For some women running the household is pretty much a full time job in itself. Throw a couple of kids calendars, a husband and a full time job into the mix and it can get pretty overwhelming when you are a working mother.
Now there are thousands of articles out there telling you what to do to get the perfect work life balance as a full time working mother. I’m not going to do that. I’m simply going to tell you about things that I have found from my own personal experience and professional experience have worked for me, but have also worked for friends.
The things I recommend and why
1. Have a Wall calendar or planner, visible in a well-used communal area. Always add things as soon as you know about them. WHY? Because this gives you a glance first thing to see what the day holds, and will make you unlikely to forget it.
2. Have a good online Calendar. (Google, outlook-there are many fantastic ones out therel). You can sync this with the calendar on your phone and set auto reminders. This works for birthdays too and you can set multiple reminders-one reminder a week in advance and one for the day itself. WHY: We all have smart phones, and we all look at them when they flash or beep. So even if just for a second, that reminder has popped into your thoughts.
3. Register for online grocery shopping, and set up your shopping list. Now this takes time initially, but is great once done. WHY: You can then log in and complete your shop with a few clicks. Obviously there will be things that you want to add from week to week, but these will save in your favourites. This saves tons of time and money-stopping impulse buys and saving you the trip to the store itself.
4. Get to know your post person. WHY? When you know who is delivering your post, you can tell them where you prefer parcels when you’re not home-if they understand you don’t mind things left in the back garden, it means less tickets and less time queuing down the collection office.
5. Have a housework schedule. WHY? If you schedule small daily tasks on most days of the week, and then a clean on one morning of the week, you feel in complete control and the one full day housework can be shelved. Allocate small jobs to the family and put a rota on the fridge. Everyone feels a sense of achievement.
6. Have a gift and stationery stash: Keep a small stash of gifts for both men and women, (I tend to pick these up in offers and sales or if I see something that makes me think of someone I know) and a couple of birthday cards and gift wrap, with a few jiffy bags and a variety of postage stamps. WHY: Everyone forgets a birthday from time to time. The beauty of first class post is that it doesn’t take long. So even if you remember on the day and you get home late, you can select a gift from your stash, wrap it and get it popped into the local post-box on that day and say the gift is on the way. Post is sometimes late. And people are never unhappy receiving another gift a couple days after their birthday.
7. Have a weekly menu plan and prepare as much as possible in advance: Plan your meals for the whole working week. (Something the online shop is very helpful for). This includes breakfast and lunches. If you know what you’re having daily, it means you can just go straight in and do it. After dinner, whilst dad and kids wash up, you can prepare lunch for tomorrow. Keep a backup supply of lunch items too, just in case. Also then set up breakfast. Get the tea cups set in front of the kettle with the tea/coffee and sugar in them for the morning. Fill the kettle ready for morning use. And get the cereals/toast items out and ready to access or chop the fruit and cover ready to eat. WHY? If you spend 10 minutes every evening doing this (while everyone else is in the kitchen with you after dinner anyway) your mornings will just flow, and even if you are running a bit late one morning, it doesn’t matter because everything is good to go. So there are some simple things that you can implement into daily life, that do take a bit of time setting up, but once they are in play, really can make a huge difference.
There are of course methods that can take almost the entire workload from you. You can hire or outsource, both have proven to be very successful in many households. Some hire housekeepers and nannies, but this might not be right for everyone. This is when you might outsource.
Author: Nadia Render. Nadia runs Norfolk Virtual Assistant and offers a range of services remotely. She offers anything from doing the weekly online grocery shop, to booking car MOT’s, renewing insurance and paying bills, arranging appointments; purchasing and sending family birthday cards and gifts, Christmas cards and shopping, (She will even gift wrap). She offers a full support service to working Mums who just haven’t got the spare time for these things (or when they do, they want to be with their children.) She creates a shared calendar for the Mum, where important things are listed and can act as a physical reminder of things so that Mums have one less thing to worry about. Her services start at as little as 1 hour per week. And there are many VA’s out there. She has a network across the UK, so she can delegate when needed.