUR CLEANER IS HERE. Cleaner puts away all food and writes down if she see things running low.

5. Get cleaner to do changes of bed linen on a regular basis.

6. Wash your hair at night.

7. Make sure clothes (you and kids) are ready the night before, handbag by buggy/front door, etc.

8. Coats/bag for nursery hanging on buggy.

9. Keys in front door last thing at night so not dashing around like loon in morning.

10. Get a 12/31 diary like this: - I read about this in a really good book called "Time Management For Manic Mums". Basically, as soon as you receive anything (post, bit of paper from nursery, school, wedding invite, etc), you deal with it. If you will need it again on a day that month (e.g. you write a check and it is being collected by someone on 25th Oct) - slot it into the 25 page of the diary. If you receive a wedding invite for November 30th, complete the RSVP immediately and stick the invitation into the "November" slot. Then, on 1st of the next month, bring all the "November" stuff forward into its correct 1-31 slot. The CHECK IT EVERY NIGHT - so you can see if there is anything in it you need the following day.

11. Check out BBC Good Food for handy quick and easy dinner recipes to knock up after kids in bed, or stock your freezer now and again. Get your husband to cook dinner a few nights of the week.

12. Bulk buy a job lot of greetings cards, envelopes, wrapping paper. Put them all in a box with pens, scissors and sellotape. Do all your birthday cards at the start of the month, and then use a bring forward diary described at 10 above.

13. Get a mobile beautician/hairdresser who can come to your home after kids in bed to do hair/nails/wax etc, if you like/need that kind of thing (who doesn't??)

13. If you want to be able to do some exercise try and factor it into journey to work...walk to the nursery/.school drop off and then the station. Take running kit and invest in a good running backpack so you can run home all or part the way. In London, it is often quicker!!

14. Breathe. Try to enjoy your time at home. Your house won't be immaculate, but who cares? You'll have clean bathrooms, food in fridge, clean beds and clothes to wear. You won't always remember everything all the time, but no one is going to die as a result. Spend the time you have after you dash home from work reading with your kids, ignoring the blackberry, phone...and enjoy the weekends. There will ALWAYS be things to do...sometimes you just have to remember not to sweat the small stuff.

aelinora Wed 10-Oct-12 22:11:06

Can I just say how much better I feel reading how many others have a cleaner! And another vote here for pre-chopped onions and frozen roasties! My main bit of advice is that there is no way for it to be 'easy' - you have to be on top of it all the time, but much more fun life if you use your energy and time the right way round so you are getting a good smooth and enjoyable busy ride rather than an equally hard work but chaotic and grumpy one! Does that make any kind of sense? Lol... Time for bed.

Oh and also on that note - make time to have sex, it's generally worth it ;-)

Shaky Wed 10-Oct-12 22:52:54

I want a cleaner! Maybe if I had one I might have time to have some sex! You may just have helped me persuade dh, thank you! X

Shaky Wed 10-Oct-12 23:06:02

My military routine consists of starting work at 8.30 ish so I can leave at 4.30 ish.

I get home, chuck something in the oven for ds tea, make his juice ready and put it on the table. Start running the bath with hot water only, get his pjs and vest and put them in the bathroom. Get changed out of work uniform, turn off bath, get tea out of oven. Get his cutlery etc laid out on table.

Go get ds, all the essential jobs are done, tea may reheating in the microwave, but it means ds and I can spend more quality time together because I'm not running around like a loon, I do that BEFORE he gets home. It works for me, an extra 15 minutes in nursery means a much easier evening for everyone.

We have lovely tea, bath, bed routine because I do the bulk of it before I pick him up.

aelinora Wed 10-Oct-12 23:16:53

I have always made it very clear how erotic I find it when DH does the ironing...

I remember thinking one day standing outside the house on Friday after work thinking if someone said to me right now, if you give me £15 you can walk into a clean and shiny house and get on with enjoying the weekend, what would I do? That clinched it for me...

Leena49 Thu 11-Oct-12 06:31:45

Both ft teachers. Get up in good time. Make cuppa for dh. Empty dishwasher at same time. Sort uniform. School letters. Make packed lunch. Strict routine for kids. Breakfast. Sort laundry bits. Dinner money.
Drop youngest at breakfast club.
Return home ( we take it in turns to collect , swap child care with another parent, use after school clubs) tidy, do laundry, make dinner.
Leave big cleaning till the weekend.
Military operation during week. Weekend chill mostly.

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Thu 11-Oct-12 07:22:16

Loads of good tips here.

I agree about making sure your DP does his fair share of the work. And not just ad hoc 'can you do this' but 100percenty responsibility for half the tasks. Don't put up with some schmuck sitting helpless on the sofa whilst you rush about like a whirling dervish in charge of everything. It took me a long time to work that one out. Or secondly leave the bastard. Everything is a lot easier when you are single anyway.

Let your children be independent from earlier than you think. Dd was quite young when she took responsibility for herself - she was 10 when she started riding her bike to school on her own, around the same age when she started cooking etc. Give them some responsibility for a household task, they live in the house as well so they can do some family chores. If they go to extra curricular activities let them make their own way there. If they want to go to a nearby city on the train let them. They will grow up to be self sufficient.

I do iron but only my own stuff.

Meal plan, and eat out a few nights a week so saves on cooking 7 days a week which is a pain.

School dinners are easier than lunches and probably cost around the same.

Throw away everything. I hate clutter as it just sits there and makes the house look a state. If you don't have to move piles of stuff before you mop the floor it will make it quicker and easier to clean.

Live in a house with no garden or lawns or shrubs. I would rather live in a flat than have to do gardening or pay a fortune for a gardener!

You don't need to drop your standards but you mustnt take responsibility for everything and be a martyr. You will build a huge head of resentment and be knackered all the time.

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Thu 11-Oct-12 07:32:16

Terrible spelling etc in that post blush

BoffinMum Thu 11-Oct-12 07:56:05

I have the manager of a local commercial cleaning company come in for two hours a week in a personal capacity. He has loads of gadgets used for office cleaning that he can deploy on my house, which means he gets through loads in the time.

BoffinMum Thu 11-Oct-12 07:59:05

The person that delivers healthy packed lunches to children at school for less that the cost of school dinners will surely make their fortune.

naughtymummy Thu 11-Oct-12 08:01:54

I don't work ft (24 hrs a week +2 hr commute)But I do have a housekeeper. As well as cleaning she will cook very well and is happy to hold the fort childcare wise in a crisis. She is a star . We also have a sex life smile

overthemill Thu 11-Oct-12 08:55:02

naughtymummy - with the housekeeper??? grin

MLWfirsttimemum Thu 11-Oct-12 09:54:30


Who's your dry cleaner? And your mobile beautician???

reastie Thu 11-Oct-12 09:57:53

Housekeepers???? Cleaners????? Mobile beauticians?????? <misty eyed daydream look>

Xenia Thu 11-Oct-12 12:00:20

Ther eis a bit of a moral to the tale - if teenage girls research and pick well paid careers and continue to work full time then they can afford (some of them) cleaners or whatever else they choose. It is something to talk to teenage girls about before they pick careers.

