BEING a mum is a full-time job! In fact, one study suggest such job should earn them $66,000 just for the stress alone, but ask any mother and she’ll tell you it’s also the most rewarding role.
Currently in my second trimester of my third pregnancy, I write this column in quiet anticipation of the chaos to come. Being a working mom means juggling home life and demands of the office, while trying to maintain some sanity like ensuring my hair gets washed at least once per week (hey we’ve all been there). If the last few years have taught me anything, it’s that there are some easy ways to make being a working mum easier. Let me enlighten you:
1. You are not an island. When my son first started day care I felt like I was eternally running late for work and wondered how all the other working mums kept it all together! However, when I started to talk with them, I soon realised we were all in the same boat. Use these support networks – other mums will be your greatest allies and often have brilliant ideas to solve the problems you’re facing at home or in the office.
2. Divide and conquer. I’ve slowly realised (in a crucial way), we mums are our own worst enemies. We don’t delegate. We try to take it all upon ourselves and wonder why we wear the cranky pants, like ALL THE TIME! Be it the house hold chores (who takes the bins out) or parenting duties (who takes the kids to sport), calling upon the help of your kids and hubby simply means a family where everyone can pitch in and get the chores done quickly is a family with more free time later.
3. Love your lists. You all know by now, I’m a list maker – and here’s another goo reason why. I once walked into the supermarket, and completely forgot what I came for. Consequently I bought 3 too many bags of cereal that I saw on special, only to go home and realise I actually needed milk. With so many things on your mind, it can be easy to forget the most basic things, which is why I embrace the power of the list. Keep a notepad on your fridge and write down what you need as you go. Yes, I have wondered whether writing lists is not so training my memory, but at least I have more spare time to finish that Sudoku puzzle (and the house can still run smoothly).
4. The world revolves around food – plan accordingly. Nothing is worse than toddler meltdown at the end of a busy day because you’re missing the key ingredient to dinner (see point #3 to avoid this – or let them eat dry cereal). I’ve learned that the key to a happy household is a full tummy and a well-stocked pantry. Take a day on the weekend to plan your meals and have a few backup ideas for nights when you have zero energy. Defrosting last week’s Bolognese and cooking up some wholemeal pasta is a cinch, and is cheaper and healthier than most takeaway from down the street.
5. Wherever you are, be all there. If you constantly check your emails and are glued to your phone when your littlies just want you to play, then stop! If you’re at work, be at work, but if you’re at home, then be present with your kids as much as possible. Have a discussion with your employer to manage their expectations about working outside of normal hours. Make sure to keep some time for yourself though!
Image credit: My Domaine Home