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Here’s a list of simple tips for being a more organised working mum. These are the ultimate working mum survival hacks for when you need to find more balance and ditch the overwhelm.
THE 18 BEST TIPS FOR WORKING MUMS: HOW TO KEEP OVERWHELM AT BAY
Many of us working mothers need to work or actually just want to work because we’re smart and talented.
But we set ourselves crazy high standards of being amazing earth mothers, domestic goddesses and career high fliers.
One of the biggest secrets to being a successful working mum is, to be honest with yourself about your limits…
You simply can’t do it all.
Well not without a lot of money and a lot of help!
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with paying for that help if you can afford it.
In fact, I wholeheartedly embrace the concept.
However, there are many simple hacks to make sure you aren’t just surviving, but thriving as a working woman with kids.
Organisation is the key to everything
Having a killer organisation strategy is the key to winning as a working mum.
It can take a bit of time and effort to get set up.
In fact it can be especially hard to set up if you are chronically disorganised, but creating a basic organisation framework with time saving, sanity saving hacks is the way to get through the week without collapsing an exhausted heap on Friday evening.
There is no one organisation schedule that is going to work for every working mum.
So, I’ve put together a list of some of the most simple but effective tips that can help make life flow more easily for busy working women.
I have also put together a post on School holiday survival tips for working mums that you may want to read if the school holidays are looming!
Survival tips for working mums
1. Know the hours you work
Make sure that everyone who needs to know is clear about the hours you work.
This includes yourself.
Being clear on the hours you work each day and each week and sticking to them is likely the biggest change to working life that you’ll experience post-baby.
Goodbye presenteeism, hello super-efficient working mother.
2. Be focused
The hours you work each week become more or less finite once you become a parent.
So employ simple strategies that allow you to focus and use your time well.
I’ve put together a post on the practice of monotasking versus multitasking.
It’s so easy to get sucked into trying to juggle several things at once, but in reality, it’s so much more efficient to focus on one thing and get it done.
Read the post here: Stop multitasking start monotasking
3. Flexible working
You have the right to ask your employer for flexible working hours.
Self-employed – find a pattern of work that suits you and your family.
Be realistic about your working pattern and try to stick to it.
Routine can help to feel more grounded.
4. Cleaning and tidying
You may well be CEO of the Household but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all.
Divide and conquer when it comes to chores.
That means kids too as soon as they’re old enough.
Then read my post on how to create a cleaning routine that will get your house clean fast.
Once you’ve found a system for cleaning and laundry that works for you and your family, you can brief everyone else in on it, so that you share the responsibility as a family.
I use Trello to keep track of household chores, it’s a free app that you can use on desktop or as a mobile app. Everyone in my family has access to it and knows what household cleaning chores they need to do each week. It’s a total game-changer!
5. Minimise housework
Tackling the bulk of the housework at the weekend is not exactly the most enticing prospect at the end of a busy week.
So rework your housework schedule.
Divide the housework up into small chunks that can be spread out over the course of the week.
Plus, if you share the family home with a partner and older children, make sure that the housework is divided out between everyone.
There is still a massive imbalance when it comes to who takes on the bulk of the housework duties in a family home.
Be part of making that change.
Put dry clothes away, don’t leave them crumpled in the clean laundry basket.
Hang up everything that can be hung and ONLY iron essentials when needed.
Hate ironing, got a cleaner?
7. Dishwasher rules
Load dirties straight into the dishwasher, this goes for everyone in the home who is old enough.
Make sure everyone in the household understands that leaving stuff neatly near the dishwasher is NOT helping and does not get stuff clean.
8. Meal plan
It may send a shudder, but meal planning works, it cuts down on brain ache when your bandwidth is maxed and it saves money.
I use Trello for meal planning, in fact meal planning was the first thing I started using Trello for outside of using it for work.
Trello makes it so easy to keep track of meals for every day of the week, who is responsible for cooking them and what ingredients need to be bought.
Or you could try using a recipe box delivery service.
I am signed up with a couple of recipe box delivery services.
My favourite is Mindful Chef, because it offers such healthy meals. They are paleo-inspired, low G.I, using really high quality ingredients from high-level suppliers.
Finally, don’t forget to look after yourself by eating healthily throughout the day.
Read my post on Health Snacks for Tired Mums post for a list of low sugar, low GI snacks that will keep you going all day without a blood sugar crash.
