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What 'life admin' do I need to sort before going into high-power job after a year off?(41 Posts)
Apart from the very obvious of course - childcare! Au pair/after school nanny will have to be recruited ASAP.
Going back to work after a redundancy from one career. Took a year off thinking it would be bliss. I certainly did not miss the stress of round-the-clock calls but that has now been replaced with a 'I have no purpose' panic and am really quite terrible at being a FT mum.
A new opportunity has been presented and it is a bigger, better role in a slightly different field than my last. It will involve travel and long hours.
If you have gone back after a break, what life admin stuff do you wish you had sorted?
I am thinking taxes, amalgamate (risibly small) pensions etc but what else? I am dreading to think what we are going to do for family meals and how the house is going to run with both DP and I in reasonably high pressure jobs. I know this is first-world problem but I think for everyone's sanity, I need to take the job.
I could prob ask for four days but as it's project work, suspect I will just get 80% salary for the same hours!
Google calendar with all birthday, school, work dates for next 12 months.
Make and freeze sandwiches for packed lunches for half a term.
Buy and wrap all Xmas presents.
Book beautician, dentist, hairdresser for 12months.
Set up online shopping
Negotiate compressed hours - I do a similar role, 5 days in 4 or 9 day fortnight. Rarely quite works like that but feels better.
Good PA. Fast broadband for WFH. Delegate.
Thanks everyone - I am amazed at how quickly you've all pitched in with fab ideas. I am terrible at being organised. I am the sort of person who loses things that are still in their hand. I hate this about me but wonder if is an underlying condition so I will need all the organisation tools I can get hold of. Provided I don't forget all the logins etc.
@CalmConfient, I have heard of compressed hours but I do not know if this will work as they claim they are a 'we don't need you at your desk all day as long as you get the work done and have your phone available after hours' sort of company with international offices across different time zones etc.
Should I still do that? Any recommendations for which company is good on broadband? We are in London and have TalkTalk (useless and expensive)
@Toadsrevisited that is such, such a good idea about booking those appointments ahead. I go to a very good but very cheap one-woman-band hairdressers and I will only be available to do it on Saturdays now so will have to do it waaaay ahead of time a she is often not available.
Those of you with busy jobs (well all jobs are busy up to a point!) - what do you do for childcare? DC are 4 and &. They have after school activities so a childminder wouldn't work. Would you go down the au pair OR the after-school nanny agency route?
We have a spare room but I do not want a third 'child' to worry about. Then again, an au pair would be more flexible if me or DH had to work late or go away on business.
Id look for a nanny housekeeper if i were you-someone who will do a bit of everything rather than nursery plus cleaner
Find a cleaner who is happy to do other stuff. Pay her decent wages to wife work, especially the stuff you can't do remotely.
On line food deliveries. On line everything
Agree areas of responsibility with DH and stick to them. Good enough is enough Get the whole family to pitch in. Think what useful members of society you will be raising.
This may only be relevant for my industry but the minutes on a teleconference before everyone has joined are your personal time. Either review the todo list or get something done
@Finallyhere that's hilarious! My two DC are just hopeless around the house (take after their mum!) but apparently amazing tidiers at school....hmmmm. Love the term wife work. It's so true.
Watching with interest for when I go back from mat leave. I am determined to go back organised!
- Make sure up to date with dentist, optician, smear test, hairdresser any other medical or other appointments
- Sort out wardrobe, organised so when I'm back at work I can see what I have and put outfits together easily
- Buy anything I need to fill gaps in wardrobe, stock up on tights etc. Make sure shoes and boots re-heeled and waterproofed and coats dry cleaned etc
- Sort out baby's wardrobe to make sure they have what they will need for the next few months, taking into account changing seasons and growing child. Make sure I have next size up sleeping bags, pramsuits etc
- Nursery place booked and baby does settling in sessions, grandparents / friends lined up for emergencies (I rely on Southern trains to get home from work....)
- Fridge and freezer cleaned, batch cook meals and stock up on frozen veg, emergency pizzas and other quick to cook dinners
- work out some easy to cook healthy meals, get back in habit of using slow cooker
- Stock up on non-perishable cupboard food, cleaning products, toiletries, make up
- Online shop set up, save favourite items.
- De-clutter house and take stuff to charity shop. Will make tidying and cleaning much easier.
- Birthdays on calendar. Stock up on generic birthday cards, postage stamps etc
- Find cleaner and gardener
- Check you're on the best deal for gas electric water, internet etc
- Make sure home insurance, car insurance, MOT, car tax etc up to date and make sure you have expiry dates in your diary
-Get boiler, burglar alarm etc serviced as well as anything else that has an annual service, eg I have some trees that need trimming every couple of years so will get that done
- Get my bike serviced
- Sort out my paperwork, emails. I also need to organise my photos as have loads just on my phone
Will pop back with any more!
