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Returning to work after mat leave - what does your day/week look like?

(4 Posts)
6monthsandcounting Tue 13-Feb-18 15:09:33

Hi all.

I've got a 9 month old DS and since Jan have been pretty much full time at work. I should caveat by saying that I am technically self employed and also the main earner, so I have worked in some capacity since he was 4 months old due to no mat package and pressure to keep income and clients. I don't mind admitting I had (and probably still have shades of) PND as a result of the stress and guilt.
The darkness has subsided somewhat and my relationship will, I hope, survive, but I need to organise my time in a way that doesn't grind me to dust again.

After the usual anarchy of the first few months, I feel like we have a window of opportunity to put some structure into our day. My OH and I are complete dickheads with regard to work - we take on too much and suffer extreme stress as a result. Having made a pact to be less idiotic, I want to restructure my weekdays to give myself a fighting chance of a decent (dare I say happier) existence. I used to love the flexibility of being self employed but I'm really suffering from the lack of structure right now, and I'm still riddled with guilt about working. I want to make some positive changes and structure my week so I can spend more time with my son, basically, and maybe actually cook my dinner before 9pm once in a while (that last bit is unlikely, I know) grin

So...for anyone who has returned to work...has anyone found a balance that you feel good about? How many days do you work? Do you do a few longer days then take some out? Or work 5 shorter days? What time does your day start and finish?

I'd love to hear about what has worked for others on here...

KTCluck Tue 13-Feb-18 15:44:03

My DD is 9 months too. I've just recently gone back to work (doing full time hours over 4 days with a lengthy commute, out the house 7-7) so I'm by no means an expert, but this is what seems to be working so far:

I have a set timetable of what needs to be done when. Work days this is bare minimum - load of washing in and quick tidy upstairs in the morning, washing drying and kitchen and living room cleared before bed. DH does nursery/ grandparent drop offs and pick ups. He is in first and spends time with DD then I take over, have a short play and put her to bed while he cooks.

On my day off (varies each week) I clean upstairs in short bursts against the clock in the morning whenever DD is happy playing. The afternoon is then free just to spend with her. I also make sure to sort my clothes, DDs clothes and pack her nursery bag for the next 2-3 days on that day.

Weekend - DH takes her out for a few hours early Saturday AM for me to clean downstairs and have some time to myself. Sunday the same while I change the beds and do any other jobs. I sort outfits and bags again on Sunday night to last until my day off. DH has responsibility for meal planning, cooking, work lunches, and gets the shopping on his way home from work on my day off.

It means we have definite free time set aside, and work days are as stress free as possible.

Like I said, it's working well so far but I'm not sure what'll happen if we have a bad week and get behind. I think dropping my standards a little bit has helped! I now only iron the absolute necessities and the house isn't as clean as it used to be but I've accepted that's just the way it has to be for now. I'd def consider a cleaner if I find things are getting too much and finances allow.

I have the benefit of a job that I don't have to take home with me. It must be harder if you're self employed. Maybe set aside strict periods of time where work is not allowed?

6monthsandcounting Tue 13-Feb-18 21:19:07

@KTCluck you sound super organised. And your DH sounds amazing! My OH isn't...how can I say this...very domestic? He does do a fair amount but food is a bone of contention (I do all food buying and dinner cooking, bar the once a fortnight dish from him). The domestic load is absolutely on me which is why I'm so keen (desperate!) for routine that works. As I've had a baby with him now, so that horse has bolted 😁

I like the sound of how you've allocated time.
If I think about it, OH has discovered he loves popping out at the weekend wearing our son so I do get to have a long luxurious shower then! I think maybe it's also about trying to be a bit more routine about activities we like, not just the chore-like ones. I really want to go swimming once a week with my son- it's early, 8.45am so I can get to work after if I alter my childcare hours and stick an autoresponder on telling clients to politely bugger off until 11am! A routine would benefit them too...I def need boundaries on my availability.

And you're right about bringing the work home. We are both hugely guilty of not having a divide. Our son has carved out his space in our lives but once he's in bed we can occasionally both succumb to working (when really I should be in bed, as we have teething right now and sleep is a bit 🤔)...

How is your DD's sleep? What's your morning and evening routine like if you don't mind me asking?

We have get up bf around 6/6.30, then bottle and porridge, childcare 8-7, then bf, bath and in bed at 8. It can take anything from 10 to 40 mins for him to drop off though, so dinner is frequently rather late!

I used to love cooking and batch cooking, so I also want to figure out a few hours in the week to focus on that.

Reading this back, I think I need to remarry into money, sack work off, and hire a housekeeper grin

KTCluck Tue 13-Feb-18 22:31:03

Oh don't be too jealous of my DH! He is fab and I'm very lucky that he's a good cook, but his other domestic skills leave a lot to be desired! Left to him there would be no cleaning done at all as he just doesn't see what needs done, and he is the messiest human I've ever met! Before going back to work though I instigated a good chat about what had to be done each day and who would do what. He would have no clue otherwise but has stuck to his side of the bargain and now he's aware of what has to be done (I swear MIL must have just done everything in secret when he was a kid hmm) he does help out with my share too sometimes Your DH might surprise you if he has defined jobs that he's chosen. Although you might be stuck with the cooking.

Honestly, DD's sleep isn't great. It takes a while to get her down (around 8 for us too) and typically I only get about 45mins to an hour of her in her cot and me downstairs. Then it's bed for me and her in with me. As long as it's long enough for me to eat, catch up with DH and do a quick tidy I can cope with that. She's also breastfed and feeds a few times per night still but most nights that's not really a problem as we get back to sleep quickly. It's less stressful if I don't look at the time! There's been some horrible nights though with teething and illness resulting in hours awake. On those nights DH will take her downstairs for a bit so I at least get a few hours - we are both tired but at least have both got some sleep.

Routine wise I tend to be up about 6, get sorted and then get DD up and sorted from 6:30, heading out to work at 7. DH leaves about 7:30 and drops her off. He gets longer in bed but I enjoy that time with her. If she wakes too early though he has to get up and help if she's not happy being plonked in her cot. Evening it's literally quick play, bath, feed and sleep. We are lucky in that she has all meals at GPs / nursery. I make sure all meals are with us on days off though.

Batch cooking is something we definitely need to adopt more! Slow cooker is ideal but it's not always easy finding the time in the morning.

It's easier said than done but I think it's really important to do something for ourselves too. DH has a few too many hobbies and gets plenty of time to himself, so I've had to remind him that sometimes I need time too. I try once a month to catch up with friends child-free for a few hours, usually Saturday afternoon or night. We've agreed that anything either of us wants to do has to be put on the calendar and agreed between us.

It sounds like you should definitely book in swimming time, and set limits on work time. I often use alarms or timers on my phone and when it goes off, unless I'm minutes away from finishing what I'm doing I stop. I used to be a bit of a perfectionist but I'm far happier now I've realised the house doesn't fall down if I haven't vacuumed one corner. I just start on that one next time!

Have to say though I'm liking the marrying for money and housekeeper idea though. Sorry DH! grin

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