Ever since my child started going to an early morning school, I've had to wake her up early and get her to class on time. This has been quite some effort since she has been waking up for the last four years of her life at a leisurly time of 9am! So I've finally figured out how to balance it out as I'm a working mother and can't afford to be lackadaisical about TIME!
Here are a few tips I'd like to share with fellow mothers:
Time Management Tips:
1. Food planning – if you buy your groceries once a week nad stock your fridge, plan a menu for the week for your cook or yourself with healthy snacks, and mini indulgences, you are 50% sorted with your life. What you eat and your family eats can be more time consuming than you think. If your children and staff know what to eat through the day, then even if you’re outside or at work, they will not be too fussed and neither will you on whether they are eating correctly.
2. Structure your day – Make lists of what is a) Top Priority and b) Can be done later c) Can be postponed. Example - Stay at home moms need to get a leaking faucet fixed as priority A. Giving a baby a bath can be postponed by a few hours if there are too many things to do. And dropping clothes to a dry cleaner can be postponed till when you’re ready. Working mothers can do the same with their work.
3. Delegating – You can’t do everything by yourself. You need help. Everyone agrees you’re superwoman. Now give yourself a break. Hire a nanny, cook, driver, maid, get a family member to help, request your spouse, join a support group, find other mothers, babysitters, etc. There are plenty of ways to make your life a little easier. It might mean spending a little extra money but it will give you tremendous peace and help you relax. Your peace of mind is more important than those extra hundreds of rupees that you will shell out for help. It will keep you positive and make your child a better person as well.
4. Say No – Refuse to attend parties, family functions, lunches, dinners, extra meetings, etc if you’re already stressed. Someone’s cousin’s cousin is getting married and they’e sent you a card doesn’t mean you need to attend. They’ll understand that you’re trying to manage a child and work. You don’t owe anyone anything. Send a gift later if they’re close to you.
5. Car ready – Keep an extra set of things in your car. Keep handy healthy bars for children, packets of biscuits, bananas, and other food items that are not perishable in a few days in your car. Don’t keep water bottles. Water needs to be kept fresh every day. An extra diaper bag with baby’s clothes, pampers, bibs, bottles, etc can be kept in the car. Or a children’s extra set of clothes, shoes, wet wipes, a packet of biscuits, books, colouring paper and pencils. Also keep an umbrella. Keep a set of formal clothes for yourself as well. That way if your kids are in the car or you’re going to work but have forgotten something in the morning in the mad rush, you have an extra supply and are not worried about returning home to collect it. Make sure you replenish the items used in the evening when you get home.
6. Night Baths – If you have a late rising child who takes forever to get ready before school, bathe the children at night and put them in clean, fresh clothes to sleep. In the morning, you can busrh their teeth, wash their faces, put some powder and send them to school if it’s too early in the morning. This way they have taken a bath at the end of the day when they’ve sweat and got grimy from playing outside and you save some time in the morning from this chore.
7. Switch off electronics – There are mails coming in, bbms, chats, twitter, facebook updates, etc that are continuously happening every day. You need to put your phone on silent while you finish getting ready and getting your child ready. If you start answering to everything in the morning, your stress level will rise and you will definitely forget something. Keep it on silent till you’ve got a little free time after your kid has gone to do your work.
8. Make it Fun – Put on your favourite music while waking up. Get your child to groove to a familiar beat when she’s getting ready. Currently my child is listening to Cocktail songs and loves to get up and dance a bit before she has her glass of milk. I give her that extra five minutes so she’s happy doing what she wanted to and I don’t need to push her to do something.
9. Leave the Mess – By hanging all the towels, putting the clothes back in the cupboard, aligning shoes, rearranging books you’re not going to do yourself a favour. If your house looks like a mess in the morning, let it be. You’re not having visitors drop in and assess you for cleanliness. You have a job to do. So focus on that. Clear the mess later.
10. Work the Internet – Pay your bills online. Figure out if there are any services that can deliver things or pick up items. Try to do as much shopping as you can online. The remainder you should keep for the weekend. Bank work, doctor appointments, etc that need to be done personally can be done on a Saturday while someone is looking after your children.