Tips for back to work mums

I’ve just made it through my first two months at work and probably my first desk job in about five years.

Going back to work is a real eye opener for you and for the family.  There’s stress, and tears, smiles and pizza on a Tuesday, BBQ chicken on Thursday when you’ve had enough.  The baby gets sick at daycare your first week back.  The big kids can’t believe their luck when they get to catch the bus.

Here are my tips for surviving the working week grind with kids (and maybe an absent partner) and saving your sanity:

  1. Do as much as you can the night before. Make lunches, bottles and lay out the clothes the night before.  Guaranteed if we don’t do this we leave the house 5-15 minutes late.
  2. Preplan dinners. Have an idea in your head what you’re having for dinner each night of the week that you’re at work.  Get hubby to cook something on the weekend that can by eaten during the week.  Make extra of every meal and freeze some.  Nothing better than microwaving and serving a home cooked meal that arrives on the table in 10 minutes flat.
  3. Order Tuckshop.  Let them order in.  Doesn’t have to be junk, might just be a sandwich but it gives you a night off making lunches.  If you have online tuckshop ordering like us.  Do the week’s tuckshop orders (for our school it’s available two days a week) on the weekend before the madness of the week erupts.
  4. Think about a cleaner.  If you only have one hour at night before the kids go to bed do you want to spend it cleaning? Do you want to spend your weekends cleaning?
  5. Encourage independence and self sufficiency.  My boys are now getting used to setting out their clothes the night before,  emptying and repacking their lunch boxes with the snacks for the next day, helping unpack the dishwasher and getting up when the alarm goes off. For some strange reason they think the alarm is cool, go figure!
  6. Learn when to let go.  It’s 8 at night, you’re going as fast as you can and the kids still aren’t in bed.  Stop with the steam coming out your ears. So what it’s not worth a heart attack.  Tomorrow they’ll be in bed at 7.

Some of you may already do stuff like this, Awesome! for the rest of us, sometimes it’s not worth the fight or the snail slow pace kids can work at, so we end up doing it ourselves.  Necessity is the mother of invention and now I’m excited to see them becoming more independent little people.

Me I’m enjoying three days in air conditioning with coffee, clean bathrooms, nice people and a chance to plug my brain in and get to work.

I love my job, the office and the people but I don’t much like the constant feeling of chasing my tail.  I parent on my own five days a week so that adds another element too.  When you work, parent and adult, sometimes you feel like you fall short as a parent, a worker bee and a wife but I’m learning to be kind to myself and to be perfectly honest I’m doing it.

I’m getting shit done.  At work, at home and with my family and that’s about all you can ask of yourself really.

Be kind to yourself kids!