However what people's income level I think the basics are the same - make sure your other half does as much as you do; have a calendar with everything on whether electronic or otherwise; get things ready the night before; drop those things that aren't important to you - I never iron, I'd haev to be paid to enter a shop or use a beautician for that matter - I'd rather watch paint dry - actually I suppose that's what you do pay for if someone "does your nails" watch paint dry.. but pick what is important and make the best of life because you can be pretty sure most men and women would be much much more miserable if their sole role were being a housewife and there are loads of people in the UK at present who would almost kill to get any kind of job, even to pain someone's nails or clean her or his house.

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Thu 11-Oct-12 13:32:53

And to all those people juggling work and young kids - this is the hardest it will be. It is seriously a lot, lot easier when you have teenagers, you end up with great big chunks of free time and because you have put in the spade work of planning and organisation when you had young children everything seems to run easily.

Teenagers cost a lot more money though, but that's another thread.

PepeLePew Thu 11-Oct-12 13:45:58

Divorce husband and get a good au pair - it wasn't part of my life plan but my life is 100% more organised even though I now work five days a week

Assuming that won't work...

No clutter - everything has a place and nothing is superfluous.

The dcs help, and now do it without promoting. dd, at 8, can make everyone scrambled egg on toast and put on a load of washing. Even the littlest, at 4, makes his bed. Not well, but getting better.
Online everything - bills, banking, shopping. I can do an Ocado shop in ten minutes while I am waiting for a meeting to start.
Have a robust support network - neighbours, a good and reliable handyman, a great cleaner, trustworthy mechanic.
Cycle to work - good thinking time and means I don't have to find time
to exercise.
Pare down wardrobe so everything matches and is good to go - nothing I don't wear, nothing with holes in.
Plan ahead - easier to look for a new insurance quote with time
to spare than to wait until the night before it's due.

I'd love another three hours in the day. I'm only ever one cock up away from disaster and that's being reasonably organised, well paid (obviously helps) and having quite a flexible's hard, no doubt about it.

ladydayblues Thu 11-Oct-12 13:50:15

I had a mobile hairdresser for yonks! He came at time convenient to me and had 6 heads to trim and style. He is still coming over even though its just me left now.

I just cant understand anyone wasting time on ironing. Wash, smooth, fold or hang up. Put in piles according to owners, put on appropriate bed for owners to put away. I have never ever ironed in 31 years! The day child starts Secondary school introduce them to washing machine and dont look back!

My dad did all the ironing in my parents house simply because my mum pointed out that was the only way his zillion shirts would ever get done. She never ironed.

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Thu 11-Oct-12 13:51:54

I must say that although it sounds terrible cynical but I think having a DP makes things a lot harder.

I was single (as in living alone) from dd's birth until she was about 7 and am single again now she is 16 and I have always been a lot happier and calmer when in control of my own house. Which begs the question why have a great big lubbocking bloke around in the first place? They make work.

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Thu 11-Oct-12 13:54:53

I iron what I am wearing that day - it takes 5 minutes to iron a top or a dress. I don't see the point of ironing everything in the laundry basket in great 2 hour long strsteches, it would make me despair.

Dispense with breakfast as well. Have never eaten breakfast except on special occasions and it is 7 less meals to think about a week and the associated dishes and mess etc. DD used to eat breakfast at breakfast club, but now is like me and doesn't bother to eat until lunchtime.

roofergirl Thu 11-Oct-12 13:57:03

re Ironing Mandy 21. I tumble dry stuff so I don't iron. Kids school uniforms barely crumple cos there's that many man made fibres in. Shirts can be dried on hangers and are never seen as they're under their jumpers. Dh's shirts just dry on a hanger. DON'T IRON!!

bigkidsdidit Thu 11-Oct-12 14:05:09

I just cut all my hair off into a pixie cut and life is much simpler now - wash, comb, done.

I take a day's annual leave once a month but keep DS at his childminder and do tons of house jobs (also stuff like photos in albums etc) as I get loads more holiday than DH.

oscarwilde Thu 11-Oct-12 15:37:04

Gave up at page 4 - but lots of useful stuff by then. I too have a nanny and a cleaner so don't do my own ironing and our nanny makes most of the DC food, but I grew up in a v big family with no outside help so my tips are:

Give everyone their own chores [there is nothing worse as a child than being on the receiving end of an endlessly stressed and grumpy parent - at least if it was as a result of something you were soley responsible for, then fair enough]
Allocate daily and weekend chores - we had to contribute to the big weekend clean up but could choose to do it between 3pm Friday and 6pm Saturday which is enough of a window for most kids to work in around their activities/lie-in's. Pocket money (if any) was delivered following inspection.
All kids/adults should be responsible for ironing their own school shirts if required by 2nd level education. They'll be playing with bunsen burners at school ffs and everyone needs to learn to iron at some stage. It might not be to your standard but at some point their peers will take the p#ss and they'll do it properly.
FGS don't batch cook at the weekend - making two meals a day is enough. Just meal plan and cook huge portions when you have an evening when you are making a big meal casseroles/lasagnes/spag bol etc
Throw more stuff out or at least threaten to. My dad had a 24 hr bin for random crap that we didn't put away. He threw detritus he found into it and emptied it every evening so we learned pretty fast to check it before he got in from work and make sure we weren't about to lose something precious to us.
Recycle toys/games. Put 50% in a box somewhere inaccessible and lock them away for 1 month. Alternate. It's like having new stuff every other month - particularly effective with computer games and stuff with tons of bits like lego/sylvanian families. Plus much less stuff to tidy on a monthly basis.

ThatBintAgain Thu 11-Oct-12 15:57:56

I have a lovley friend with a child in the same class as mine who texts me to remind me things that are going on at school, because she knows that 1) I am scatty and 2) the kids rarely bring home the letters so am left clueless 90% of the time.

Doshusallie Thu 11-Oct-12 18:24:44

Lay out (and iron if necessary) all clothes, mine, and both dss. Dh is a builder thank god so wears what he dropped in the floor the day before.

Put a wash on every morning, load wet washing into porch, dh puts in tumble drier in garage.

Load dishwasher night before, empty it in morning.

Send ironing out.

Have a cleaner once a week.

