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what are your tips for balancing work and home life?

(37 Posts)
MUM2BLESS Fri 10-Jun-11 13:24:21

Hi everyone.

Its June already, time has surely flown this year.

I am a mum of four and I childmind six, sometimes more. Yes Live is very busy. (do not get me wrong I am so grateful for the work!!)

I was thinking, as you do smile I am quite a thorough person and I like to do things well. I work mon to fri. I am looking for ways and means on how to make life easier in every way.

I would love to hear from other cms/parents .... who are busy, on how you stay balanced with work and homelife. What advice or tips you have on how to manage time and cut the workload down (especially the paperwork).

I have started putting papers in piles ie NOW!, need attention, signing, filing and can wait and also a pile for my hubby to see (school infor etc).

In the school hols only one child comes three times a week.

I aim to care 100 % to the childmding kids at the same time trying to make time for my kids, my husbands etc etc.

Love to hear from you on this

Strix Fri 10-Jun-11 13:35:31

My top tip is to stay off of MN. smile

MUM2BLESS Fri 10-Jun-11 14:10:09

why? is it addictive? I try to limit when I go on. Very useful for advice dont you think?

nannyl Fri 10-Jun-11 15:26:09

i hope you get more constructive comments soo mum2bless

how about a cleaner?
online supermarket delivering food?
a place to keep everything and try and keep everything in its place?

Strix Fri 10-Jun-11 15:32:32

oh ouch. I was just kidding. Chill, nannyl.

Seriously, mum2bless, you sound pretty organised. I find my coping strategies often involve accepting defeat and lowering the standards. Like, DD keeps losing... well... everything. I'm just accepting it, painful as that is. But, if she is anything like her mother she will continue to lose everything for the rest of her life. So who am I to talk?

dobby2001 Fri 10-Jun-11 15:35:35

Hi Mum2bless. I scaled back my direct working to 4 days a week some time ago. working 5 days was too intense and gave me no time to get paperwork done or family stuff like dentisit or GP appointments. Sods law states that things crop up on my "admin day" but it does give me some breathing space and enables me to keep things at least up to date enough i am not constantly panicking and losing sleep over stuff.

I have also in the last year, scaled back the amount of paperwork i do which ,when I had my OFSTED inspection in October, the inspector complemented me on, saying to many childminders hears about all the things everone else is doing and do too much, rather than look at the needs of their setting and what is realistic.

I also made the decision to get a cleaner in as even with my "admin day" our weekends were being eaten up on chores and the family would be grumpy and arguing. My DH likes to find fault with the cleaner and makes "jokes" about me having her but i quickly told him wher to go as it is the money I earn that pays for her wink

I use the PC for lots of things including mumsnet but it does suck the hours away if i am not disciplined so i do need to set limits.

And on that note i have laundry to put away grin

hth

sillymillysmummy Fri 10-Jun-11 16:51:26

I agree with everything the above posters have said. MUM2BLESS I had exactly the same thoughts when I started cm 3 years ago, very very high standards of everything, and, sadly for me it just didnt work. I initially worked 4 days, but then in our area you cannot so much pick and choose which work you have, so now work all 5 days. I also have scaled back my paperwork, I also have a cleaner, but still not enough time for my family. Sorry that doesnt help much really, and only time will tell if you can keep it all up, I hope you can, but if not, prioritise and compromise. I do nowhere near as much planning and paperwork and my kids and my parents still love me anyway, even though I am sure ofsted will think I could do better

TwistAndShout Fri 10-Jun-11 20:13:40

Great idea for a thread Mum2bless.

I've only been a CM for a couple of months and it will be September when I am full 4 days a week.

Already I can see that I am going to have to lower my standards around the house. It is impossible to keep on top of things the way I could as a SAHM. I'mn shocked how tired I feel in the evenings. It's very intense being responsible for other people's children and I used to be a teacher so it shouldn't be such a shock!

I think a cleaner may come in useful at some point but also my DH is going to have to step up a gear too , maybe iron his own shirts!

I'm trying to get my own DC to help with tidying at the end of the day, in intense bursts where we all rush around for 10 mins rather than tidying up taking the hour before bath time.

I am trying to do bits of paperwork throughout the day and tidy it all away on a Friday so I can have a weekend without thinking about it, though this won't always be possible.

I plan to keep one day a week free so I can spend time with DS (aged 2) on his own while my other two are at school and no mindees for him to share me with. I've already agreed to a before and after school mindee on that day so from now on, for me the big thing will be learning to say no if I can't take on a child!

MUM2BLESS Fri 10-Jun-11 20:51:07

thanks everyone.

I would have loved to work only 4 days but it did not work out that way.

How can I cut down on paperwork? What do you do or not do concerning papers?

Been minding three years in Sept. I am sure you will agree that just like parenting you learn things as you go along.

MUM2BLESS Fri 10-Jun-11 22:09:20

Do most of you stay up late to catch up or catch up with things at weekends?

