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Time management - need help!

(14 Posts)
Solo2 Thu 13-Aug-09 19:08:23

This is my first posting here smile. Any helpful tips with time management? I am juggling wildly and haven't yet 'dropped a ball' but it's been non-stop for 8+ yrs now! Solo parenting (from the start), with no family to help out and running my own business single-handedly, full-time, I feel constantly pulled between different needs, without any time left over for me. My days start at 4.30am, when I get a valuable hour before first child is awake and end at 10pm, when last child has been asleep only 30 mins and I'm too tired to do anything but crash out and read myself to sleep. Not watched TV/ seen a movie for 8 yrs/ been out/ dated/ done any leisure pursuits. It's taken 8 yrs to find time to join Mumsnet and 5 days (I think) to find time to post! smile It's taking 20 mins so far, to type this, with constant interruptions from children....

Wise women, how do you do it - anyone else, who parents alone, with no family support (and no ex) and works full-time running own business? When do you ever feel on top of housework, different children's needs, business admin., work itself and even some time for leisure for yourself?

Overmydeadbody Thu 13-Aug-09 19:10:22

Gosh, it sounds like you do too much.

Either srop some things, or outsource them - you know, get a cleaner, send your ironing out, team up with other mums to share things like taking kids to school, clubs etc.

mamas12 Thu 13-Aug-09 19:28:24

How old are the dc? I think there are age appropiate chores to do all over the house you know. Even getting them to help you with the business for a small fee. But as over says delegattion is the best thing for time management.
Manage by delegation

Solo2 Thu 13-Aug-09 19:49:26

Yes. I do too much. I do everything really! I already recently got a cleaner and a gardener but am not sure I can afford it longterm. DCs are 8 yr old twin boys and do v limited chores, like hanging up coats, putting away shoes and v occasionally, pulling wet laundry out of washer. Trying to get them to do the stuff they need to do - homework, music practice, takes all my time anyway and they get really stroppy if I suggest they do more domestic tasks. Fights over this take so long, I give up and just do it myself. It's the classic trap - if you want something done fast and right, do it yourself! They're too young to help in any way with business (a professional business allied to medicine). I constantly feel pulled between outsourcing more (eg I've always done all my own admin./ accounts/ typing etc etc) or feeling like I can't afford it, as I have just enough to manage (though have made life choice to prioritise private schooling for DCs). What would others expect an 8 yr old boy to do as chores?

mamas12 Thu 13-Aug-09 20:09:34

Give them chores that would impact on them.
Dishwasher duty because you need clean plates/curlery to eat on.
Putting away the shopping (do you shop online?)
Peeling chopping preparing veg for cooking
Timing cooking
Clearing away the table things and fillin dishwasher before pudding.
Tidying bedroom (putting everything left on floor IN their beds/bags etc.)

I realised a lot of free time giving mine responsiblity for packing their own bags and, not chasing them for washin, if it's not in the wash basket it doesn't get washed and it's not my fault is it.
Sure you can think of loads and actually ask them what they could do for you/themselves.

mamas12 Thu 13-Aug-09 20:11:25

Also walking home from school (if poss)
If they have after school activities get in a rota with other parents.

Reward yourselves with regular treats with consultations on when we finish so and so we'll be able to do blah de blah.

ridingjoker Thu 13-Aug-09 20:25:46

i dont have 8 yo of my own. but my nephew stays with me regular.and my brother makes him chip in most chores.

he does the folding and putting away of non-ironing laundry like pj's and towels successfully.i just stick all his and DB in seperate basket for them to sort out when they're here.

can make his own bed. this involves getting out spare folding bed and putting away if i haven't had time to do it when they come to babysit

wash dishes and put away.

i do know that my mum used to have us give kitchen.bathroom floor a quick wipe with cloths(use those wet wipes these days) at that age. it wasn't great. but damn site better than the splashy manky mess we used to make having baths. and will suffice if visitors till you get a chance to give it a proper clean.

also...... as soon as they are big enough to reach in the bath the rule is always dry up the bath with your used towel to gather up manky marks and hair before bunging in washing pile. again... wont be spotless. but saves the bath getting that crummy stuck on dirt ring if you have visitors, and makes your job of cleaning a little bit quicker when you do get chance to do it.

my mum was single parent with 5 dc. own business. i do remeber once we got to high school and had home economics lessons you had to take a turn at making the dinner one night a week. chances were at least once a week you would get a sandwhich and packet of crisps from the younger ones.. but did the job. obviously this not until your dc are bit older. but food for thought grin

at 8 yo they should be capable of making a packet lunch up for the next day if they have them. even if you want to make the sandwich. they can get the rest of stuff ready for next day.

my mum had a housekeeper when we were little. she used to be there for when we got home from school. make dinner for us (and leave a portion for my mum) iron and tidy till my mum got home. she came extra during school hols. i remember her waking us during the summer hols by taking duvet off and start stripping bed to wash sheets shouting "if i'm up working your up working" , get up and do something or i will make you help me clean.

crazy old battleaxe of a lady, but really perfect for looking after 5 loose cannons while my mum worked.