Check school bags as soon as they are home for homework which they do immediately, and get reading books out, and deal with letters/school trip admin there and then and put dates on calendar and reminders on whiteboard.

It's carnage but so far so good. I quite enjoy the chaos tbh. Imagine what you would do with all that spare time if the kids weren't around !!

dils Thu 11-Oct-12 18:26:58

Short cuts and making do with a lick and a promise, as my mum would say.
How to get away with less ironing. Having just stopped FT work after 12 years as a working mum, it really does seem to me it's about doing the minimum but thinking through what the minimum really is.
School Shirts - get 6 non iron, cheap as possible. Keep one well ironed for school photo, assembly readings etc. the rest, hang up neatly on a hanger as they come out of the machine. When they look sort of grey and shabby,dis guard and recycle.
Your smart work shirts - similar in a way, could you manage with a few bright white high Lycra tshirts to wear under your jacket? You get a neat line, no gaping buttons, and if you find one you like, get three-one on, one in the wash, one only worn for those important meetings. These also look respectable if hung up straight from the wash.similarly keep a couple of mega smart ironed shirts for meetings, presentations etc.DH, irons his own, or send out 6 only a week- so you build up a stock of emergency pristine shirts and make him wear tshirts at the week end!
Can also wax lyrical about dirt avoidance-no time to clean, stop things getting that dirty. Shoes off at front door for all family and visiting children, no food anywhere in the house other than the table, without a plate and a baby wipe or kitchen towel.Liberal use of daily shower spray on tiles and bath as well as the shower screen. If you don't like the chemicals, try Method.

We have had cleaners for years and then been without, depending on cash. Personally, I put cleaning help above a couple of bottles of wine in the week,but it all depends

Good luck, it does get easier as you get slicker with your planning but be aware you will probably never get a day's holiday just to hang out with friend or for Christmas shopping for years!

clippityclop Thu 11-Oct-12 19:21:37

Agree with making sure kids are trained to be organised people ie pick up after themselves, keep floors and surfaces clear, homework done night given, bags uniform night before, make sure notes from school are dealt with, written on central calendar straight after school. For me cooking for the week on one day, cooking double and freezing vital. Cleaner is not (we have an extra city break instead) And what's so hard about ironing? I do six shirts for DH, outfits for me, and about three sets of uniform for DDs in half an hour or so.

nkf Thu 11-Oct-12 19:30:47

Slow cooker.
Drop your standards massively.
Make kids tidy up.
Deep freeze pasta sauces.
Online shopping.

flapjacks Thu 11-Oct-12 21:18:05

Mandy21 I never iron & I get round this by taking clothes out of the machine as soon as the programme has finished, & then hang everything out to dry straightaway. If the weather is inclement (i.e. piddling down) then I put shirts / blouses on hangers & other stuff (T-shirts, jeans etc) on a clothes horse. I also buy "non-iron" clothes wherever possible as this really does help!

bionicmummy Thu 11-Oct-12 22:59:33

cleaner = lifesaver.
Also local ironing company, email them, arrange pick up, get it back next day.

(I don't get how people do not do any ironing. Doesn't clothes look awful if you don't iron them? I hate ironing btw)

Online grocery/clothes shopping.

Vibrating machine - so you're not struggling to find time to go to the gym - use it and watch telly/boss dd around etc

GPs to do childcare

Family organiser

TeaMakesItToTheTop Thu 11-Oct-12 23:55:30

Lots of brilliant advice on here .... Thanks. DH and I both work F/T. 4DS. No nanny but do have a weekly cleaner.

I buy presents and cards in bulk for kids parties.

Each boy has a list of things they need for each school day in their room to check

They pack their own stuff - including 2yo. They have rules for things like home econ - recipe with me by Sunday or no guarantee of ingredients.

I haven't ironed in 12 years even though we both have senior officey corporatey jobs - a jacket hides much and frocks are a godsend.

Food ... Sandwiches frozen for lunches, school dinners. Breakfast - they do their own - including 2yo. Weekday meals - we have eight healthy quick meals we rustle up on weeknights. Not much variety but needs must.

Kids can't play on their games util they've done homework. They are incentivised to be self sufficient and get on with the boring stuff with their sports, pocket money and the like.

I stay away 2 nights a week so every night i'm around has a thing/job to keep us on track.

Shower in evening.

Mufti days, school trips, all in office diary with appropriate reminders.

School fairs etc. I have been known to pass off the odd purchased cake as my own by icing it!

But best of all is having a DH who gets on with it.

Feck me, i just read this back, I'm organised and I didn't realise it! It feels like I lurch from one thing to another. I guess it's a case of "smile and wave" and everyone mucking in though

TeaMakesItToTheTop Thu 11-Oct-12 23:57:11

Oh and each child has a hook that that school info goes on!

Want2bSupermum Fri 12-Oct-12 00:25:02

So I am very excited to be returning FT. I got the job and it is a really good one with an amazing employer. I told them I am 6 months pregnant and they didn't even flinch. Their repsonse was 'We are in this for the long term so let us know what time you need off and if you need us to save you a spot at the office daycare.' OMG!

smile That's brilliant, Want2 - congratulations!

wildwestapplepie Fri 12-Oct-12 03:07:14

OMG you people, some of you make me feel like a true amateur. I work full time and my husband as well, but he works evenings, so even though he does not mind working around the house and most days cooks our dinner or bakes bread, I still end up by myself after work with my three kids, homeworks, dishes, laundry, cleaning, sometimes cooking and baking. You know, stuff. I believe that I am doing a good job although I am "loosing" it most of the time. However, I am not nearly as organized as some of you are. Great job you are doing.

wildwestapplepie Fri 12-Oct-12 04:37:16

I never iron although I do own one. The other day I took it out and one of my kids looked at it puzzled: "what is this, mom?" The thing is, I own a dryer. Take the cloths out as soon as it is done and hang everything that might get wrinkled if folded. Works better than ironing.

BoffinMum Fri 12-Oct-12 07:55:33

FWIW I went on strike last year for a few months as the others had got so lazy. The house was minging. But it made my point very well and they all bucked up a bit..

Thorpster Fri 12-Oct-12 09:54:12

Hi Mandy21 I keep ironing down to a minimum by smoothing out on the table after tumble drying or even after coming off the line. I don't iron uniform shirts especially now they're wearing jumpers.
Hanging shirts up also helps to drop the creases out. I'm lucky I don't have to be super smart at work so I can do stretchy tops instead of shirts.
Hope that helps.

Thorpster Fri 12-Oct-12 10:04:49

Family meetings are a Godsend. They only need to be for 5 minutes but just going through the upcoming week and checking for outings, parties, etc.
keeps everyone in the loop and up to speed.
Also it's a good habit to have so that when something big comes up you're used to sitting down as a family and talking it through.