Anyone got your housework and paperwork well organised? If so how did you do it?

I think every situation is so different. Some are childminding with very young children of their own, some have three of more kids of their own, some are lone parents. some are childminding lots of children.

anymore tips or advice?

dobby2001 Sat 11-Jun-11 08:37:34

I worked my "day off" into my week when the oportunity came up, I had a child leaving and asked the parent of the one child remaining that day if they minded switching their day. I gave them loads of time to change and then made it part of my working practice "as of x date my working hours are 8-6 Mon-Thursday. Friday is admin/emergency cover day" Nobody minded tbh.

I dont do weekly plans ,i use my own diary and childrens contact books for short term planning and individual plannig rather than seperate sheets. I also spent a large chunk of time about 2 years ago going through ALL my policies and procedure and planning tools and threw out anything that was not essential or used frequently. I had saved alot of "useful" stuff from forums that I kept meaning to use and got rid of everything i didnt need.

I then set up my own system, using what i liked and making what i needed if not already available - I ended up with 1 huge file with all my general paperwork and 1 file for each child plus a "professional development" file containing all my certificates, my SEF and anythig else that showed i was keeping on top of good practice, for example proof of attendance at a conferance. Everything in the general file has a "date last reviewed" on it and every year at the same time i go through and check everythig is still valid and update where required - obviously things like risk assessments need to be done more often.

Childrens files are checked and updated at least once a month using notes in my diary and their contact book, along with photos i have taken. I have a checklist to tick off to make sure all areas of EYFS are covered.

I have a newsletter every season for parents anda whiteboard in my porch with notices and weekly plans (this comes down at weekends)

It took time to set up the system but now its done it needs only regular maintenance, one or two hours a week.

lukymum Sat 11-Jun-11 14:22:12

Thank you all for the posts. So useful. Those who have cleaners, do they come on more than one day, or do a general clean one day a week? Also, when I attend classes regarding children etc, they dont do proof of attendance. Any ideas what I could do.

My tip, which I took from another mumsnet post was to clean whilst the kids are there and get them involved. So come 5.30 I get the kids to help me tidy, so when they leave I have a lot less to worry about. That has reformed my life. Then I can spend some time with my little boy when we're alone rather than run around like a headless chicken and not spend quality time with him.

minderjinx Sat 11-Jun-11 14:38:14

I don't think I'd go as far as getting the children cleaning, but I absolutely agree they should be encouraged to help tidy away toys, set and clear the tea table, water the patio pots and other such bits and pieces. Every little helps!

MUM2BLESS Sat 11-Jun-11 15:07:48

Some great ideas everyone.

Twist and shout thanks for your compliment. How is your family coping with your being new at cm?

dobby2001 your have some bril planning ideas.. love them. Your seem so fucus and you mean business. Good on you! How long have you been cm?

luckymum it a great idea to involve kids in cleaning (their own mess up) but for some of them the time of collection varies. Sometimes my kids want to carry on playing when its time to clear up.

You see when we put our head together we can help each other out. Much appreciated everyone.

Anymore useful tips?

MUM2BLESS Sat 11-Jun-11 15:10:18

Today my husband got the kids to help out with some chores, nothing that they cannot manage. I got help with hoovering, cleaning etc.

Are you doing the house work alone or do you get help?

FeelingOld Sat 11-Jun-11 16:27:10

Hi. I have been childminding for 7 years now but can still always use some tips!!
I am a lone parent of 2 (dd 16 and ds 11) and am also main carer to my disabled parents so i try to organise my time but it doesnt always work!!

I currently have 5 under 4's on my books and 3 before and after schoolers and in the holidays can have up to 10 mindees in the house so i try to keep on top of things as best i can but i do think sometimes you have to lower your standards slightly and i also agree about only doing the necessary amount of paperwork and no more. A childminder friend of mine spends hours on daily diaries and learning journey books where as i just write the basics in daily diaries and do less detailed learning journey books ( still full of photos but shorter write ups and less linking to eyfs) and we both still got same grading at our last inspections (good grade).

I usually have groceries delivered on a monday evening, do some paperwork on a tues evening and thurs evening and i do my main cleaning on a saturday morning (pay my dd to help with cleaning) although do quickly hoover downstairs most evenings and clean the loo every morning. I try to do my accounts monthly usually on a sunday evening to keep on top of them. My 1 luxury is i have someone to do my ironing and its worth every penny because i find it very time consuming.

