Being a working mum can sometimes feel like being a juggler in the circus, with so many things pulling you in different directions all at once. Making time to work, for your children and for yourself can seem completely impossible at times, which is why I’ve come up with these top tips to prioritize your time as a busy working mum.
Balancing work with Under-5s
If you are working from home and looking after children under 5 it can seem like an impossible combination but it doesn’t have to be that way. Schedule your work around their nursery and daytime nap times so that you know you have some dedicated peace and quiet.
Don’t be tempted to do household chores while the children sleep, instead of work. Do those while they are awake as they will love getting involved and trying to help and copy what mummy is doing.
Make the most of their bedtime to catch up on any tasks you couldn’t do during the day, but also to take time out for yourself and for your partner if you have one. This is the time to rest and recuperate so that you don’t end the day feeling totally frazzled.
If you work outside of home it may be that bed time is the only time you get to sort the house out but don’t let this be a solo task – rope in your partner and older children to help you – it’s their house too.
Make sure you set boundaries so that work time is for work and family time is for family. It’s not good to be checking emails and taking work calls when you should be with your children and partner.
Organise your house so that you have a dedicated work space and get your children to help organise their own play spaces too. That way you will be able to concentrate and won’t be spending all your time clearing up after your children.
Balancing work with school-age children
If you have school-age children it makes it somewhat easier to organise your working day as you know exactly which hours you will have free to concentrate.
Get up earlier than they do so you can get all the breakfast, bags, coats and lunches ready in advance, then all you need to do is get yourself dressed and ready while they are eating their breakfast. This type of approach really does make a huge difference in the mornings.
It’s always tempting when children start school, to sign them up for every activity going. When my boys were younger they did a different sport every single day, as well as other activity clubs, because we thought it was the best for them.
But as they were different ages and in different clubs in different places, I ended up being a taxi driver rushing from place to place, and became incredibly stressed. It also meant that traffic made me miss out on the things I wanted to and I became incredibly grumpy.
It took me a while to realise that I was doing all this and my boys actually didn’t want to do the clubs – they were only going along with it to please me! Don’t overload your children with activities!
Organising family meal times
Fitting in time to shop and cook can be tricky as a busy working mum in between commuting and taking children to activities, but with just a bit of organising you can save yourself and amazing amount of time.
Try getting your regular shopping delivered to save time – it might also stop you throwing impulse buys into your trolley and saves all the stress of dragging tired children around the supermarket.
Plan your weekly meals so you know exactly what you need to buy – that way you will waste less food and money and always know what’s going to be for dinner any night of the week.
When you cook an evening meal, cook more than you need as you can have the leftover portion for lunch the following day. Freeze any other spare portions so that you always have meals to hand.
While children can be fussy eaters, try to stick with the same meal for all the family and eat together at the same time. This will save an inordinate amount of time and gives you a chance to catch up as a family as well.
Final tips for prioritising time:
- Do all those 2 minute chores as soon as they come up
- Do a different household chore each day
- Write a to do list each day
- Limit your time on social media and emails
As you can see, there are many small changes you can make to the way you run your household and juggle your time, to make working while raising a young family, enjoyable rather than an overwhelming nightmare.
For ideas on how to get your children helping at home you can check out my “Parents guide of Age appropriate tasks for your children”