We also have clip boards for school notices, clubs and invitations aswell as a clipboard for each childs homework.

My aim is to run the house like a 5* hotel not as in luxury but as efficiently as I can manage, routine and systems aren't sexy but they work. Also if everything is on automatic pilot there is more time for spontaneity and fun.

TheOnlyPersonInTheRoom Fri 12-Oct-12 10:14:16

So I took the day off today to spend it batch-cooking, organising my wardrobe into outfits and ready-to-wear stuff, Internet shop and get on top of admin - basically follow all the tips in this thread.

And guess what? DD is ill and staying home.

Gah. I just can't catch a break!

Xenia Fri 12-Oct-12 10:53:34

And one key to it is never as a woman run that house. Men as much as women can take charge of elements - once you move to equal sharing even if there is division of roles eg he buys all food and cooks it and washes up and you do the washing or vice versa it is much easier.

MrsBaggins Fri 12-Oct-12 11:02:01

Totally agree with that Xenia
Baffled as to why some women do everything(unless you are a LP)
Best tip of all - divide chores by number of able people in household wink

tourdefrance Fri 12-Oct-12 12:38:54

We do a lot of these already. I would add - train the kids to stay in bed (or at least in their bedroom) until mum/dad comes in to get them up in the morning. This means on weekdays I can go and put porridge in the microwave, add banana and put in their places and its waiting for them when they come down and about the right temperature. I don't intend to still be doing this when they're 16 but with a 5 and 2 year old its a lot easier to do without their help. At the weekend, DP may go down and whip up a batch of muffins or waffles before he gets them up. And we can have a cup of coffee in peace in the morning and wake up slowly rather than having to deal with the kids wants immediately.

Also second getting them to do basic stuff. My two know to take shoes off when they get in, put clothes in the washing basket before the bath and the eldest can put his clothes away, set the table, help clear the table and hang up coat and bag on his peg when he gets in. I'd be interested in any other suggestions for jobs that could be their responsibility.

oscarwilde Fri 12-Oct-12 12:46:18

Sweeping the hall and kitchen floor, even better if you can produce a dustbuster to hoover up all the detritus grin

southeastlondonmum Fri 12-Oct-12 14:42:31

Work ft hours in a nine day fortnight arrangement which means that life is very compressed and I contractually have to pick work up at home. DH also does nine day fortnight ( on alternate weeks). Both of us in senior(me)/ quite senior roles(DH)
Great advice here but apart from all the obvious ;
Kick DP/ DH in to touch if you have one. I can't say it's totally equal as presents/ parties/ Christmas falls to me but it's as good as I can get it. He is totally able to care for our child. Makes a massive difference.
Be really nice to people which is hard when you are knackered! Our cleaner gets paid holiday/ Xmas gifts etc and she has stuck with us for years and always is very reliable/ goes the extra mile doing little jobs etc. I met my hairdresser in a salon years back and after I hurt my back he started to come to my house. It was cheaper but when he hit hard times after being made redundant I gave him a bit extra. He wasn't expecting it but I do appreciate what he did for me way back.
Finally, gulp, I started to get a mid week veg,food and grocery box delivered. Was always having to dash to get milk, bread, fruit etc we had run out of. This has worked out cheaper and no one has found the hiding place yet!!!!!

ProjectOysterdotcom Fri 12-Oct-12 14:49:22

Loads of great tips ladies!

Aren't we forgetting something though??


Where do you feature? Amongst the washing piles, calendar organisation, cooking, taxi service for the kids, never ending to-do lists and work demands there has to be some room for you!

The kids deserve a happy mum who's a great role model, working hard to provide for her family, is still there for them when they need her, enjoys fun quality time with them and is someone they can look up to, doing something she believes in and loves.

Hubby wants a woman he admires, who still makes him smile, who still shares in the things you always loved to do together.

You, above all, deserve an easier, happier, more fulfilling life.

Have a think about what's important TO YOU

...and yes, I am one of those working mum coaches, but I do it because I was lost in a pile of washing once, I know what it's like and I enjoy seeing the women I work with change it and build lives that make them happy.

Friday night is my night off. In fact it's both our night off - DH goes out for 4ish hours to his hobby, I sit in with my home/crafty hobby and watch Doctor Who all the erudite telly he doesn't enjoy.

The key was making it my nightoff too - he's out but I don't do any chores while he's out, I eat my favourite dinner and act like I'm in a hotel.
It's great!

(Sat night we sometimes get a babysitter, do stuff together, etc, but Friday nights apart and having fun have proved great 'recharge' points for the coming weekend (we have stuff to say to each other!) and the week ahead.

Xenia Fri 12-Oct-12 15:10:43

Project has a ogod point although sometimes when children are little there is not much time of anything else. I said sleep comes number 1 as soon as you have free time if you are sleep deprived.

I certanily think if a husband is out for 5 hours of golf on Saturday then you should be out for 5 hours of something you like on Sunday and whilst you are each out the other does as much as the other eg if you clean and mind chidlren whilst out he must do the same whilst you are out.

Ditch the guilt is always good advice - I didn't seem to have the guilt other women have (someone did once pay me to life coach them), don't feel you have to be perfect all the time, realise that if you get the balance which works for you and you are happier everyone else will be too within reason. Realise there is no perfect way to be - you might feel happy working 6 or 7 days a week or less. There is no set plan which says if the child is 6 they need x hours of mummy a day and y hours of daddy.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Oct-12 15:23:05

My only tips really are don't have pets, and minimize veg patches and flowerbeds as slabs and lawns are much easier to keep tidy.

My problem is that as soon as a working routine emerges ,something happens - I,or one of DC's get ill,(or some other sort of drama that needs attention).It then takes weeks to get back to what was the starting point - by which time you're knackered,and far more susceptible to another bout of illness......How do you manage with that one?

scottishmummy Fri 12-Oct-12 16:20:00

working mum coach sounds like inventing a need
creating a solution to a non problem, and selling that's clever marketing
I wouldn't use coach.I can professionally and personally manage self and problem solve too

Xenia Fri 12-Oct-12 16:30:23

VSS, I think you mean getting behind. We all do when busy and it takes a while to catch up. All I can say is when children are as huge of mine this is all really easy so you just have to sit it out a bit work hard and then you have your 30 years of relative ease.