I am not London (midlands) so no useful broadband advice.
Compressed hours - it is a dynamic working thing in my world (I work for one of the big financial services companies). I do work all hours as have teams across UK and also India. It just means in theory I have a day to myself but I then use it if needed. Worked part time for years , This is better
Get a great Bluetooth headset so not chained to laptop. Use web-ex. Camera On works well for that, but check out your backdrop. Being brave and switching on camera (many people will not) helps stakeholders feel more connected to you.
Lots of brilliant advice here!
Add on personal shopping every 6 months to refresh work wardrobe
Outsource as much as you can - cleaner, online shopping set up with a monthly meal plan, batch cook, gardener etc or hire a nanny/Housekeeper.
I have friends that have worked as nanny/pa/housekeepers for parents in high jobs who are time poor. Obviously you pay more for this but they cook, sort children, buy kids clothes, organise and pack kids stuff for holidays, tidy the house (general day to day the families have also had weekly
Cleaners that do deep cleans), organising washing, cover additional hours/
Babysitting basically everything a stay at home Mum would do and more tbh! So that parents would come home to prepared meal, kids fed and in bed/ready for bed, homework done, house tidy, washing done, cakes made for the school cake sale,
Outfits sorted for dress up days and basically all everyday stress gone!
Sounds like you need someone to do the role I used to do. When I was studying for my PhD (literature based so I was completely flexible with my time) I looked after a little girl
- picked her up from school, homework, music practice, dinner, into pjs for parents coming in around 6.30
- took her to hairdressers, picked up things they needed from the city centre
- put away online grocery shopping, did day to day basics of cleaning (unloading washing machine, putting tumble dryer on, folding clothes, quick vacuuming round, emptying dishwasher)
- made sure to keep on top of school stuff so say night before a charity day at school I'd remind them or remind them about parents evenings etc.
- also I'd grab the odd pint of milk etc
- because I was so flexible I did full days during holidays, babysat in the evenings, and could cover if she was ill.
One of the parents was full time the other nominally 4 days a week.
Hope that helps as some of the ideas of stuff you mightn't have time to do / keep track of.
In work...a great mentor -challenging and supportive
I work full time and I’d recommend the following:
Get a gardener
Buy a slow cooker and a freezer big enough to store batches of meals.
Set up online shopping lists.
As soon as school news letter comes out put all dates (with reminders) in your phone calendar.
Get in the habit of taking photographs of party invitations as soon as they come in.
Buy a small store of appropriate party gifts and cards for your children’s age groups.
Once a quarter buy all the greetings cards (and stamps) you need and put reminders to post in your phone.
If you are travelling for work get a travel kit of toiletries and a sensible easy to pull/lift travel case.
Start training the family to get everything ready the night before. Lunches, uniform, stuff for extracurricular activities etc. Give them appropriate responsibility for doing this themselves.
Buy enough uniform for every day take my word for it waiting for the tumble drier to finish at 1am is no fun.
Amazon is your friend.
The one thing we don’t have is a cleaner but we’re considering it.
Don't do everything yourself Make sure your DH takes his share.
@bargainsgalore18 You've just reminded me my home insurance has expired. F*ck. Thanks for the list, so useful!
@RenaissanceBunny where do I find someone like you? That sounds terrific.
@Anothermnname Are any of your pals London-based and in need of work?!
Thanks everyone, am so grateful for these ideas.
I would add sort out any of those little jobs that need doing. Sourcing tradesmen, gettjng quotes and overseeing work is so so much easier when Not working. So get sorted that dripping tap, socket that needs replacing, windowsills that need painting. Even if it isn’t a massive issue now it will go when you don’t have the time
Cluster duck we are in Surrey! One now works as a primary teacher and the other has just swapped roles also but if you go through a nanny agency they should be able to find you someone like this! I won't lie it isn't cheap! (Nearly £40k a year!) but if you have that sort of money it is probably worth it!
@EmeraldVillage Loads of odd jobs to fix here. I need another three months off to sort this all!
@anothermnname: Sadly we probably have half of that amount! Au pair it might have to be (with weekly cleaner continuing of course). One of the reasons to go back is to save for the kids' education and that option would leave little for it sadly.
Reiterating a point above ^^
Take photos on your phone of party invites and any notes that come home from school. Create a photo folder so you can easily find them.
Buy a pack of envelopes for any notes/payments/permission slips to be sent back in. Fill them in the very day you get them.
Ensure you are set up for online banking.
Freeze sandwiches... do people really do this?