FeelingOld Sat 11-Jun-11 16:29:32

Forgot to add, i work fulltime, would love to only work 4 days but being the only breadwinner its not really and option but a day off inthe week to get all cleaning and paperwork done to leave weekends with more free time would be brilliant.

dobby2001 Sat 11-Jun-11 19:11:18

Thanks Mum2bless, I have been CM since Sept 2006, if you get professional chidlcare magazine I was actually in there a couple of months ago on "I love my job" bit! grin

I learnt the hard way to get organised although to be honest it does slip as life gets in the way as we all know wink I have some great parents at the moment and 3 cm friends i see most weeks whom i share ideas and resources with which really helps - the checklist i use for my LJs to keep up with EYFS was one of my firends and they in turn have used my LJ template - we all personalise them so its not cloned work, like i mentioned earlier, its finding good systems that work for you and if you looked at how we do things they are all very differant smile

On the tidying up front, i currently work with 4 x two year olds, but even they know that at certain times of the day we have "tidy up time" and rush to put things in boxes. I redid my play area so it was easier to keep tidy - not seperate room for me as a through longue so i have a number of large boxes everything goes into. Not too pretty but very functional wink

MUM2BLESS Sun 12-Jun-11 21:16:06

Dobby2001 with childminding you learn quickly... sometimes by making previous mistakes.

I have a bril childminding group but due to the time of 1-3pm I do not get to attend as much as I want to. Sometimes the little one is sleeping or I may choose to slow down the pace a bit.

Anyone attending a good c m grp?

The activites are really great and I also get help with using their camera to take pics ..

TODAY I SPENT HOURS DOING MY PAPERWORK (but I can see the workload is coming down)

At the moment I have papers on the floor with post it notes on some of them. Got to clear it up and prepare for tomorrow.

I want to be ready for my Inspection around Novemeber and I refuse to be running around crazy when the time comes !!!

I hope you all have a lovely deserved rest smile. Signing off now!! I will try to catch up with you tomorrow

Littlepurpleprincess Mon 13-Jun-11 14:24:57

Lots of good ideas on this thread.

One small thing that I have found really helpful is to 'hide' all the childminding crap at the end of the day so that my house looks like a home instead of a nursery.

So my paperwork, folders and stuff, used to be on a shelf, now they are in a cupboard with doors.

I swapped plastic toy boxes for nice wicker baskets with lids, in neutral colours.

I've taken down my parent's board because, quite frankly, they ignore it. I will be straight with Ofsted and just say "I prefer to actually speak to my parents, and this seems to be enough". (I will also do a newsletter every few months).

The pushchairs, highchairs, booster seats, car seats etc are in the cupboard under the stairs.

So everything is out of site unless I am actually working.

This doesn't save me anytime at all but walking into a calm clutter-free room everyday makes me feel a lot better than seeing all the toys and colour and childcare debris.

MUM2BLESS Mon 13-Jun-11 21:13:09

littelpurpleprincess what lovely ideas

I have a cotbed which is put up for childminding then put into the cotbed bag at the end of the week. I also have foam mats on my wooden floor which I take up after childminding on Fridays.

You have to really ensure that you balance work and home life when its in your home. You also have to know when to stop WORKING when at home.

I must admit that I am more alert as a mother/childminder with risk assess and also I try to ensure my work in of a high standard.

If I was looking for a childminder I would be very particular in who I choose, therefore I aim to offer very high standards to my parents and thier chidlren, its only fair.....

I have not worked a bank holiday since I started, would consider if the need arose.

I love gardening. It lovely seeing little plant starting to bud, its a bit like seeing the children (mine and minded) develop over a period of time.

anymore tips...... love to hear from you !! smile

babybaabaa Mon 13-Jun-11 22:14:47

Routine of emailling all parents with photos and info./obs daily as they happen so I never get behind.

Bulk online grocery shopping.

Online veg. delivery.

Cook huge vat/wokfuls of food at a time so I only need to cook every two-three days.

Clean the shower/bathroom/loo by a quick once over whilst I am in it as I keep antibac/cloths and polish in every room.

Forget ironing. If it's clean it will do.

Declutter and a place for everything.

Ruthless with paperwork. Regularly chuck out anything made of paper that isn't absolutely necessary.

Get up 30 mins before I need to so that all the floors can be swept/cleaned downstairs.

A4 list hanging on cupboard door to add any jobs that pop into my mind to be done. Pen to cross them off when done.

Learn to delegate!

lukymum Mon 13-Jun-11 23:27:44

mum2bless, can you tell me a bit more about the foam that you have. Is it similar to the ones of the alphabet?
Im in need of something like that. Any information welcome.

Littlepurpleprincess Tue 14-Jun-11 16:49:25

Thankyou Mum2bless, I just wish I could apply the same to my garden....

MUM2BLESS Wed 15-Jun-11 19:46:27

Sorry been a bit busy this week. Luckymum I purchased some interlocking foam numbers mats (1-9) from Asdas* I have wooden flooring in my living room. Its just makes it safer for the little one when playing. carpet and food do not go together.

This was a few months ago. I got two packs for £8 I think.

Baby baa baa you are certainly organised.... Have you been cm for long? That sound like you have lots of experience.

I tend to find that when you first start cm you are excited and make quick decisions when you get parents starting? Am I right. I personally would have done things perhaps a lot different If I knew then what I know now, you know what I mean everyone?

I have deal with late pick ups, late payment, children arriving not able to go to school, challenging behaviour ...............

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