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What things make your life as a full time working parent easier?

(43 Posts)
mommathatwearspink Sun 12-Jul-15 18:27:14

I returned to work full time in January after maternity leave with DD. Since then it has been a constant struggle to balance everything. Myself and DP leave at 7:30am and return home after 6pm and I pick up DD from nursery on my way home. Looking for some advice on what things makes your life easier when you work full time? A cleaner is out of our budget unfortunately but we could maybe push to an ironer so that's a start.

jimijack Sun 12-Jul-15 18:44:56

Slow cooker use...alot.
Meal planning,
shopping online (I don't, can't afford to, I shop once a week at Aldi)
Chuck in a wash load every day, out on the line or on the maiden in summer, on radiators every evening, dry by morning smoothed and put away or ironed on a Sunday while watching country file (rock & roll) in winter.
Never go upstairs empty handed,
Hoover/dust clean kitchen/bathroom for 15 minutes every day or every other day, I clean my bathroom after a shower.
Floor wipes, quick mop floors when every one is in bed.
Get everyone in the house to help. Things like changing the bedding can be done by someone else at a weekend.
I never stop.

HeyMicky Sun 12-Jul-15 18:47:49

Cleaner (sorry, but it's true)
Meal planning
Starting and finishing half an hour early to beat the commuter rush
Get everything ready the night before
Not too much activity on the weekend
Find time to exercise
Go to bed early, no faffing

SexNamesRFab Sun 12-Jul-15 18:53:31

Cleaner (sorry - could you get one every other week?)
Online shopping
Chucking a wash in every day
Never ironing anything, ever
Getting DH to pull his weight
Doing home admin tasks/ haircuts etc on my lunch break/forcing myself to take a lunch break
Not being too hard on myself

julieann42 Sun 12-Jul-15 18:54:56

Do the washing in the evening and hang it out at night if the forecast is ok, bring it in when you get home from work, meal planning and making a big meal last several days.

I clean the bathroom whilst running the bath, quick spray and wipe keeps on top of things

pinkstrawberries Sun 12-Jul-15 18:56:32

I found working full time both home at night easy. We are now doing opposite shifts, and thay is more of a challenge.

You don't need a cleaner. I would just both do a bit as you go.

Everythingsgonegreen Sun 12-Jul-15 18:59:38

Husband who plays his part is pretty essential.

NotEnoughTime Sun 12-Jul-15 19:00:07

I feel really blush asking this but what is a slow cooker? I have seen a lot of posts about them but what do they actually do? What kind of meals can you cook in them? I'm a vegetarian so would it be worth me getting one?

FreeButtonBee Sun 12-Jul-15 19:02:09

I'd priorities cleaning over ironing any day!
On lie shop same day every week, rough meal plan every week, cook double portions and freeze half so you have a quick meal in freezer.

Bulk buy nappies and and wipes online, plus any othe rnon--consumables. Kitchen and living area tidied before bed every night. Bags packed before bed every night and if you can, check your own clothes are all sorted on a Sundsy night for the whole week.

StonedGalah Sun 12-Jul-15 19:02:53

Wfh a few days a week is a life saver.

Second doing a load of washing while cooking dinner. I then hang it up after dinner on my lakeland heated dryer. Leave clothes there for 24 hours (not with heater on!) and then fold the next night.

Do the next days lunches when dinner is cooking.

I also vacuum every other evening when dh is getting dd ready for bed.

Basically use all the time from when l walk in the door to when dd goes down getting everything done. She has always followed me around so still get to see her.

Then when she's down l get to rest not fucking tiring in the least

ATravellingCircusCame Sun 12-Jul-15 19:03:02

Lower your standards (unless they're already in the basement).

Don't waste time on ironing or money on an ironer.

Use the saved money to get a cleaner. Lower your standards so you only need a cleaner a few hours a week.

Don't wash stuff that has been worn once and is still fresh. Don't change DD every time she gets slightly mucky.

Batch cook/always cook extra for the next days lunch/supper.

Meal plan.

Shop online.

Be organised

And the biggest one; a nanny. But that's not financially possible for everyone.

HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs Sun 12-Jul-15 19:03:45

Meal planning - I cannot be without this.
I noticed a big change when I started letting DS watch a DVD for 30 mins when we get home on an evening, while I unload bags, make tea etc. Until then I was all for the anti-TV approach (I recall saying on many occasion "DS adores books, he wouldn't recognise Peppa Pig" cringe) but it was very stressful trying to manage him on an evening, when he was already wiped out from a full day at nursery. Don't feel guilty about it.

HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs Sun 12-Jul-15 19:07:21

A slow cooker will cook things like curry, soup, stew etc - things that are of a soft consistency. It's a pot with a lid that you can leave on a low heat all day.
I prepare my veg the night before and put everything in the ceramic pot in the fridge. Then in the morning lift the ceramic pot out of the fridge and into the electric heater part. Hey presto.

RCOR Sun 12-Jul-15 19:08:37

A slow cooker is an electric appliance, mine is like a oval shaped pot with a very heavy ceramic insert and a glass lid. It cooks the food very slowly on a gentle heat over 4-6 or 8 hours depending on setting.

Are you all veggie? If so it probably would be useful to have a veggie curry or chilli simmering away thru the day ready for your return. If only you are veggie, then you might just be making extra work for yourself, as you'd have to cook separate meals.

