If there is one question I’m constantly asked, it’s HOW do I fit everything into my life, keeping the balance whilst being a working Mum of two very little girls. It’s a tricky one to juggle but this week is National Work Life Week so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share some tips on how I get it all done.
So, my life is pretty busy – Violet is 2 and a half, Pearl has just turned a year old which means they are at an age they require my attention ALL THE TIME. They aren’t old enough to be left unattended, so it can be full on. Violet goes to nursery twice a week but Pearl will be at home with me, so there is never a time I’m away from the children. I just have to make it work.
Alongside the girls, I run my blog/social media channels as my own business, this might look easy from the outside, but actually there is so much that goes on behind the scenes – planning content, writing posts, filming videos, editing videos, planning social media posts, invoices, accounts, tax returns, emails, admin, the list is endless and if I let it, it would fill up every hour of the day and probably STILL never get done. Plus, I work on a couple of brands Instagram accounts, providing social media support too.
As if that wasn’t enough, I am also a landlord and that means I often need to juggle organising maintenance, tenant issues and sudden emergencies (like when the electricity went off the other day or like when the rain leaked through the windows) which usually results in a LOT of panicked phone calls and can be vey time consuming.
To say I’ve got a lot going on is an understatement, but here is how I get it ALL done and keep a balance:
Be strict with my schedule
I have a strict schedule of working and family days. I work Tuesdays and Wednesdays when Violet is at nursery, so I’m strict with this time and don’t book anything else in for these days. Often a softplay date or baby group will fall on these days but I’ll turn it down as it’s my working day. Although I’m self employed, I treat it like I would if I was employed and contracted to work these days. I get all the toys out for Pearl to play with and work whilst she potters about playing independently and the majority done during her nap time.
I stay organised by writing lists of things to do, setting reminders on my phone and clearing my emails every day. I often plan my day the night before when I’m in bed – writing my list for the following day so when I wake up I know what I need to get done and can get going immediately. I also always tidy up the night before and pack our bags, so when we start the new day everything is organised.
Working at home can be really distracting, there is always something to do. It’s so tempting to switch the TV on, scroll social media or potter about the house, but I try and stay on track as possible with my to-do list as this is the only time I get. I have turned off notifications on my phone for social media to stop me checking it all the time! I’ll set myself goals “If I can complete my to-do list, I’ll treat myself to an hours Netflix whilst the baby naps etc”. The sense of satisfaction of ticking bits off my list keeps me going!
Family Quality time
On family days, my work will go on hold and our time is ALL about the girls. Whether we are going out or staying in I’ll make sure we have plenty of quality time and have lots of fun together – we might bake cakes, visit a farm, walk to the park or work our way through the book shelf, but whatever we do work is the last thing on my agenda. I only have my phone with me to snap photos of the girls or for emergencies, I’ll upload photos and posts to social media later when we get home as not to interrupt our time. Mentally this feels like a break for me too, it’s so important for my mental health and wellbeing to just switch off.
Relax and Sleep
To have the energy to keep up with such a busy lifestyle means I need to factor in time to relax and most importantly, to sleep. After a long day I love nothing more than a long, hot bath followed by an early night! The girls are still often up in the night so I am often seen going to bed at 8pm! For a night owl, this feels so against my grain, but I have a baby that wakes at 5am daily so it’s got to be done.
As I’m not naturally not a great sleeper plus the babies wake in the night, I’ve found making our bedroom into the ultimate relaxation zone is essential for getting a good, quality night’s sleep. I try to avoid looking at my phone at bedtime, allowing me to unwind, with soft lighting and an essential oil burner with lavender oil to help send us on our way. Our bed is also the most comfy place in the world, with a good quality mattress and pillow so falling into bed at the end of the day is like a dream. When we aren’t sure how much sleep we are going to get, we need to make sure it’s the best quality when we do to feel alive again the following morning and ready to take on the day.
Chip away with little jobs
I get lots of things around the house done by chipping away at them, rather than completing a task – for example if the kettle takes 2 minutes to boil, I’ll have a 2 minute tidy of the kitchen whilst it boils. If I get 10 minutes sitting in the car whilst the girls nap, I’ll reply to emails on my phone. Chipping away at jobs makes my to-do lists seem less daunting and gets things done so much quicker! You’ll be amazed how much you can chip away at in little pockets of time without even noticing it.
Let go of Mum guilt
Sometimes I feel terrible that I work around the girls, they are used to me being on my laptop and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve said “In a minute, Mummy’s working!” but ultimately, I’m doing it for them. My work is what puts food on the table and pays our mortgage, plus it’s a way I can stay at home with them avoiding long hours at nursery – so actually, it’s for the best and I need to remind myself of that whenever the Mum guilt kicks in. Teaching them a good, strong work ethic alongside having some good quality time together can never be a bad thing! I absolutely LOVE what I do and being a Mum so my passion for doing something I love allows me to slot it all in when things get difficult.
If you are a parent, how do you juggle your work/life balance?
This post is in conjunction with TEMPUR® but all thoughts are my own