Solo2 Fri 14-Aug-09 18:57:08

Thanks for the tips. I'll try to get the DCs to help out more but every time I tell them to, they have a big reaction - that then takes up so much time that I don't have...or it seems like that, a lot of the time!

AMAZINWOMAN Sat 15-Aug-09 08:40:52

Hi Solo 2,

When my kids are in school, they have to be in their bedrooms at a certain time for quiet time. I know they aren't asleep, but it really helps knowing that there is a certain time that there will be peace.

Can tax credits pay for a registered childminding club?

I'm not sure I ever feel on top of everything
as I am juggling work, study and kids, housework and cooking meals.

I am also learning to ignore my kids moaning when i ask for help. Even when they help, I'm sure it creates more mess than before they helped but they need to learn. One day my kids will leave home and they need to know how to do things for themself.

So when they vacuum, (which they block as they vacuum up pens etc!) or make a meal (how can making a sandwhich invlove using every single surface and every plate in the kitchen?) I'm trying to focus that they are helping and learning.

As for movies, can you get two. let the kids watch theirs in their bedroom as a treat while you watch downstairs?

AMAZINWOMAN Sat 15-Aug-09 08:46:21

As for fights over homework and music practice, what would happen if they didn't do their homework?

My kids get a detention or in primary school no star/reward if they didn't do homework. And at home I have just said homework needs to be done. If you don't do it, then I won't let you watch TV, internet etc until it's done.

Luckily they have always done their homework without me ever having to nag.

Is there a different approach you can use? maybe pocket money/ treat for doing homework without nagging?

drinkyourmilk Sat 15-Aug-09 08:51:40

It's amazing how quickly kids can do things (and do them well) when it's eating into their time - tidy room before seeing movie - but we must leaving in 20 mins to get there ontime and i will check things are in the right place. You can stay up to play monolpoly with me/watch james bond - but we're starting in 15 mins and the dishes need washing etc etc. But i'm horrid. And mean grin

shoptilidrop Sat 15-Aug-09 09:36:11

You must be shattered. I know that feeling of not having enough time and too many things to do and that causes a stress in its self.
I work 25 hours a week, and have got a 3yr old DD and an old dog. Most of the time its ok, ocassionally when you throw a couple of extra chores/visits/whatever in the mix it all becomes a bit stressful and i think i cant cope.
The only way is getting the boys to help out more i think. My DD who is 3 does do a lot. She makes her own bed, clears away her things, sets the table. Sorts washing/loads machine. Gets her own clothes ready etc... most days shes willing some days i have to shout! She helps with doing the garden too. Sometimes i feel bad as she has to help so much. But she is in this family with me and we have to help each other out.
If you have no family, could you get some registered childcare for a few hours a week just so you get a break? Im sure the cleaner and gardener will help a lot. I used to have a cleaner and wish i could still afford one.

queenofdenial2009 Mon 17-Aug-09 20:37:50

It is hard, no kidding. But I'm confused by your OP and the fact that you have 8 year old twins - why is one going to bed at 10pm and one getting up at 4.30am?

I would be tempted to focus on a schedule first. Also, do they ever go to friend's houses after school or have sleepovers? That's another way to get things done and also a useful threat if they don't do their chores.

My daughter is 4 and regularly tidies up, lays the table and helps (badly) with the hoovering. She also knows that she does not get certain things e.g. TV, story if she doesn't behave. Make sure you follow through on any threats.

Solo2 Tue 18-Aug-09 13:50:28

Hi queenofdenial! It's me who goes to sleep at 10.30pm and wakes at 4.30am (to get an hr and a half without twins work etc etc). One twin is usually asleep by 9pm and could often sleep ontill 7.30am/8am (but has to be woken at 6.25am school days). but the other twin often doesn't sleep till 9.30pm (by which time I'm exhausted) and then wakes around 6am, full of energy, bouncing into my room for a hug!

We don't yet do sleepovers for two reasons: mostly because i just couldn't handle hosting other children overnight here, as well as my twins on my own and, also because my twins and their friend-types are v incompatible. One is v popular with all children and has been known to 'steal' his twin's friends when they come for play dates. The other is much better with adults than children and when we have twin+friend each, playdates, each set of boys turns on the other or geeky twin gets left out by all three others!

BTW, since starting this thread, I've been doing little bits to get DSs to help more. They don't like it, except the novelty of doing it the first time but maybe the 'drip, drip' effect of little moves in the right direction will help.

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