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Work, Home, Jobs, Kids – Overwhelmed?

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!

  1. 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).
  2. 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.)
  3. 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!

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.

Groceries

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.

Banking

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

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. (nicole@mumsonline.com.au)

Job

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.

Kids

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!

 

 

 

 

 

22 Comments

  • Jim Kulk

    Well I’m not exactly a mum, but I do know where you’re coming from. It’s never easy managed a life that is centred around work, family and fun. I have been one of those people that worked to much and has very little to show for it. I loved the little feet in the bed picture, reminds of days gone by. We went through that with our kids and grandkids. You’re correct in saying that everyone is different and every child is different. My own daughter had a very ordered life and brought up two great children. They were well, but fairly disciplined, greatly loved and directed towards achievements in their academic and sporting life. All the way through this “fun” was also an important consideration. However, her third, and born much later, child suffers from high spectrum autism and this has thrown her normally, neat focused world into chaos. I will be sure to direct her to your site. I’m sure both her, and myself , can learn a lot from it. Thank you Nicole for a very informative post.

    • Nicole

      So true Jim, the struggle is real, these days with so many commitments. I’m sure you daughter had her fair share of challenges by the sounds of it when her third child came along and didnt “fit the mould” of the previous two. Please do direct her this way, I’d love to get her take on things, and potentially share her story if she is willing. Thanks for such an honest comment Jim, and I wish you and your family all the best.

  • Lee Ann

    You have given some valuable tips that will be of great help to many of us. I am lucky that I only have 2 more children at home now and they are 10 and 13.
    They are old enough to pitch in around the house but not responsible enough to be trusted home alone in order for me to work outside of our home. We have only lived here 2 years and have no family here. My husbands employer relocated us therefore we left our friends and family behind. My husband is out of town at least 5 days a week now, so it is all up to me.
    Working from home creates it’s own obstacles in itself.
    You have given me a few tips that even I can give a try, like ordering groceries online. Especially since the nearest grocery store is at least 30 minutes away.
    Thank you for putting this together.
    I hope your days like the one you described here are few and far between.

    • Nicole

      Hi Lee Ann, I feel for you, with no close family for support it would be all that more tougher, and you managing it all while your husband is at work. I find its the lack of contact with my husband when he works crazy hours that I miss the most, just that comradeship that being a couple going through the motions together has. And very true working from home does create other challenges, and I find distractions. Please let me know how you go with the online groceries, and I hope it does help just that bit. Yes I think it was just a particularly tough week, and not hoping to repeat anytime soon.

  • Sophia Melendrez

    As a single mom of a toddler, I can relate to you . Ever feel like your coffee is “broken” or not working anymore? Seriously some days I feel like I have drank 5 cups of joe and I can barely keep my head up. Life! Like right now it is 10:30 p.m, it is not even TOMORROW and I am ALREADY tired lol. If I had the income I would so do what you suggested, and hire a cleaner. That would be luxury at its best! I would love for someone to come over and work on my BACK instead lol ( maybe a house cleaner with a happy ending? ) But I wouldn’t trade my mommy life for the world, I will also tell you that. I repeat myself, LIFE!

    • Nicole

      Hi Sophia, being a single mom, my hat goes off too you!! My coffee is “broken” all the time 😛 and just have to keep refilling!! I do tend to use natural remedies to keep my mind clear so that I dont suffer from an emotional overload, I have written about my mental health here, please feel free to check it out. Most mum’s I know wouldn’t change it for the world, but sometimes that doesnt make the struggle any easier. 🙂 Ohhhhhh I’d love a good massage right about now! 😛 Nothing like a good relaxing hot stone to keep me going, but they are very few and far between these days.

    • Nicole

      Thanks for your comment Mariette, hopefully it gets easier when the kids get abit older, but I hear it comes with a whole set of new challenges. 🙂

  • Lori Camacho

    This Mum (mom for me) stuff is hard! Those are all really good tips! I have the cleaner and family childcare situation but it all feels like not enough sometimes. My son is 6 now so he can do some things during the day on his own while I tend to my blog. I love blogging and sharing my 16 year career in this way. Still working on it but getting there everyday.

    • Nicole

      It so is Lori, glad you found the tips useful, and it does feel like it gets on top of you at times!I am so glad you have found something you love! I too feel that blogging keeps my mind busy and enjoyable. Good luck with your blog, if you need help with gaining more traffic to your site, please feel free to check out my review on The Wealthy Affiliate.

