Two years on from my last blog post I felt it was time to dust off the cobwebs and rather than bore you with the details of the last twenty-four months of my life – discuss a topic which is central to what has been going on in my day-to-day anyway.
How to get the working-parent balance right. I say right when really there is no way to get it right at all it’s all about finding the.. best way to get through the day. I often find myself contemplating my ‘title’. Am I full-time woman of business part-time mum now? Am I truly dedicated to one version of me or are there many different ‘Kims’ throughout the course of my day? Presently, I think the most fitting description would be full-time frazzled part-time fried. If I wore hats, I would take mine off to any mother who commits to full time employment and cleans the house, cooks what may or may not resemble a meal and still finds a spare moment to devote love and attention to their precious offspring. When I first returned to the land of employment Harry was the grand-old age of 10 months old and I brushed off everyone and anyone who may have even mentioned that going back to work might be hard. I was totally naive to the difficulties of giving yourself fully to your job whilst nurturing and loving a growing child. So how have I managed to (sort of) survive? Here are three pro-tips from a not-so-pro working-hard-or-hardly-working mother:
Get ready the night before
Blatantly obvious but so often ignored (well, in my house anyway) the age-old concept of being organised. Roll your eyes at me if you will but it is true (shocker!) that laying out your clothes the night before will in fact save you time, and floor space, in the morning. If like me, it takes ten outfit changes before you settle on the same black attire you wore last Monday then this simple before bed task can save you precious minutes which would be better spent painting your face on in the morning. The same rule applies for children. Choose their creche clobber in advance and you may just get away with one less temper tantrum over tutus (or grubby dinosaur t-shirts in my case) on a wet and traffic ridden Tuesday. I wish I could extend this practice into pre-making my lunches, but alas, I admit defeat and shamefully succumb to the fact this is one step too far.
Get sleep- and lots of it
There is only so far in life that caffeine can take you and if you would like to avoid developing a co-dependency on stimulated hot beverages, I suggest at least 8 hours of shut-eye a night. Yes, it can seem impossible to find time to ‘live’ when you’re going to bed at 10pm only to rise again at 6. Where will I fit in my latest Netflix binge, I hear you cry! No Netflix does not have to take a back seat you just might have to watch a whole series of The Sinner over the space of a week rather than one night. Trust me you, your boss (and the rest of your friends and family) will thank me…
Treasure your time off
I started off in a trap of feeling guilty for not feeling guilty for being in work rather than at home baking cookies and colouring in all day, but the reality was that, for a time, going to work was easier than being a stay at home mum. I could discuss developments all day (property ones that is) but ask me to endure another episode of Peppa Pig and I’d be climbing the walls. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being a mum – don’t get me wrong. I just need the break (yes I did just refer to work as a break) in order for me to really be present and give all of my attention to my son when we do get to spend time together. The phrase quality over quantity should probably never be used in relation to parenting but having less time together during the week has made hours we do spend together even more precious.
And if all or any of the above fails (which let’s face it – in raising offspring there are no fool proof methods) take a deep breath and try your best to ‘Keep Calm & Carry On…’