Some people like to talk to someone. Anyone in the UK can set themselves up as a life coach and a heap of other jobs without any qualifications at all and that's fine in a free market and I am sure some people do find it helpful to use a life coach as they do to use concierge services or therapists. What we do need to guard against though is state money being used for public sector workers for these kinds of services in a recession.

scottishmummy Fri 12-Oct-12 16:34:19

illness or catastrophe, dust self down get on with it is my advice
it shouldn't take weeks to recover from nonsignificant illness,or get back into swing
it's not rocket science,eat well,sleep,plan schedule,share tasks with dp.don't be a martyr

Want2bSupermum Fri 12-Oct-12 17:10:56

I do what I can to avoid getting ill. This includes making sure I get enough sleep, eating properly, daily exercising (treadmill at home that DH and I use for 30mins a day) and going for an annual check up with the doctor. I also take vitamins (at the moment prenatals) which help keep me in good shape. DD also gets daily vitamins, has all of her vaccines including chicken pox and she eats a good enough diet.

When one of us is off we go into 'illness mode' which means the other picks up some of the slack and the ill person goes to bed after a hot bath with epsom salts in it. This reduces the length of the illness.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Oct-12 17:24:36

All very true.

Quite probably,as scottishmummy says,its a case of just picking up where you left off and gathering in all the loose threads as you go.I suppose trying to get it all back on track immediately is a lot to expect especially since most of us go back to work before we're 100% better.

Xenia Fri 12-Oct-12 17:27:36

I do think illness makes a huge difference. We are hardly ever ill. The boys were saying they hadn't had a day off sick from school in 5 years which is probably true. So why is that? Some will be luck. Some genes. The factors above - like trying to exercise a lot and eat a good diet and avoid junk food. However if you have under 3s they pick up loads of germs and some families will almost be on a constant loop of some illness or another and you cannot just sleep for 2 hours to help recover because the baby does not conveniently disappear because you happen to be ill.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Oct-12 17:38:46

Sometimes the balance of work at home isn't always equal for whatever reason.
I work a little less than full time,but dh does overtime.Between us we work the hours of 2 full time jobs,but I won't expect dh to do 50% at home normally.He certainly does do a fair amount though and if I'm ill he'll attempt 100%,but it's just not really possible.

Never mind,it all catches up again in the end,and tbh I don't lose too much sleep over the house being a bit of a pit for a few weeks - more frustrating than anything else!

scottishmummy Fri 12-Oct-12 17:52:35

worst time for lurgy was nursery got everything
hey ho improves immune system though
and yep ill weans is v demanding.only good thing is weans recover quickly and don't do sick role in way adults do

ihearsounds Fri 12-Oct-12 17:58:46

Most of the shopping is delivered. But we prefer meat from butchers so one of us goes every couple of weeks and stocks up the freezer. Toiletries I pop in and buy on the way own.
Everyone has chores to do - dishwasher, washing, hoovering, windows, dusting etc. The dc's have to tidy their own rooms (youngest is 6 eldest is 19).. The bath is done after used, the sink quick wipe couple of times a week and the loo has cleaner poured in every night and a quick swish in the morning.
Everyone is encouraged to tidy as they go along so things don't pile up. So things put away, dishwasher stacked as stuff used, rubbish in bins etc.
Dc's are also encouraged from early age to put away shoes, coats, school bags as soon as they walk in.
Washing machine gets put on in the morning, then unloaded and dried at night.
Nothing is ever ironed, including uniforms. The school shirts get washed at the weekend and hung on coat hangers to dry.
Dinners are made by the person who will be home first, just look at the menu plan.

As adults we have off time every day. Once the dc's are in bed, everything is done so we can chill.
I'm usually the one that gets floored with illnesses. The rest of the household carries on as normal, remembering at various points to check on me. When me and dp first got together and moved in, I made it very clear that I was not a substitute for his mum and would not be running around after him unless of course ill lol. We are both adults and both responsible for the running of the house, not just bringing in the money.

Have a blackboard at the bottom of the stairs which is massive and has clubs, menu plan, play dates, appointments, birthdays and anything else of relevance for us.

wildwestapplepie Fri 12-Oct-12 18:13:45

I do not have a “me time”. No day off, no time off. I try to get some me-time every night between 10pm when my kids should finally be settled in their bed and 11pm when I go to sleep, but either kids keep bugging me, I want to do too much in so little time or my husband calls me to ask if I could come pick him up from the bus stop (he works late and sometimes he will miss his bus). So there goes my me-time. sad

scottishmummy Fri 12-Oct-12 18:23:40

me time.yes hairdresser, see pals, work dos. all on the planner,all scheduled
I def need some time doing my thing
it's a squeeze but we both negotiate

CMOTDibbler Fri 12-Oct-12 18:24:33

Me time ? I get an hour riding once a week on my own (but ds is around on the yard with dh doing his pony), but tbh, me time is waaay down the priority list. Spending non work time with dh and ds as a family is the priority right now, and dh and I stick to that. And making our life as a family is what makes us happy - it will be gone all too soon, and dh and I will have lots of couple time and 'me' time.

Me time as a concept was invented by people who make money from it imo.

And I don't feel guilty either, much as some people try and make me feel it. I love my job, I'm doing something worthwhile, as is DH, and ds is happy.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Oct-12 18:41:05

I do have a sensible tip,when it comes to this elusive 'me' time.

Never watch real time tv - record what you really can't miss to watch when/if you have time.
Means you don't waste time watching drivel.

southeastlondonmum Fri 12-Oct-12 18:53:50

Ditch the guilt. The best advice why didn't I think of that.
Also -
I don't buy crap clothes. I save up and buy decent stuff. I have less but it's nice and makes work and weekend easier

scottishmummy Fri 12-Oct-12 19:02:03

I've never felt guilty.ever.why would I?it's a social construct heaped on women
work ft because I want to.I'm good at job and it is good for kids see mum contribute and work
no one ever asks a man,hey do you feel guilty having a career,being solvent,fulfilled,and happy at work daddy-oh

BoffinMum Fri 12-Oct-12 19:43:19

I've thought of another great thing - we sometimes order a lamb and a side of pork from our local posh butcher, and they do the cuts to my specification, and supply it ready frozen in vaccuum packs, which I put straight into a chest freezer. Cheaper than Tesco and top quality meat as well.

DottyDot Fri 12-Oct-12 20:04:24

Re: getting ill. I find if I take a day off work right at the beginning of being ill (when I could really go to work) and just sleep as much as possible, I shake stuff off much better and therefore avoid more days off sick! I've got various autoimmune disorders and I think get knocked out with stuff more easily - so a day off to shake it at the very start means I'm up and running much more quickly than trying to keep going then collapsing for a week!

nowflourish Fri 12-Oct-12 20:29:53

Possibly by all wearing a different shirt every day? People tend to shower or bathe daily, use deodorant and in the winter perspire very little, so unless we're working down the pit I feel we could hang up a shirt on Monday after work and wear it again on Wednesday unless it's 100% cotton, in which case your ironing pile will never end!
The other thing I think is to encourage youngsters to do as much as they can as early as they can and not feel guilty making them stack or empty the dishwasher or feed the dog. One day they may have a place of their own and partner unlikely to want to follow them round picking up grungy socks. (Obviously this is an aim and not necessarily how it turns out in my house...getting there!)

