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Work outside the home Mums-come tell me what practical things you do to make your life easier and to try and achieve some work/life balance?(30 Posts)
Going back to FT work on Wednesday...in the middle of a huge cook-for-the-freezer so that dd's will get dinner some time before midnight when I get home from work...nervous about how im going to get everything else done...any tips gratefully recieved....
Depending on the age of your DC, allocate them appropriate responsibilities. My DC have to pack their own bags and get their own stuff ready. And one lays the table for tea and the other clears.
Work out a simple and fairly quick evening routine (ours is to ensure all dishes in dishwasher or washed by hand, kitchen surfaces wiped down and lounge tidy) that everyone contributes to.
We have an hour (max) at the weekend where we prioritise any jobs that need doing. We all pitch in -saying it's an hour max helps keep on top of it and not make it onerous.
Put a load of washing in every night, hang out in the morning and quickly sort when you get home. That will keep on top of the washing.
Have a repertoire of teas that take 30 minutes from start of prep to on the table. Have emergency food in the freezer for days you can't evne manage that.
Get a cleaner who will also do the ironing. Plan meals.
We have an admin meeting at the weekend to work out who needs to do what when with regard to the kids' meals etc and includes who is likely to be where on what day.
Regardless of the hours your spouse works, it's his house too. His food, his laundry, his child. Give him really specific tasks rather than just expecting him to pile in. My DH has this odd thing where there are certain kinds of domestica that he just doesn't 'see'. So I give him the stuff he does 'see'. Like the laundry.
Think about when you're most productive around the house and do stuff then. I once had to cook an emergency tea while the kids were eating breakfast and I found that I was fine with that. I was already getting up so early it didn't really make any difference.
We both work long hours, yet I still end up doing loads more around the house than him but I look on it as Work in Progress.
Not sure how old your DC are, but if school age, buy/otherwise acquire more uniform so that they can make it through the week without laundry having to be done. Late nights waiting for the washing machine to finish are not good
do as I say, not as I do
Do what you can to make sure you get as little post as possible to deal with.
Don't look at brochures or buy magazines.
Everything on Direct Debit.
Get EVERYTHING ready the night/ day before - even cereal in tubs with lids- tip into bowls and refill for next day.
Clean kitchen while DC have dinner on one day.
Clean bathroom while DC are in bath.
One thing we live by:
"Something that takes ten minutes to do in the evening will take half an hour to do next morning". So true.
Occasional ready meal
Refuse to cook on a Friday
Timers on appliances are great; slow cooker obviously, oven timed to have meal ready (even if only baked potatoes) as you walk through the door, washing machine filled the night before, timed to finish first thing in the morning so you can hang out the load before going out.
Food shopping delivered.
I have just dropped back to pt from ft and am heaving sighs of relief (makes pt work feel very easy). dh is out 0630 to 2100 at best so I have a routine that I make work.
My DH works similar hours to yours and I am also a teacher. I do the pick. up of the DC from the cm, tea, homework, bath, bed (if he's really late) whilst DH does kitchen and bins and will do some food prep for next day if I tell him what it is . I have to bring quite a lot of marking home so the way I see it is I do the domestics to let him work late but when he gets home I need to work and he has to take his turn.
DH also does the folding and ironing of clothes, makes all beds in the morning and loads my car with all the stuff DDs and I need that day. He only cleans if I show him the areas that are dirty, otherwise he's blind to it!
It's time to renegotiate things with your DH surely? I was a SAHM for 5 years, and did most of the domestic work. But when I went back to work FT, DH and I both had to look again at how we balanced things. And DH changed to a job that involved less travel and more flexibility in order to accomodate my completely inflexible hours (teacher). I do think it requires both of you to think how you will make things work, together. You shouldn't have to take on a new job and all the domestic load just so your DH can continue with no adjustment.
But yes, a cleaner is fab if you can stretch to it.
Make sure you work out what happens when the kids are ill - will you share time off with DP/DH?
I work based from home at the moment, and have also WOTH getting in earlier than DP: I very rarely do any cooking at weekends. DP runs the Hoover round the place on a Sunday and I wipe the kitchen down most days. He does most of the washing. I don't think your DH is being remotely fair.
Cleaner! Absolutely great if you can.
Do everything in a mad rush the night before, so mornings go easily.
Don't bath every night unless they need it.
Online shopping is great, then you can top up from the local shop.
lower your standards, and get a cleaner. Stop ironing!