9. Cook double
Cooking a delicious meal?
Make double and freeze half of it.
There is nothing more delightful on a tired weekday evening than knowing getting dinner on the table is as simple as defrosting something you made earlier.
10. Slow cook
Particularly great if you work from home.
Simply stick the ingredients in the slow cooker, set it and know it will be ready to serve that evening.
11. Online supermarket shop
Forget traipsing around a supermarket trying to ignore your low blood sugar pushing you to the confectionery aisle.
Start doing your grocery shopping online.
Now before you head to any old supermarket that offers home delivery, let me tell you something…
Not all online supermarket shopping is equal.
In my opinion, there is only one true saviour of supermarket shoppers and that is Ocado.
I’ve used Ocado for years and I literally could not manage without it.
I pay an annual fee for the Ocado Smart Pass, which means I can schedule a free delivery every day of the week if I want to.
Clearly I don’t do that, but I do have a regular weekly delivery slot set up and I then add in an extra delivery as and when needed.
The Smart Pass also gives me priority Christmas delivery slot booking (Christmas deliveries are the only ones that come with an extra delivery charge). This is a complete lifesaver in the madness that is the run up to Christmas.
The other big benefit is at least 10% saving on big brand names.
I’ve got the Ocado app on my phone and that’s how I tend to do my weekly shop.
I add in stuff through the week, then take 20 minutes to check the final shopping list against my weekly meal plan before the cut-off deadline, which is the evening before the delivery is due.
Ocado offers some pretty chunky discounts of a first shop, so give it a try and see how much easier it makes your life.
12. Switch the high street for online shopping
Shopping on the high street can take up so much time and there is no fun doing it at the weekend with a child or two in tow.
Switch to shopping online and sign up for the online mother’s little lifesaver that is Amazon Prime Membership.
I use it for everything from buying endless kids’ birthday gifts, to household essentials, to stuff for the home… the list is endless.
If you haven’t tried Amazon Prime yet, you are seriously missing out! Try Amazon Prime for 30 days for FREE.
13. Family admin
Open mail as it comes in – bin, file or put in action pile – blitz the mail pile weekly.
14. Hired help
Employ a cleaner.
Not sure you can afford to?
Take a look at your spending overall.
Is it possible to cut back on spending in other areas – ditch takeaways or curb your takeout coffee habit?
I realise that hiring a cleaner can’t be a reality for every working woman, but think about the benefits and really think about how you could make it work…
Having someone else do the chores so you can spend quality time with your family is invaluable.
Routine, routine, routine!
Have a set time for homework for school-age children.
Bedtime is sacred, especially on school nights.
Kids need sleep.
Well-rested children are happy children.
Happy children mean balance and harmony in your family household.
Of course, kids aren’t automatons, there will always be things that come up, but if there’s a good rhythm in your household, it’s easier to cope when your kids need you more than normal.
16. Set your bedtime
It’s not just kids who benefit from good sleep patterns.
Try and stick to a regular bedtime and no tech after 9pm works a treat for quality of sleep and waking up feeling rested.
In fact, a few months ago I decided to get more mindful about my daytime habits to help me get better sleep each night.
The resulting change in the quality of my sleep and my ability to get to sleep came around pretty quickly after making some simple changes.
Pop over and read my post on Simple tips for better sleep if you regularly find yourself on your knees due to lack of quality sleep – or any sleep at all.
17. Schedule fun
Yes, this sounds sucky!
But it’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘doing’ and forget about simply enjoying being with your kids.
We have a weekly family film night and Friday after school is always earmarked for simply hanging out together, usually with some kind of foodie treats involved.
18. Tech etiquette
Ban all tech during family mealtimes and family hangout time.
Define screen time limits based on kids’ ages and remember that modelling good use of tech is the best way to ensure you kids don’t turn into digital addicts.
BONUS TIP: HOW TO CREATE MORE ME TIME FOR YOURSELF
It may be a cliché but even just a couple of hours of time to yourself, to do whatever you want with, will lift your spirits.
Happy mum equals happy children!
So pop over to my post on how to create more me time for yourself each week and see if you can start to make some positive changes.
I really hope you’ve found this list useful. Have a go incorporating some or all of the tips into your life and see how you get on.
Don’t forget to read School holiday survival tips for working mums for ways to reduce your overwhelm during the work/kids school holiday juggle.