I’ve been back at work after maternity leave for 5 months now, working 4 days a week. When I thought about going back to work, my main concern wasn’t work itself, it was how I was going to manage juggling everything—working, housework, cooking, parenting! Now I’ve settled into my routine, I’m (mostly) loving being back at work. I’m far from an expert, but I thought I’d share my tips for surviving as a working mum.
1. Online food shopping
Online food shopping is a massive time saver for me. I have almost no brand loyalty and tend to do my big shop (tins, pasta, rice, cereals, cat food, toilet roll etc.) with whichever supermarket sends me a discount email! I usually get a delivery every couple of weeks. I do a top up shop on my day off on Friday on our way to or from toddler group.
Every week we get a veg box* delivered with all our fresh veg for the week. I’ve written a more detailed review of the veg box previously, but to summarise, I love it. I find that it makes me eat much more healthily, stops me ordering takeaway (always a temptation after a long day), and although it’s not cheap, I find it good value because we don’t waste anything. Plus it makes life so much easier.
2. Cook extra
When you cook something like chilli or stews, cook extra and either freeze it for a quick dinner another time or take it to work the next day as a packed lunch (this also saves money, useful for tip 3 below…).
3. Getting a cleaner
Now I know not everyone can afford a cleaner. I shouldn’t really have one. But it’s one of my luxuries (who needs regular haircuts?! Not me. I’d rather have a cleaner). It makes my life a lot easier and means I don’t have to spend my day off with Jacob cleaning. Time is money and all that. Worth every penny.
4. Showering at night
I’ve completely given up on the idea of washing and drying my hair in the morning before work. There just isn’t time anymore. Showering at night makes life so much easier. And if you forget (or can’t be bothered) occasionally, there’s always dry shampoo. I love Colab. The new Galactic* fragrance is amazing, and it’s the only dry shampoo I’ve found that doesn’t leave that white residue.
5. Organising bags/clothes/lunch the night before
This is key. And I don’t always do it. But I should. Organising Jacob’s bag is important, but it’s also crucial to organise my own. Mornings are busy and anything you can get done in advance to make it less stressful is great. If you take a packed lunch to work, get it ready the night before if at all possible. Otherwise you won’t take one, and you’ll spend a fortune in Pret (speaking from bitter experience).
Clothes are another thing that should be organised the night before. Kids clothes aren’t so important. I can pick Jacob’s clothes in about 15 seconds. It’s much more time-saving to pick my own the night before. Even if it’s just planning what to wear mentally so I don’t have a mad rush in the morning.
6. Use GoogleCalendar
My husband and I have a shared GoogleCalendar where we put key events, like work trips, nights out and family gatherings. It automatically syncs so we can see whether the other is free on a particular evening or weekend using the app on our iPhones. It’s so much easier than a paper calendar.
7. Accept you can’t do everything
Sometimes after a long day, all you want to do is collapse in front of the TV. But you’ve got an overflowing washing basket, the washing up needs doing, and there’s a pile of life admin waiting. So what? Do it tomorrow. There aren’t enough hours in the day, so you have to prioritize. And sometimes that means prioritising relaxing.
What are your top tips for surviving as a working mum? Let me know in the comments.
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