Numero uno – Leave work, at work
It is so important to unwind and be 100% focused on your famiy when you get home. Whether you have a big car ride ahead of you, a short walk home or a journey on a jam-packed, smelly, public transport vehicle, take the time to get out of work mode and switch the mentality to mummy mode. If I have a stressful day at home and bring that home with me, the evening with the family is hugely impacted by that. It may be easier said than done but I can assure you that switching off once you leave the work place will be worth it!
2) Little or No Social Media until the Kids are out for the count!
This might seem pretty obvious, but keep the phones/laptops/tv’s to a minimal in the evenings. Myself and my partner started to realise that we were getting home, having dinner and then straight back on our phones to get our Facebook fix. A no-no when you are trying to have quality time with the kids! You end up shushing the poor mites because you’re in the middle of watching the Kardashians latest ridiculous stunt for publicity. Myself and my partner even restricted phone-time after the kids went asleep as it was taking over our quality time too! Having the chats with your partner once the mayhem is over is equally important too.
3) Prepare, prepare, prepare
Now, this is something that I KNOW I should do to make life easier, but we all have those evenings that you just want to do absolutely nothing once the kids are asleep. Laziness in the evening = mayhem in the morning! Doing the lunches in the evening, getting the baby bag ready, leaving out clothes for the kids and yourself will make for a much more stress-free morning. If your anything like me, it takes forever planning outfits for yourself let alone the kids as well so, put the extra few minutes aside in the evening to get it all done and then your main task in the morning is getting out that door on time (so long as the baby doesn’t decide to do a poo just before you leave, your toddler doesn’t have a melt down mid-getting dressed and your plumbing plays ball allowing you to wash as you please!)
4) Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Whether you’re a single mother or have a partner/husband by your side, do not be afraid to ask for help. I found myself taking a lot more than I should have been when I went back to work after my first born. I felt that I shouldn’t be asking for help and should be able to juggle it all myself. Reality – I could not juggle it ALL and your loved ones do not mind helping (and if they do, then have a word!!). Most men (sorry guys) have to be told what to do and once they are, they are aware of what is expected of them. We have a tendency to think men should know what needs to be done and then explode when we are left to do it all alone. I can assure you, men are different creatures. They really really have no clue what needs to be done haha S-P-E-L-L it out for them 🙂 Likewise if you are living with your mother or friend, ask for what you need help with. Chances are they are more than happy to help!
5) Dinner at the table – as a family
My 4 year old begs to eat her dinner on the couch watching The Simpsons every single night without fail. We stopped dinners on the couch due to more food and drink ending up on the floor and couch rather than belly’s – now it’s so we can have more family time and chat about what our days consisted of (more so our daughter filling us in on what the other kids had for lunch today or who got into trouble and didn’t get the much wanted star of the day – we have a gossip on our hands already clearly!).
6) Don’t forget the date nights/social life
As mothers who work, we tend to forget that we actually need time for ourselves too. Time at work, is not time for ourselves. Even though it feels like ‘free time’ because we’re not at home with the kids, it’s not. Organise a night with the girls once a month and allow your other half to do the same. Don’t forget the date nights either. Just because you are parents, doesn’t mean you have to become old farts and fall asleep infront of the telly every Saturday night at 9pm (us every week!). Get out there, have a few drinks, go to the cinema, go for a nice meal. Do it! And do it guilt free. The kids will want you to be happy when they are old enough to express it!
7) Will it matter in 5 years time?
We all have the occasional freak out when we are not on cue with what society says should be. Every one else’s child in creche is potty trained, mine isn’t – I need to take 2 weeks off work NOW and sort this. No you do not! Your child will not be in nappies at 16 years of age. Chill out and go with your gut – every child is different and mummy knows best. If you feel that something major is happening, take a step back and assess whether this will matter in 5 years time, if the answer is no, then you do not need to stress as much as you are.
8) It’s trial and error
Do what works for you and your family – forget every body else! It is a constant learning curve and as the days go on, you will discover what works best for you and your family. Forget what you SHOULD be doing, and go with your instinct.
By no means am I an expert – these are just my tips as a working mother. Hopefully they help and if anyone has any questions, just drop me a line!!