This week has been a particularly trying one! All my responsibilities, work, home, jobs and kids, seem to be conspiring against me and are on a collision course to take me down!
I have a number of deadlines due at work, it’s school holidays so all the kids are at home, my son starts kinder next week and the constant insistence that he isn’t going, is wearing thin. My husband’s work has hit a crisis point, and I’ve been dumped with more than the lions share of the home duties. Then there is my own business to run. I am consciously ignoring the washing basket overflowing in the laundry.
It’s been a little overwhelming!
I’m not having a pity party, this kind of week isn’t a regular occurrence, luckily and just a particularly tough one. But it did get me thinking as to ways to help manage it all.
How do you go about juggling work, home, jobs and kids? And what are your tips? Here are mine!
Prioritise your sleep!
There is 24 hours in a day right?! So who needs sleep!!!! YOU!!
Unless you have a newborn waking you for 3 hourly feeds, sleep is a priority! You need to be able to function. Do whatever you have to do to get sleep! My 3 year old son, co sleeps with us, and I was dead set against co sleeping, naively before I had kids. He has been in our bed from about the age of 12 months, and doesn’t look like leaving anytime soon.
But getting those kids into bed, be it kicking and screaming, by a reasonable time allows me to have that well-deserved “me” time. And while they are young, getting the kids to sleep, for some parents is the biggest challenge, but well worth the rewards if you can get that routine happening.
I don’t have all the answers, or know the secret to what makes them sleep, but here is what I have worked out!
- Try to resist giving them screen time to go to sleep with. This tends to just prolong them settling into sleep. (This is backed by plenty of studies and based on my own trial and error I tend to agree).
- If they aren’t sleeping at least get them in their room! Just playing, quietly, winding down to go to bed, Is generally good enough for me. We start with a book, then lights on for quiet play for about 5 minutes, then lights off. (My 3 year old will generally continue to play in the dark, but knows he has to stay in his room, and eventually he puts himself into bed.)
- Start the process early! After dinner at 5, they are in the bath by 6 and bed by 7! This doesn’t mean they go to sleep, they are up and down countless times, but generally by 8pm the excuses to get up have run out and they have no more options but to stay in there.
For me, I need a good couple of hours between the kids going to bed and me going to bed. So aim to have them in their room (if not asleep by 8) so you can get to bed by 10. This is good for your mental health, and it aligns with your natural circadian rhythm.
My final tip is lead by example with technology, leave the phone on the bench, switch off your mind, read a good book (or kindle) and get some sleep so you can function. You have the energy to enter the next day pumped and ready to go is vital is important for your whole family.
If anyone has a fix all solution, please feel free to share in the comments below.
Work is what you have to do at home, but don’t get paid for!
So your household chores, the washing the cleaning, the shopping. Here are my tips on making your ”work” life easier.
A lot of day to day basics that used to take time for our own mums, can be done online these days, so save yourself the stress of the weekly shop by doing as much as you can via the internet.
Check out your options in regard to the groceries, shop online and get it delivered! I get my weekly order delivered straight to my door, and have for the last 6 months, noticing a significant drop in my grocery bill. The catalogues are available to shop directly from so you won’t miss out on specials. And for those particular items you want to get from the local butcher or fresh produce, see if they will do the good old-fashioned delivery as well, I know my local butcher is a phone call away.
I reckon most of us are onto this, but if you aren’t you should be! Set up your banking for direct debits for bills, BPay what you have to, and regularly check your finances from the comfort of your own home. There should be really minimal reasons for heading into a bank branch these days or the Post Office to pay bills, so take full advantage of the convenience of online banking.
Hire a cleaner!
I struggle with this one, I don’t have a cleaner, but many of my friends do hire a local to get help cleaning the house. Personally I feel I would just have to clean up (toys, clear s
urfaces, tidy up) just as much., before a cleaner came to clean. And if I am already cleaning I may as well do it all myself.
But if your house is already tidy, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider a cleaner, for about $50 an hour you can get someone in to do the bathroom, kitchen and dusting, and this may ease the stress you have about staying on top of the housework.
