It’s been a year since I returned to work after maternity leave. I spent so much time worrying about how I was going to be able to cope needlessly as finding a work-life balance has come pretty easy for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to find your feet at first and trying to establish a routine can be difficult. It takes trial and error to find the best way to make it work for your family but this is what we do to get organised each day, and hopefully there will be some hints and tips on how to get organised as a full time working Mama.
Pack bags the night before
Every single second is precious in the morning so I don’t want to waste time packing bags that can be packed the night before. As soon as we walk through the door on a weekday evening I open up the bags to see what needs replacing: spare clothes, nappies, wipes? I make sure I have a packet of porridge in my own bag for breakfast for the following day and I leave Dexter’s shoes, coat and bags by the door ready for the following morning.
Meal plan like a boss
Towards the end of each month I write a meal plan for the following month factoring in what evenings Neil will be cycling and it’s just me that needs to be fed. I get a Morrison’s delivery organised with all the food that will be needed for the next four weeks and then I try my best to stick to it. Some nights I come home and I’ve had a crappy day and I just want to order takeaway and sometimes I do… but on the whole I stick to the plan by getting the meat out each morning and sending texts to Neil during the day if we need any fresh bits picking up on his walk home from school. On the weekends I often don’t feel like cooking so I usually schedule in easy meals that can be prepared in the slow cooker with minimal effort!
Keep on top of laundry and ironing
The last thing you want to be facing on your day off is a huge pile of ironing and I’ve found that getting into a routine with washing and ironing massively helps. I do one load on a Wednesday and one on a Sunday and this seems to keep the laundry pile to a minimum. (Okay, so I only have one kid and my husband has to wash his own stinky bike stuff!) On a Sunday morning I iron the clothes I washed on a Wednesday which are now dry and hang out the freshly laundered ones. By Wednesday these are now dry and I iron them while the next load is washed and hung out to dry.
Get your husband on board
There’s no point trying to juggle everything because no woman is super woman and help will be required no matter how many hours you work or how well your toddler naps during the day. My husband knows what is required of him which is to do bedtime a couple of nights a week, keep the dishwasher stacked and a system in place to ensure we have plenty of clean cups, crockery and pans and to take the bins down daily. Yes, he does sometimes need a little nag, but it’s very rarely because I made sure that before I returned to work I made it clear what would be expected.
Stop caring about having a pristine home
Certain sacrifices have to be made when you work full time and have a toddler who is hell bent on causing destruction wherever he roams and one of them is the idea of having a pristine home. If you walk into my home on any given day you will more than likely find a toast crust delicately left on his Ikea table, a steady stream of crumbs from the living room to Dexter’s bedroom and a collection of coffee cups on my dressing and bedside tables. We do our best to tidy as we go but after a long day in work, we all usually just want to curl up in bed and watch lullabies on the TV before going to sleep.
Organise clothes for the week
On the weekend, after getting all my ironing done, I lay out all the clothes Dexter will need for the week: vests, trousers, tops and socks. I have now even invested in a clothes holder that hangs from my wardrobe with five spots for me to hang each outfit in. Each morning I simply grab the clothes put away for that day instead of trying to find the perfect top to go with those trousers.
Nail your morning routine
We have the exact same routine every morning so Dexter knows exactly where we needs to be and what needs doing, that means there’s no surprises when it comes to tooth brushing time and no tantrums when it’s time to leave the house. We try to leave the TV off so he doesn’t become distracted by it and we try to keep his toys away from him, otherwise it’s meltdown central when he wants to take a specific car with him and he can’t.
Hopefully these tips will help you go some way to feeling more organised each morning, especially if you are working full time. Going back to work can make you feel like you are sinking but with a little preparation and organisation, you can definitely make it work for you! Have you got any tips on how to get organised as a full time working Mama?