Ohhelpohnoitsa Fri 12-Oct-12 22:49:49

boffinmum how did you get a commercial cleaner & are they better & /or cheaper than a domestic one?

BoffinMum Fri 12-Oct-12 22:55:25

£12 per hour, I knew him locally and he has done other things for me, but basically he started by cleaning my windows and then it segued into the current arrangement. We have kids the same age and get on very well, which helps too.

BoffinMum Fri 12-Oct-12 22:56:38

He does 2 hours and gets through the same as my female cleaner used to do in four. However I am always nagging him because his toilet cleaning technique isn't to my liking. I regard it as a victory if he descends to putting on rubber gloves. Apart from that, he's great.

ChocChipCookieMuncher Fri 12-Oct-12 23:48:01

I wear suits for work too but instead of the types of shirts/blouses i'd have to iron I wear 'smart' jersey type tops or long sleeve t shirts - if I hang these up well and pull into shape when they are wet I don't need to iron. They still look smart with a suit and nice necklace smile
My DS wears polo shirts for school, not shirts I have to iron. I don't iron any kids stuff unless we're going to a Christening or wedding! Life is too short.

Xenia Sat 13-Oct-12 08:18:04

CCCM same here, no shirts under a suit. Makes huge difference to washing.
I don't know if my children are different from others but for the 20+ years we have had school shirts they have changed them once a week and they really don't smell. Yet so many others seem to have 5 shirts per child per week which in our family of 5 would be 25 children's school shirts a week!

bossboggle Sat 13-Oct-12 08:30:23

Reading this makes me so glad as to what I have. I have three DC's (grown up now more or less) one of my DC's is disabled and has been all their life, they were born that way. I am a carer 24/7 so I don't have time off as such but reading your posts people I am so grateful that since having my DC's I have never had to take paid employment outside the home. My DH works at a paid job so I don't have to. My day and night can be sometimes hectic but reading these - your lifestyles sometimes seem to be unthinkable to me. Good luck to all of you trying to juggle home life and a paid job - yes I am a carer full time to my disabled DC but I wouldn't even think about taking on what you people do!! I am a full time carer, housewife, homemaker what ever and I love it.....(and I get my breaks when I want them!!) And just for comment the carers allowance is just over £58 per week which works out at 32 pence an hour............swap anyone??!!

MrsMuddyPuddles Sat 13-Oct-12 08:43:57

You wear knit blouses (Sainsburys has had some nice ones recently), DH irons his own or does without, and pretend that the school uniforms got wrinkly on the way to school wink

If you want to take advice from someone who's name is Muddy Puddles for a reason! smile

I love marriedinwhite's routine! I wish I had one, but I guess I could sort it out myself...? envy

Seccond the slow cooker suggestion- I used to alternate evenings: one night was preping slow cooker, the next day we ate it and I washed dishes, the day after we ate the leftovers and I prepped it again.

BoffinMum Sat 13-Oct-12 09:11:48

My boys have 6 shirts each a week (including Saturday school) and I think we could probably get away with having 2 a week, tbh, but DS1 does his own washing and just hangs them up after they come out of the machine and it is all fine, so no ironing there (if he is organised). The nanny does it for DS2, or we do, and the little one wears jeans and t-shirts to nursery so that's pretty simple. DD fortunately went to a school where they all dressed like scruffy hippies anyway (no uniform) and she boarded so that was the most effortless school laundry duty anyway.

Xenia Sat 13-Oct-12 10:28:17

I am not sure why bossb thinks working all day at home caring is any easier than working in an office. In fact it's easier going out to work as you get more variety and more money and usually your other half is doing at least as much as you are a home so it's fairer and nicer all round.

blueshoes Sat 13-Oct-12 13:42:01

boss, I am sure you work very hard and are committed to your dcs. I am glad you enjoy it. But no offence it would not occur to me to swap your life for mine. At least I work because I want to and enjoy it. Many parents don't have that choice but to work ft to pay the bills.

So be aware of what you saying on this thread. In fact, I am not even sure what is the point of your post in the context of this thread.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Sat 13-Oct-12 14:02:14

Yup, what xenia said.

brumkat Sat 13-Oct-12 14:03:20

Hiya - anyone had an au pair before? We have had a nanny in the past, and although she was great, we can't afford one at the moment, and full time nursery would not work for us with the hours we both work. Just about to go full time and wondered if anyone had used an au pair, and if it had worked for you? Even contemplating Granny Au Pair form Germany that heard about on woman's hour. Anyone had any experience with them? cheers x

jontybabe Sat 13-Oct-12 14:33:50

As the mother of a special needs child and a full time worker my life is planned with military precision -
1.Meal Plan - we plan our meals as we are doing our online grocery shopping. Whoever gets home first gets dinner started.
2. Whenever we can we cook meals in advance
3. Calendar / Diary - just can't function without them
4. Rope the kids into helping - mine tidy the kitchen after evening meals and get weekends off. Its how they earn pocket money.
5. Everyone responsible for their own laundry. Hubs and son do their own, including ironing. I just do mine and my daughters.
6. Shop online - no flippin time to run around the shops.
7. Leave items on the stairs if they need brought up to bedrooms / bathroom.
8. Find out what everyones plans are for the week - youthclub, meetings etc so that evening meals can be planned accordingly. No point in making a huge dinner if there's no one at home to eat it.
9. If you can afford it, get a takeaway at least once a month as a well deserved treat. We usually do this around about pay day.
10. Set aside particular days / evenings to spend time together. Friday nights are movies night with my son. Saturday afternoons are doing activities with my daughter. Saturday nights are for the grown ups!

BoffinMum Sat 13-Oct-12 14:53:52

That GrannyAP thing does look interesting.

Xenia Sat 13-Oct-12 15:52:48

I never wanted anyone living in (au pair etc) but having my 3 graduate children move home after university was the same thing in a sense. It's certainly helpful to have someone else there.

