Working parents doing it all. Or trying to. It’s often said that working parents juggle many balls at any one time and that’s right. Raising a child and maintaining a professional career at the same time can be a challenge for even the most resilient of us. So how can we make things easier? If I had a pound for every time anyone ever said ‘there’s not enough hours in the day’, then I would be a millionaire. However, as much as we’d all like that gift of extra time, I don’t somehow think it’s a physical possibility!
I went back to work a year after having our daughter. Both myself and my fiance are working parents. I’ve found life as a working parent to be quite tricky at times and have constantly been looking for ways to make it easier. I’ve looked at day-to-day practicalities (getting bags organised in time, setting the alarm earlier to get a shower in, doing laundry during naptimes etc). I’ve also considered major life decisions, such as giving up the office job to pursue a flexible freelance career as a Social Media Manager and Blogger, after becoming qualified by Digital Mums. This then frees up more time for parenting and spending time nurturing our little one, as well as having more time to look after the household for our family.
We asked some other working parents to share some tips on the key areas of life admin for families and what we can do to help ourselves:
Meals & Cleaning
- Put slow cooker meals on in the morning and they are done when you get home. – Amy
- Plan your weekly shop so you know what dinners you’re having all week long. Even batch cook so you have stuff in the freezer for when time is very tight! – Adrienne
- Hire a cleaner! We can’t do everything. I enjoy working and this way I have a clean house and I am also supporting another small business. – Becci.
- Now that I have 3 teenagers, they help with washing, cooking and anything else that needs doing. – Eileen
Organisation & Routine
- Every night we put the kids to bed and have to do half an hour of housework before we sit down then we do daily budgeting to try and keep on top of our finances (and find more money for travel!) before another set task for the evening… then we can relax! – Jemma
- Organise your time out into job and Mum mode! I work between 9:15-3pm and then the hours of 3:00-7:30pm are when I’m in full Mum mode. Full 100% attention to the kids. Post 7:30pm I go back to work again! – Catherine
- Google calendar! Me and my husband both share ours with each other, so we both know each other’s days off, if we need to work from home, if Finley has half term and who’s off with him. I couldn’t be without it. – Gail
- Pack all bags the night before (as much as you can) and lay out the next day’s clothes too. It saves so much time in the morning especially when little ones decide to not be so cooperative! – Victoria
- I got semi permanent make-up tattooed on and it makes my morning routine so much quicker! Be willing to invest in things which make you feel good when stepping away from the kids and into the office in order to boost your confidence. – Hollie
- Routine routine routine! Get everything ready the night before and set your alarm so that you’re up an hour or so earlier than the kids so that you can get yourself ready. It makes such a difference! – Jenna
- Myself and partner have managed to land jobs where flexible working is encouraged. Don’t be afraid to ask for different working patterns to fit in around childcare/school. We have no family near by and without understanding employers I’m not sure what we would do. – Sinead
- Flexible working helps and I’d encourage anyone to apply if they think it will help. For me I can vary my start and finish times around the nursery ones. I compress my hours into fewer days, doing a few hours each day at home. That takes a huge amount of pressure of and means I can juggle work with some chores when I’m at home, like getting a wash on or the shopping delivered. I’d also say don’t beat yourself up about working or feeling stretched too thin. You can’t do it all perfectly , just do what needs to be done to an acceptable level, like housework. – Helen
Childcare for Working Parents
- Plan holiday childcare or book time off work in advance as much as possible. You really don’t want the stress of getting close to the school holidays and realising you can’t book time off and need to find last minute childcare! A tip is to check with local nurseries too. Quite surprisingly one of our local nurseries offers a holiday club and it’s much cheaper than all the dedicated holiday clubs. – Victoria
- I went full time at Christmas after being part time after having my children. Our biggest source of support is the kids grandparents they are our only source of childcare and I wouldn’t have been able to go full time without them.
It was difficult at first as they were used to me taking them to school etc but I explained why I went full time and that it was so we could have nicer holiday etc they seemed to understand. I make more effort now to give them quality time before bed and I spend all weekend with them too it is hard but definitely worth it for us. – Katie
- My wife is a childminder which is great for looking after your own children. You can base your own working hours around your children’s needs and school runs. Although your house can be a little noisy! – Pete
- I trained as a Chartered Accountant – accountancy is a skill which you can use to work either in practice or for a company, and you can dip in and out. I went down to part time after having kids and am now consulting. It’s a skill which is always in demand and you can work for yourself easily once you are qualified. – Emma
- Go self-employed! I’m now a freelance content writer, having been an accountant for 10+ years in a male-dominated, non flexible company. It’s invaluable for nursery and school drop offs, plus the days when your child is ill. – Gemma
Thanks to everyone who contributed for sharing their thoughts and ideas about tips for working parents! Do you agree with these tips? What would you add? Let us know by using the comments box below or joining in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.