Always have something in the freezer, or eggs and bread, which makes for an OK meal.
Eat with the kids - we've saved sooo much time by all eating the second DH gets through the door than me cooking for the kids, clearing up, putting them to bed and then cooking again!
Weekends - one lie in each, and one afternoon a weekend, one parent takes the kids out while the other catches up on jobs.
Use your lunch break wisely - pop to the bank, or postoffice, pick up that parcel that is at the sorting office.
Sleep trumps all chores
A great big slow cooker so one day a week you can make something that's ready for when you come in and then freeze the second portion for a quick dinner the next week.
A big enough freezer bread/rolls etc for lunches all week to cut down on the extra trips to the shops. (I'm saving for a chest freezer for the garage.)
Lay out all clothes/bags the night before and do DCs' extra bags for ballet/swimming/cm at the weekend.
Train your DC to put clothes in bin, tidy toys, load dishwasher as much as poss.
I do have a dh MI-But he doesnt get in from work till earliest 7.30, more usually 8.30, having left at 7am.Therefore I dont expect him to be that much help...He earns more and therefore claims to need to be at his desk for an extended amount of time, which is allegedly the culture of his work place.(although lots of his femails colleagues seem to have successfully negotiated flexi)Im going back to work FT in the full knowledge thateverything homewise is mostly going to be on me (but have taken a job that unlike my previous FT one is not an hour and half commute each way, which am hoping will mean I wont be as fall down dead tired as I was previously).To be fair to dh he does his fair share on Sundays (and also Saturdays when the football season is not in progress).
We might get someone to do the ironing I think...I hate it anyway so if we're outsourcing anything it will be that...
I hope im doing the right thing.>>having a little wobble<<
I would stop ironing. I haven't ironed regularly in 7 years. I don't think anyone has noticed.
Ooh and try and do everything as soon as you get in, where possible. You get through it faster, and then when you finally sit down most of it is dealt with.
Sorry I said 'we' but didn't say what DH does. DD is 2yo so the only thing she does is help is put her clothes in the basket.
DH washes up, cleans the sides and kitchen down, bathes DD, picks up extra shopping not delivered on his lunch hour, puts washer on or dryer.
I forgot to mention ironing. I iron whilst watching tv one or two evenings a week with a steam generating iron which has cut the time in half. DH is responsible for puting away and changing bed clothes.
Pessimistic is spot on. I would say plan your time at home wisely. There's nothing worse than feeling tired after work not being arsed to wash the pots then having them waiting on you after work the next night. Also finishing work on a Friday & having a whole weeks washing to do. Our house looks like a Chinese laundry some weekends with washing hung from tops of doors, Bannister, every radiator jam packed.
I should take my own advice but sometimes you just have them days/weeks where work has taken every bit of energy out of you.
Everything ready the night before (your clothes,uniform,lunches if you're doing them)
Do all the cleaning in a mad hour on Saturday morning - its amazing how much you can get done.
Have a list of quick meals that you can make easily during the week. Have pizza or take out at least one night, something like jacket spuds another night, meal from the freezer the third night... That only leaves you 2 meals to worry about. Get DH to cook one of them
Do you have a DP? A DP who is unwilling to accept responsibility for domestic work? Or no DP?
What works for us is being very organised. It's easier once you get into a routine! I'll list what works for us so we don't spend our weekends doing cooking or chores (sorry about formatting)
Use meal plan to prepare shopping list
Mix in quick and easy meals to prepare when you get home with things out of the freezer
Batch cook sauces for pasta
Prepare ingredients the night before if you can.
Use a slow cooker at least twice a week so you feel like you're not eating out of the freezer.
There's nothing wrong with beans on top when you're tired!
Get big shop delivered fortnightly then get fresh items when you need them
Have three dirty washing baskets so you sort them as you go them fill up to washer when you've got a load. Alternatively use colour catcher sachets.
Wipe bathroom quickly every night, wash up as you go (easy to keep on top of things)
Hoover twice a week
Polish when you're expecting guests (smells nicer)
Pack bags/set out clothes the night before
I'm also trying to scale down my wardrobe to get more time in bed. We also shower and dry hair the night before.
I regularly have guests for dinner and they can't believe that I've just walked in from work and served them dinner.
Spend your weekend having fun and eat out if you can afford it.
I fear that there is little to no chance of that MI...Thats why im now freaking out about how to get everything done...(and why I went pt a year ago-which hasnt done me any favours in terms of job satisfaction-feel like I cant win )
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