Hoever if you look at the lengths the Victorians went to ensure servants were not around all the time (see Friday night's programme about Servants) even designing houses around separation you can see the issues. Most of us hardly have a spare room never mind any kind of separation for an au pair and yes they are supposed to be made a member of your family and there are vast numbers (one lady had 1000 applicants from Spain alone for one new position) but they are around and about you. If you don't mind that then that's fine. If you don't I think it can interfere with family life. On the other hand I've always found the more people around the better everyone behaves so perhaps there are plus points.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 13-Oct-12 16:49:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

marriedinwhite Sat 13-Oct-12 19:51:53

We had six years of au-pair sfrom when dd was about 6 to 12(ish). We had one who was OK and wanted to stay and stay, one complete disaster and three who were fabulous who each stayed a year. We found the best for us was Swedish girls. They were slightly more expensive but their English was superb and they tended to be able to cook and to have fairly traditional family values. Admittedly we have plenty of space, are in a popular part of zone 2 London, and are very close to some very good language schools.

They are brilliant for older children and ours did the laundry, tidied the children's bedrooms, took in the shopping delivery, collected things like registered letters, the dry cleaning and the shoe mending. Ours did one of two evenings of babysitting each week (included in the deal), and were on duty from 3.30 - 6.30 each day and sorted the children's activities and tea. Ours also did extra hours in the school holidays (about an additional 6 weeks full time) and were paid double money for those weeks.

We always had a cleaner as well and didn't expect them to do any cleaning. The last one was with us about 2009/10 and got £80.00, a house phone - mobile, a return flight home, three paid weeks holiday (that might be more now), and usually one and a half terms of paid language school fees. We also have two bedrooms at the top of the house and a bathroom which they tended to use as a bit of an attic flat so we could establish a bit of space between us. The Swedish ones tended to plug themselves into the Swedish church nr Edgeware road and that got them off to a good start on the friends front. On the whole it was very good; all the Swedish parents came over at some stage to inspect us and have a few days in London and we remain close to the two of the girls.

Worked for us.

mathanxiety Sun 14-Oct-12 00:22:40

What ironing?

Ironing is one thing you should not be doing. Either find someone to iron, or get a dryer and use dryer sheets. Take the clothes out of the dryer and fold very neatly. You may have to get rid of clothes that really need ironing and buy only things that are trouble free.

If you don't have a dryer, get one. And a dishwasher.

My DCs have no uniform for secondary and they can do their own laundry themselves once they get to 11-12 ish. For the one still in uniform I have three knit not woven shirts for her and one skirt. The skirt is easy care polyester or something like that with pleats that it would take a tornado to shift. It goes in the washing machine and hangs to dry overnight. Usually once a week is fine for the skirt. The shirts wait until the weekend or if DD4 wants she can get the two older ones to drop it into their wash. (They arrange that one bungs it all in the machine and the other puts everything in the dryer. Then they both sort and fold). They take off uniforms when they get home and that saves washing. They have plenty of slouch clothes to slouch around home in.

The DCs are all responsible for all the things they need for school being ready in the morning. I do not look for shoes or homework or stuff they were supposed to bring. Tough if you have no idea where it is. You had all night to find it and leave it ready. I have made them get themselves organised form when they were about 8. I am doing them all a favour in the long run by getting them to stand on their own two feet.

It's really, really easy to get a nanny from Spain or Greece right now. They are pricing Polish and E. European nannies put of the market. However, watch out for amateurs driven by economic problems whose motivation is to leave Spain or Greece.

I cook 3-4 times a week and we have leftovers the second day. We eat whatever is left in the fridge over the weekend.

No-one takes a bath. There is no lock on the bathroom door and when your shower time is up you can expect company. Everyone takes a shower in the evening except me.

Keep a master list in the kitchen of every single thing you ever buy or have bought in the past. Do it in sections or randomly can work too, depending on what way your mind tends to work. When you go shopping, sit down with the master list first and work from the list. Keep a dry erase board or post its in the kitchen where you can write memos to self about things you are running low on. Train the DCs to leave notes about items that need to be bought too (cereal, juice, tampons, toothpaste, whatever). Don't ever go out shopping without a thorough list. That is if your local delivery service really isn't up to snuff.

Big kitchen calendar and everyone trained to use it goes without saying. Open post beside the calendar and rummage through school bags there too to keep track of school events. Have the bin within easy distance and toss everything once noted. Keep your own admin filing system within easy reach too.

If you don't have a good size freezer, get one. Freeze meal sized batches of pasta sauce. Gussy it up with cream, vodka, olives, etc when you put it in the pot. Freeze items like meatballs in meal size batches, same goes for stir fry meats. Freeze strips of cooked chicken and you can make virtually anything for dinner quickly. Use frozen veg that doesn't need prepping, esp garlic, onion, etc that goes in every meal just about...

Me time is the crack of dawn for me. I like being all alone before everyone gets up and I have my tea and toast and shower without being mithered by everyone.

PlaySchool Sun 14-Oct-12 01:03:25

Don't iron
Do less cleaning
Keep on top of laundry and dishes - never let them pile up
Never go upstairs empty handed
Sort out uniforms on Sunday
Get an online grocery delivery on Monday.
Have a cleaner.
Never sit down!!!!! wink

beesmum Sun 14-Oct-12 12:55:12

Mandy21 I do very little ironing. Put clothes on hanger as soon as they come out of dryer. School uniforms are smoothed and folded as soon as they come out of the dryer or off the line. If you have older ch, they can iron their own clothes. But having said that, my dd, 17, seems to never need to iron her clothes. When I do iron something, I only do it if I will definitely wear it that week.

BoffinMum Sun 14-Oct-12 13:25:42

I have a Spanish nanny at the moment who is a trained professional chef. She needs a bit of guidance but overall she is doing really well. Great work ethic and takes instructions well.

BoffinMum Sun 14-Oct-12 13:27:08

Plus I can say to her 'please cook 20 portions of bolognaise for the freezer' and this will be done to restaurant standards! gringringringrin

WhenLifeGivesYouLemons Sun 14-Oct-12 13:36:06

Just started writing up a meal plan. Does anyone have any tips for this? I've planned for a different meal everyday in a fortnightly rotation with one fish dish a week (my DH hates fish but will have fish'n'chips and tuna pasta bake). After trying a few different plans I've found that I've ended up with loads of salady meals in one week and loads of carb heavy meals in the other confused Are there any good sites for this sort of thing (brain won't work)

May have to invest in a chest freezer hmm

VerySmallSqueak Sun 14-Oct-12 13:48:12

I need a cleaner,dishwasher and freezer.
Trouble is I'm space and money short,as well as time.

I think the bulk buying presents (as well as cards) idea is inspired though.Same present boy or girl x at least half dozen.Brilliant idea!

blueshoes Sun 14-Oct-12 14:37:01

WhenLife, I meal plan every week. I don't use any sites and I don't think there is any real magic to it.

