For moms with full-time jobs, that 3 to 4 hours after work are really precious to connect with their kids.
This post is part of a blog train hosted by Christy from Kids ‘R’ Simple on “A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM”. The aim is to give other working mums motivation, ideas and support to deal with the everyday demands of juggling work and family while maintaining their sanity.
Thanks Li-Mei (Finally Mama) for the introduction.
For me, once you become a MOM, you are in a FULL-TIME job, period. This means you are on call 24-7 with little or no break to meet the timeline and demands of your little boss(es). If you have any other jobs, full-time, part-time or flexi-time, it is an addition responsibility to your existing position as MOM.
I’ve tried the full gamut of being a stay-home mom to working full-time as well as holding a part-time position. After two years as a stay-home mom (with toddler 1 and baby number 2), I realized I missed being financially independent and being able to contribute meaningfully to society. I have had enough of Barney reruns and Dora trilogies.
Being back at work full-time was wonderful. I was also lucky enough to have the help of a wonderful domestic helper (whom we found after a few hit and misses). She was receptive and willing to follow my style of raising my kids. I was happy being a full-time working mom until I realized that the demands of the job meant that I had also become a weekend mom! I would see my kids for half an hour in the mornings, and more often than I care to admit, return home to sleeping children.
So I left full-time and found a part-time position that allowed me to be home more often. Plus, the office was only four bus-stops away from home! Yay! But as most part-time positions go, the work started to follow me home. Then the company expanded and I was asked to move back into full-time position. Not what I wanted.
Luckily, the skills sets and contacts from these two previous work experiences allowed me to blend the scopes of work that finally gave me some work-life balance. It was a flexible work arrangement that works for me and family.
American actress-comedienne, Roseanne Barr said in jest, “I know how to do anything – I’m a Mom.”
I think there may be some truth to what she said. So, how do I deal with the everyday demands of juggling work and family while maintaining my sanity? Here’s how…
1) Plan and schedule — To avoid temper tantrums and panics in the mornings, water bottles, school allowance and uniforms are laid out; school bags and homework are packed the night before. At any given time of the day, the kids know what to do. For example 3pm, 5pm, 7pm and 9pm equals homework, play, dinner, and bedtime. While some people may say I run my household like clockwork, I think the structured schedule gives the children comfort and boundaries.
It also works as an effective defence against any demands for more play or TV time. For example, I’ll say, “sorry, it’s a school night” and the kids instantly get it. And no, I’m not a Sargent-major, they do get 10-15 mins buffer time or extra time if homework is finished. The trick is to not sweat the small stuff.
2) Back Up Plan — There’s no shame in enlisting help anyway you can. I have a part-time cleaner come in twice a week to keep the home clean and to do the ironing. I also keep the numbers of several part-time cleaners handy in case my regular one does not turn up or I need an extra pair of hands.
Hubby is usually my back up plan when I have to attend a last-minute meeting. But because I also take turns hosting regular playdates for my kids with their friends, I am able to squeeze in a few afternoons of kid-free time a month. I use these “extra” time to run errands, work or have some “me” time.
3) Time Savers — I try to cook “cleverly”. So, I’ll cook chicken rice, and make a huge pot of soup. I’ll freeze the extra soup for pasta soup over the next few days. Or I’ll cook pasta for the kids, and make extra meat and pasta sauce which I freeze. The next day, I’ll cook lasagne with it. This really minimize my cooking time. I also love to make stews in the slow cooker or simply bake or grill. That means I don’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen.
Shopping online at RedMart for groceries is another time-saver skill that I picked up from hubby who alerted me to it. And we buy gadgets like robot cleaners and rice cooker with multi-function to help us with the household chores.
I hope these tips have been fun to read and gives you ideas to gain extra time with your kids. We will be happy to hear your story, tips and even an encouraging word will make our day! Share your thoughts in the comments!
I’m the last stop in this blog train. Click here to read about how the other 21 full-time working moms (FTWM) from Singapore Mom Bloggers handle their kids and household everyday!