My biggest tip to thrive as a mum is to find time for yourself, as hard as that can be somedays. See my tabs on “thriving mentally, “thriving by understanding energy”, “thriving physically” and “thriving spiritually”. Once you are able to fill your cup and have a deep loving relationship with yourself, then thriving as a mum becomes much easier. That said, below are some things that have helped me to manage my time amongst my different priorities.
Being a working mum
Since becoming a mum, I feel like I have done almost ever combination of being a working mum. I had maternity leaves at home with my first two babies when I did no work (well paid work that is). I have had times where I have worked part-time with one baby and then with two pre-schoolers. Then I worked full-time with two pre-schoolers. I was working for a big law firm at the time and I tried every combination of part-time work, but I it was so hard to manage. So, then I started by own business to gain flexibility when I had two pre-schoolers. Then I started a second business with our two pre-schoolers. Now, I have two businesses with 2 primary school children and 2 pre-schoolers.
I am not naturally an organised, forward planning type of person. I have had to really work on this. The thought of charts and systems literally made me want to vomit in my mouth, but I have come to realise that being organised allows more opportunity to be spontaneous and helps with the mental load that women seem to carry on a daily basis. Organisation helps to bring calm. I was pushed to the brink last year when my husband was away for a month and, at the time, I had a 9 year old, a 7 year old, a 2 year old and a 3 month old to balance with my two businesses and no nanny!!. I had to get organised to make it through. I have embraced being organised ever since.
Here are some things that have helped me and I hope will help you. If you want any more information on any of these, just send me an email. If you have any tips for me, please email me.
- Bullet journaling – click on here to learn more https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm15cmYU0IM
- The ‘Hub app’ to link diaries with hubby
- Use the notes section in your phone for groceries and use the icon which has a tick inside a circle (iPhones) to tick them off as you put them in your trolley – save time using Coles online and Woolworths for pantry items.
- We use Hello Fresh sometimes to mix things up.
- We have charts for kids for pocket money, morning tasks, afterschool tasks, water intake and fruit and vegetable intake. These are stuck up on the kitchen cupboards and the kids tick them off with whiteboard markers.
- Anything that your kids can do themselves, get them doing. The more we do for them, the more we enable them to not be independent.
- Raffle ticket system for kids to earn tickets through household chores (eg. dishwasher/folding clothes). In our house, blue tickets are 10c, orange tickets are 25c, green tickets are 50c and purple tickets are $1. Raffle tickets can be cashed in for toys. They can earn tickets for being kind and thoughtful as well. We also have a chart for our primary school kids to write down each day whose day they made, by doing a random act of kindness.
- Weekly jobs for kids (eg. setting the table and clearing the table is done by our primary school children every night)
- Primary school kids make their own lunches everyday and their beds. I never tidy my kids’ rooms. I make them do this.
- Get a cleaner and, ideally, someone to help with laundry (my mum’s friend wisely said to me “when you are in your 60s you won’t have to worry about money and you will wish that you bought in help when you needed it with young children”)
- Regular nights out (one a month is doing well for us) with hubby/friends and be prepared to invest in babysitters
- Get a label maker and go nuts
- My fridge has tupperware containers with all different fruit and vegies all labelled
- Build a big support group of friends around you to share driving to kids’ activities
- Learn to cope with stuff everywhere and don’t waste too much tidying it all though the day. Just do a tidy up at the end of the night once the kids are in bed (and hopefully they have helped put their things away). We have a rule of one game out at a time.
- Be prepared to ask for help
- Drop the guilt – get good at “switching”. When you are working focus on your work and don’t think/worry about your kids. When you are with your kids, focus on your kids and don’t think/worry about your work. All easier said than done, I know.
- Embrace the “Magical Art of Tidying” by Marie Kondo (the brains behind the KonMari method). In nutshell, get rid of anything in your house that does not serve a purpose or does not spark joy. There is an interesting documentary on Minimalism on Netflix with Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus that is worth watching.