We eat the same meal 2 times a week by cooking double of each meal, doing much of the preparation/cooking over the weekend. The first time we eat it fresh, the second time it is just heated up leftovers. So I just need to plan 3 different dishes a week. The stub meal will be a one-off (often salad, soup, snacky-type meal like sandwich or leftovers from weekend, or could be de-frosted food, or in your case, a fish dish).

With the weekly meal plan, I put the ingredients onto a shopping list for the weekly shop. Therefore, I only do one big shop a week.

nkf Sun 14-Oct-12 14:45:55

I think planning for two weeks is unecessary. And it's a good idea to use seasonal veg or things that are on special offer. One thing I find useful is to make a huge amount of ragu and divide into individual family sized portions for the freezer. That way, I always have the basic ingredients for:
cottage pie

One day a week, dinner is more or less made, not just planned.

MELanglands Sun 14-Oct-12 16:51:32

I found that by having a different task/tasks each day after work, I got through the week ok. Monday-shop, Tuesday-clean, Wednesday-garden, Thursday-iron , Friday-wash bed linen, Saturday-eat out/cook bigger meal, Sunday-enjoy partner/family.
This was flexible depending on children's clubs and the weather. Some things were daily generally like washing and cooking. Extra money could be spent on machines (e.g.dishwasher) or human help (cleaner/gardener/ironer).
I expand on all this in my book, Thriftaholic-Live Well, Spend Less.

Ahhhtetley Sun 14-Oct-12 16:55:41

It's all about organisation really.

Try and make up extra when cooking stuff like chilli etc and freeze it.

Lay clothes out the night before, bath before bed, that sort of thing.

And try to work as a team, myself and my dh take in turns various jobs.

Also don't be so hard on yourself, doesn't matter if your house isn't perfect or you forget stuff - you can't be super mummy and work ft. grin

mathanxiety Sun 14-Oct-12 17:34:42

WhenLifeGivesYou Lemons -- There is a book called Saving Dinner that does a year of meal plans along with grocery lists. It's an American book but usable for British Isles cooks, available on Amazon. I think the author is linked in some way to Flylady.

mathanxiety Sun 14-Oct-12 17:39:05

Try to remember that cleaners, cooks, nannies are all doing their jobs full time or as close to ft as they need to. You already have a full time job. Take the pressure off yourself. Do a good enough job with the things you feel you need to do yourself, and farm out the rest or harness technology, and cut corners with cooking in bulk, reducing laundry related tasks. Farming out the rest includes roping in the family.

brumkat Sun 14-Oct-12 18:31:00

Thanks for the tips on the au pairs guys. We don't have masses of room, but they would have their own room, tv etc. We also have a cleaner, who does the ironing and changes beds, so they wouldn't need to do that, I would rather they focus on the kids, and cooking the meals. Fingers crossed, as we have no other option really (no relatives close by to help, nanny too much, and nursery not right hours!) x

BoffinMum Sun 14-Oct-12 19:59:55

brumkat, most APs need teaching to cook before you can let them loose.

missmapp Sun 14-Oct-12 20:04:05

I agree with the ' no child downstairs until they are dressed and washed' I also bring toothbrushes downstairs so they have no reason to go back up and disappear into a world of play!!

I am going from 4 days to full itme in a couple of weeks, so this has been really useful We cant run to a cleaner right know, but I am hoping my current system of doing a few jobs a night will owrk ( trying to forget how much I get done on a Friday currently!!)

GeorgieR Sun 14-Oct-12 21:59:32

You've all made me feel v inadequate. It's not helped at the moment by the fact we've got builders in, and there's dust, builders' mess and rubble EVERYWHERE. I haven't been able to get to my desk in weeks. I've just been on a five day work trip to south America (yes, it was amazing to get away but the chaos I returned to...). We do have a fantastic nanny share four days a week, and without her and the other family I don't know what we'd do. DD is only 18 months old, so I've been back at work about 10 months - but I'm really really struggling...

marriedinwhite Sun 14-Oct-12 22:58:22

*GeorgieR*. Am sitting in the dining room. To my right are 14 bog rolls, just dumped in here, to my left spread out newspaper and a saucers that's been used for mixing acrylic paint and which hasn't been put away. At the far end of the table is a pile of old homework left over from last summer and not put away. A lovely decanter has a film of dust on it and the silver is black - oh and one cat is on a semi-shredded chair, one is on the table and one is on top of the bookcase. That just about sums up most of the house. I didn't say it was perfect; we just get where we have to, clean, neat, organised and well fed. The house is clean btw.

stinimefdar Mon 15-Oct-12 07:07:17

Mandy21 call Iron maids they do it all and its worth it...also keeps other women in employment.....

Somermummy1 Tue 16-Oct-12 09:12:13

Thank you whoever mentioned about syncing calendars! Who knew getting 2 iPhones to share 1 calendar would make me so smug! And DH delighted because its all about the technology and I'm delighted because I can put things in his calendar And add reminders too .... which lets be honest .... Is virtual nagging grin

somer it's not nagging, it's sharing information. grin

In our house, if it's not on the calendar then it's not officially happening, and no one is castigated if unprepared.

in the gcal you can also 'invite' people to an event, so for example when I scheduled my 20 week scan I 'invited' him so he knew at once when it was (he gets an email) and could arrange the time off/cover. He's always glued to his phone for work, so it's an easy way to use what's available. We share a shopping list too ("out of milk" is the app we use) so if someone's popping to the shops in their lunch hour they can see what we need without thinking "damn, I wrote it on the fridge but now can't remember..."

gohgon Wed 17-Oct-12 10:53:32

I am a grandmum but sympathise with all the problems of work and children as I see our kids struggling with careers and youngsters. From the lofty heights of age I would make 2 observations - you all find time to get online and exchange messages - what about all those too harrassed to do just that? Secondly I agree with so much that has been suggested, but would add the benefit of lists either for self or for the family. Just so long as they are in an agreed place and everyone is chivvied to take note. Also I found it a great relief when the kids were old enough to do their own ironing - we did washing at the Launderette and i just divided it up into piles and they made their own decisions as to whether to iron or not. Carry on the good work!!

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Wed 17-Oct-12 19:31:01

Commonsense but worth mentioning; if you drop your children off at school/nursery/childminder try not to pop back home before work.

It's a huge timewaster, ime.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Wed 17-Oct-12 20:51:54

Some people at my work enjoy a lunch club. Each person cooks (or buys in some cases) enough soup/sandwich whatever for everyone. In theory each person has to do lunch once every 2 weeks. It's not for me to be honest but they enjoy it.

And goes without saying, do everything by direct debit and online where possible.

PlaySchool Sat 20-Oct-12 16:17:36

As well as preparing the children's clothes for the week, make sure your own wardrobe is organised. There is nothing worse than a wardrobe disaster to make you late.

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