Is the work life balance getting you down? Here are a few sanity savers to help keep those plates spinning.
Are you really making the best use of your time each day? It’s time to get ruthless, so write a ‘to do’ list – for both work and home – then eliminate anything that isn’t absolutely essential. Be realistic, don’t try to pack too much in and get help if you can afford it.
2. Know where to draw the line
It’s impossible to relax if work is on your mind. However, you won’t enjoy your job if you’re constantly worrying about your family. Keep work and home separate by setting strict hours and sticking to them – that way you’ll be able to give 100% to each.
3. Share the load
Sadly, for too many women ‘having it all’ still means ‘doing it all.’ Sit down with your partner and split household chores so you’re both getting a fair deal. Then, resist the urge to ‘do it better’ and let them get on with it.
4. Plan ahead
Before kids you may have been happy to take life as it comes, but going with the flow is complicated – and expensive – with a family in tow. Plan, shop and prepare meals in advance and pin up a schedule of holidays, parties and after-school activities. You’ll save time and money as well as your sanity.
5. Lower your standards
We’d all love perfect nails and a spotless house but are they worth a nervous breakdown? Give yourself a break. You don’t have to produce a Michelin starred meal every night and you’ll all survive if the beds aren’t made once in a while.
6. Flexible working
Could you work the odd day from home? Cutting out the commute can create precious family time and save money, so talk to your boss and explore the options for flexible working. If that’s not possible, suggest taking a short lunch break, or working longer hours in return for an early afternoon.
7. Establish a routine
Mornings can be a battleground as you threaten and cajole your kids to eat, dress and leave the house on time. Consistency is key, so set out their clothes the night before, and get up and out at the same time every day so you all know what to expect and when.
Me-time may seem like a luxury you can’t afford, but you’ll be no use to your family if you’re permanently on the brink of exhaustion. Try to get up before them for a quiet coffee before the chaos starts, and take time out for exercise or a little self-preservation – the journey to work doesn’t count!
9. Spend time together
Cramming family life into the end of your working day can be stressful, but the stronger you are as a couple the better you’ll cope. Whether it’s dinner out or a movie on the sofa, make time together non-negotiable, and plan at least one activity each week you can all do as a family.
10. Have a back-up plan
Think you’ve got it sussed? It only takes one sick child – or one sick childminder – to throw you off-balance and headlong into a blazing row about whose job is more important. Come to an agreement before it happens about who will take time off if needed, and make sure someone can step in at work if there’s a family emergency.