  • Jill

    Hi Nicole,
    What wonderful tips you have given on finding the balance and keeping everyone happy.
    You are so right that getting enough sleep is important and teaching your children good bedtime habits, reading to them helps. When my older son was little he was extremely active and not easy to get to bed so I put a mattress down with the playpen around and toys inside for him to play. I would go off to bed and read and after a while would go into his room, find him asleep and put him into his own bed.
    As a grandmother I have sleep-overs at my daughter’s house, invited by my grandson and we co-sleep which is great fun. Wish I had done it with my children. Have always read the children stories and continue to do so with Ben.

    • Nicole

      Hi Jill, we do just have to roll with it don’t we! My son is completely different to my daughter, and so we needed to find ways to get him to bed without a battle. Sounds like your idea of the playpen is a good one, if my youngest looks like she will be a night owl, I may use this!! Reading is so important, and I am glad you are able to do this with your grandchildren too. What a special time to enjoy.

  • Dan

    I am a husband and I feel my wife’s hardship for being at home raising our 3 children. I was always away from home so I do not have the time to help her with the chores. I think being a mom is one of the most difficult job out there. As you said it is a 24 hour job that you don’t get paid for.
    It is very important for mothers to give time for themselves especially time to relax and refresh.
    Your suggestions above will be very helpful and I think they are just appropriate.

    • Nicole

      Hi Dan, make sure you wife knows how much you appreciate her, I’m sure she would love to hear it! And I am glad you can recognize all she does. Please let me know how you go with the suggestions, and if your wife has any tips to share I’d love to hear from her.

  • Hanna

    This is exactly life of a mum! Well put together! I remember the same scenario when my kids were younger (they`re older now), and sometimes the overwhelming load got me – but at the end of the day, you are just happy and fulfilled for all the love you get from your family – your home. Thanks for sharing! – and i love your logo:)

    • Nicole

      I’m so glad to hear that I am not the only one who finds it overwhelming at times. I know I have my girlfriends to support me, but feel, especially on social media, that we only see the highlight reel of peoples lives so hope this article helps others to know they aren’t alone and that social media isn’t the only side of a story.

  • Aria Len

    You made an excellent point about sleep! I need to do a better job at scheduling sleep. It’s a work in progress, but I’m super stressed and haven’t been sleeping much lately and I feel like I’m constantly going. This is someone who doesn’t have kids so I can only imagine how much more overwhelming things can be when you add kids to the equation.

    • Nicole

      Ooooohhh Aria Len, I love sleep so much!! You absolutely have to try and get it when you can!! Hopefully you are able to find a way to help you relax and sleep improves. I’ve seen some great meditation websites lately. I will see if I can find a link.

  • Jeremy

    We just had our first child who is 4 months old now and we are still getting used to where we can fit our household duties and errands in. I love your suggestion about getting groceries delivered. We both dread going to grocery store on the weekend when one of the things a weekend is for is rest! Speaking of rest, I also like the importance you stressed about sleep. It is definitely an important part to include in our lives or else we’ll feel like doing even less the next day! Thanks for the tips on juggling these busy and hectic part of our lives!

  • Marla

    I completely get where you are coming from. It does seem that a mom’s job is never done. I know that the family is relaxing while I am still putting away laundry or loading the dishwasher or whatever else. I agree, all is more easy if you get plenty of sleep yourself. I believe when I have enough sleep, everybody’s day is easier the next day. I am more calm and patient. I also need my own time at the end of the day. Thanks for the great article.

  • Fleur Allen

    I’m with you Nicole prioritise sleep. I love to sleep and I have learnt not to feel guilty about making it a priority – I know that sounds crazy, right? But it is actually a gift not only to yourself but everyone around you.

    In our household to assist create the ‘wind down’ environment, I diffuse lavender oil from about 5 pm on. It doesn’t solve crazy hour but it certainly starts calming everyone down as a preparation for the going to bed routines.

    I definitely need to get a cleaner but a do have a dryer and it is currently winter and it keeps me sane!

  • nikolina

    Wow, this is an article that exactly describes my life. I feel like I’m juggling million stuff all at once, and I simply cannot drop anything down. It all comes with the stress of feeling that everything would fall apart if I stop.
    You actually inspired me to change my job and try to shift to working from home. This would make everything so much easier.

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