Recently I have started back at work 4 days a week after three years of freelancing. It’s a huge leap from working my own hours at home.
There have some challenges along the way so I thought I would impart my wisdom and share with you what I have learnt.
- Organisation is everything.
There was a time before children when I was a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kinda girl. I wasn’t one to plan anything. I lived for spontaneity. If I were to live my life that way now, our world will descend into utter chaos.
Every detail is now planned and pre-organised. On Sunday I make a meal plan for the week, write out shopping lists accordingly and do as much meal prep in advance as I can. Every night after dinner, I get the kids’ bags ready, my uniform and anything else I can do to save me even a minute of precious time in my morning.
- Overestimate how much time you need in the morning.
I mean REALLY overestimate. It may take the average person 30-60 minutes in a morning to get ready for work. Once you add children into the equation, that time is at the very least doubled. Kids have no conception of time and the days you are short of time will be the days they take the longest to do the simplest of tasks. Prepare for meltdowns and factor in time to find shoes. You will always be looking for shoes.
- Lower your expectations
Every single mum at one point or another is guilty of feeling inadequate. Either an inadequate partner, mum, employee, friend, domestic goddess, whatever. We are women, not superheroes. You can’t be everything to everyone so stop trying to be. Let go of the picture of an ideal that society sells you. If your children survive are fed and clothed (occasionally bathed), you remember your partner’s name and you can hold down employment, kudos to you!! If your bathroom sink is dirty and you feed your family McDonald’s every now and then, that’s perfectly ok. Do the best you can and be proud of your achievements.
- Get help
Wherever you can and by any means necessary, get as much help as you can. Especially if you have young kids. If you have the financial means, get a cleaner, get your clothes dry cleaned, get a nanny that can cook. Cheaper options might be getting your groceries delivered (saves a whole morning and tantrums), get the family to give you a hand or get your kids to do more chores.
- Don’t give up you time
It can be easy to get caught up in a busy schedule with far less time to get things done once you start working. Make sure you set aside some time (even 5 minutes each day) to do something just for you. It doesn’t have to be huge; a cup of tea, meditation, going to a movie, reading a book, whatever brings you joy.