And when I get to a state in life where the kids aren’t constantly pulling out toys as quickly as I am packing them up, I will probably get a cleaner. But for the time being I am willing to concede that while I have 3 kids under 6, living on top of toys is part of my life.
Get a dryer!
I don’t hang the washing on the line, unless the weather is super amazing! That’s 20 minutes, 2 times a day to get it all out on the line! With
5 of us in the house, the hum of the washing machine is a constant companion, and the rumble of the dryer is music to my ears! But, 40 minutes a day, or 4.5 hours a week standing at the washing line is not my idea of fun!
My mum would cringe at the thought, but apart from the essential delicate’s everything goes in the dryer and 120 minutes later its ready for me to collect. It’s a huge time saver as far as I am concerned, and well worth the investment.
Now if only someone could come up with a self iron and folding machine, and my life would be complete.
Home is where the heart is! So make time for yourself, make time for your partner, and make time for your kids. Your house is not your home, your home is what goes on inside
it, so take the time out you need to make sure your home life is as healthy, happy and harmonious one.
Trying to do it all will not make you happy, spending time with the ones you love will. So don’t stress about the small things, tell your partner to organise something to do on the weekend, or organise a park picnic with the kids. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, it just means making some time to be together.
If you don’t have a happy home life, how can you be happy? And if you have kids, your happiness will impact them too. If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything, please read my article here, on checking in on your mental health and wellbeing. If you don’t feel safe in your home, please seek help, support is out there, but if you don’t know where to turn too please email me directly. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The key factor in managing your job, along with all other aspects in your life comes down to communication. Regardless of your role, if you keep open lines of communication with your employer, manager and even other employees, this will help when trying to juggle it all. If you need time off because of a sick child, school commitment or an appointment, let your work know and together come to a solution that will keep everyone happy.
Work places are starting to recognise that work life balance is important, and some are recognising this quicker than others. If your employer is at the forefront of this, then they will know the benefits of flexible working arrangements. Keeping employees happy means increased loyalty and increased productivity in turn benefiting them.
Your job should be a sanctuary away from the home life and the kids, and your employer should trust you enough to know when you need assistance juggling everything. You are a valued employee, and so know your worth and try to negotiate an arrangement that suits everyone.
If you are not happy in your job, this will impact all other elements of your life, and I know it can be daunting and risky, and also very dependent upon your financial situation, but serious consideration needs to be given to what will make you happy in your employment life. Your happiness is vital to everyone in your life.
If you are looking at option to work from home, have a look at my article here, listing ways to earn money from home. And if you are dreaming of running your own small business but aren’t too sure how to start it up and get it out there, check out my article here, on starting a small business and taking it online. It might just be the push you need to change your life.
Everyone is different, and every child is different. I’m not going to try to tell you how to manage your kids. If you need help with your kids there are options out there, traditional day care, family day care (which worked best for my situation) and also friends and family to lean on for support.
Raising kids is one of the biggest challenges you (and me) will ever face, and there are plenty of experts, who have opinions on how this should be done, but in the end you will know what works for you and your family best.
Personally, for my family, regular routine, particularly around dinner, bath and bed, and a consistent safe loving environment for play, is what I found works for us. Which is why we chose a more intimate family day care option when looking for childcare. It took a few attempts to work out what worked best, including serious toilet training regression, but we got there in the end.
It can be tough, so know you aren’t alone, especially when the mum guilt kicks in! We do the best we can when it comes to our kids, and as long as that’s what you are doing that’s enough!
You are enough!
In the end we put so much pressure on ourselves, and inherently compete and compare ourselves with others. As women, we tend to feel good about ourselves by relying on the approval of our social circle, rather than relish in our own successes.
Feel confident in what you are doing and the decisions you are making, give yourself permission to be happy, and try to stop giving a crap about what everyone else thinks.
If you are juggling work, home, job and kids, do what you have to do to keep on top of things. Don’t compare yourself to others, pick your battles, and concede where you need a hand, ask for help!
You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t have to!