Working when you have children is exhausting. I have worked full time for a year, stopped work while on maternity work, and now I’m part time. These are my basic tips for anyone who is returning to work with children.
1. Get a cleaner. I really think this is important. I didn’t have one when I worked full time as it seemed like a waste of money. But my house was always a tip, and i would spend my weekends tidying – just to keep on top of it, it was never clean. Now I have someone come for 2 hours a fortnight – it keeps me sane! I am able to keep on top of things (just about) now. I wish I had had one when I was full time – I think it would have made things so much easier.
2. Double up on meals. When cooking something like spaghetti bolognaise I buy a big pack of mince, cook double and freeze half for one of my working days. This means there is always something to eat when I get home late starving!
3. Find time for you. When I worked full time I was desperate for ‘me time’ – I was never alone and never had time for my hobbies and It was hard. Make the most of. Any time you can get, even if it is just to sit quietly for half an hour.
4. Don’t stress the little things. I don’t iron, i don’t worry about everything being immaculate (never going to happen)! And I don’t worry if we have beans on toast for tea occasionally. Sometimes things go wrong – don’t make it more difficult than it has to be.
5. Enjoy your children. This is really number one. On Saturday mornings, we have a special breakfast (scrambled egg on toast usually), watch cartoons, get every toy out and sometimes we can’t see the floor. This is fine – we need to just relax for a couple of hours – quality time in very busy weeks.
6. Related to the above – but put aside some quality time for them. For example, we have a Friday film night, when we have a ‘film night tea’ popcorn, sometimes cake, and a kids film. We all look forward to this, it signals the start of the weekend, and it’s lovely snuggling up to a good Disney film.
Basically – working with children is hard. Now that I’m part time it’s easier – lots easier – but it still means busy, long days, where we leave the house at 8 and get back at 6 two days a week, and one half day. Do whatever you have to if it makes things easier.