BillStickersIsInnocent Sun 12-Jul-15 19:10:32

A lot of what's been said above. The most important thing for us has been keeping weekends really low key, we're all knackered and have been out of the house all week so need the down time.

Being kind to yourself, eating well, getting enough sleep and exercise etc

I work from home one day a week which helps enormously (one less outfit to sort, can get a few jobs done too)

We have a whiteboard in the kitchen with who's doing what and when including all pick ups, every day is different so that really helps us to feel organised.

Now I just have to follow my own advice!!

bakingaddict Sun 12-Jul-15 19:15:37

I find a cleaner for 3 hours a week online shopping and a DH who does the rest of the housework frees up weekends to spend time as a family and keeps me sane. I cook, sort the online shopping and meal plan. We both work full time

AlanPacino Sun 12-Jul-15 19:15:57

Have everything laid out for the next morning as quickly as possible after you get in in the evening.

Make the DC's as responsible for their stuff as you can.

Chest freezer and cupboard full of the necessaries to make family favourites quickly. Reminders on your phone to pull stuff out the freezer in the morning.

As many duplicate school uniform items as you can so not always needing to put a wash on.

Be selfish with your weekends to catch up with housework etc.

Use services for things you used to do yourself, I use a mobile car valet company.

AlanPacino Sun 12-Jul-15 19:17:49

My ironer is my tumble drier. I put out outfits in for 5 minutes and then hang or fold them flat and hey presto they look ironed!

TeddyBee Sun 12-Jul-15 19:44:59

My nanny is lovely, but doesn't do anything other than look after the kids - when we just had two relatively self sufficient toddlers, our previous nanny would clean and tidy and have them ready for bed when I got home. That doesn't happen since we added a baby into the mix. I get home to bloody chaos every night, and have to feed and clean the children in forty minutes before bed. House looks like a bomb hit it, every day.

Anyway, that aside, I generally batch cook at the weekend and shove Tupperware full of pasta sauce and chilli and so on in the fridge so that cooking just involves reheating and making pasta or rice during the week. I use the slow cooker and just poke at it a bit to make sure it's alright through the day. Then I do all the washing at the weekend, normally three big loads and a nappy wash, plus lodger's bedding and towels. During the week I use a quick wash for anything that is urgent but try not to wash otherwise (apart from the midweek nappy wash). Roomba gets shoved on now and then, but cleaning and hoovering is sporadic at best. I may have to give in and get a cleaner if I ever get promoted.

Kids eat brown food during the week and nicely at the weekend. Baby eats jar food.

Husband is reasonably helpful but works away from home a lot.

NotEnoughTime Sun 12-Jul-15 20:16:42

Thank you HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs and RCOR for explaining that to me.
There are 4 of us in our family-2 eat meat and 2 don't but at home we all eat veggie so maybe a slow cooker will be useful for us too.

NotEnoughTime Sun 12-Jul-15 20:28:34

Disclaimer:I work part time not full time but anything that makes life easier is alright by me {lazy emoticon}
I thought I would mention something that I have found very helpful which is buying big boxes of cards and wrapping paper once or twice a year.
I get mine through a woman at work (I think the company she uses are called Book People-you can do it online yourself though) and they are extremely reasonable and good quality too. They have saved my bacon maybe I shouldn't use that expression as a vegetarian grin on many an occasion.

chanie44 Sun 12-Jul-15 20:43:13

My children barely eat, so we often don't cook a proper meal. We may do them sausages, which they will pick at and OH and I will have an omelette or something.

Get prepared the night before - I make sure shoes and costs are ready. I eat breakfast at work.

I'm trialling using paper plates for dinner on particularly busy days. My children enjoy using them.

AlanPacino Sun 12-Jul-15 21:56:19

Oh yes my breakfast is a banana during the first lull at work.

Preminstreltension Sun 12-Jul-15 22:14:26

Don't do too much washing. Don't do any ironing. The mums at school who don't work iron their children's uniforms and I feel quite cross with them! I buy poly cotton everything and wash it only when actually visibly unclean and never iron.

V simple meals during the week. Soup/egg on toast/fish fingers. Rely on school dinners and a good breakfast to provide other nutrients. Do not give in to pleas for packed lunch. I am only too pleased to outsource 5 out of the 21 meals a week I have to provide.

Bulk buy gifts, wrapping paper, cards. Protect weekends so that you only accept very important invitations rather than spend the weekend trailing two children to different parties in different parts of town.

Single parent here so I am in survival mode most of the time and I never, ever turn the TV on sad

Favouriteworstnightmare Sun 12-Jul-15 22:36:57

Our house has similar timings;
- house is cleaned as we go - swiffer & floor wipes are my go to inbetween a good steam mop session.
- regular wipes downs whilst tea is cooking.
- slow cookers are a god send, or if you do a roast, chuck in some jacket potatoes for the following day & mix up some fairy cakes / Vic sponge or a brownie etc for quick puddings in the week.
- pack lunches / leftovers made up night before
- clothes organised for all on 5 hangers each so can just select pre made outfit - even pants / bra hung
- bags ready night before
- batch cooking where poss, soup, mince & gravy or spag Bol
- cook sausages then freeze - ideal for slow cooker.
- had a list of quick go to dinners & ensure ingredients are in the house & meal planned.
- ensure you have a quiet weekend evey now. & again.
- regular bed times & routines

Good luck! x

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