Disclaimer: I’m not trying to toot my own horn. The following is how I go about my life and if you happen to be in the same boat as me (a full time working mother), then I hope you will either find this funny and obvious, or helpful.
My role as Client Service Lead means I spend my day in client meetings, creating and implementing marketing campaigns and on occasion troubleshooting where need be. I often work after hours, too, because that’s the nature of agency life = you are always on and answerable to clients 24/7.
To give you the full picture, my husband, Dan (who also works full time) and I have three children aged 3, 7 and 9. Our older 2 boys attend the same school, and our youngest is in full time kindergarten at a different campus.
Here is how I make my life orderly, factoring in our kids’ school and after-school activities. Not to mention my work and other commitments. Please note, some of these suggestions come at an expense and I fully appreciate that some of them are out of reach for some people.
- Make friends with other school parents who live near you and roster the shit out of school picks up and drop-offs. In our case, our friends take the boys to school every day so we only have our daughter’s kinder drop-off in the mornings.
- We try to roster every after-school activity as well. My go-to offering is the pick-up so I don’t need to leave work too early.
- Get up before your family to set up and organise your day, and get in some exercise if you can. I wake up every day at 5:45am to exercise and put on the odd load of washing (which sits in the machine till I get home because I forget to hang it).
- We have a house cleaner who we adore (and who is truly my lifeline) who helps us 6-7 hours a week across two days.
- Dan and I have a Google Calendar for our kids’ after school activities. This way everyone knows who is responsible for what and we don’t forget to pick them up!
- We have a nanny who helps us twice a week with pick up and who will give our kids dinner. It truly takes a village.
- We are also lucky to have grandparents who are very helpful and available should we need them.
- Lucky last and I think the most important: I’m a big believer in limiting daily decisions. For example, I make and eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every week day. This enables me to eliminate decision fatigue.
As I said, it takes a village. Working full time and parenting three young children is indeed a juggle, but a worthwhile one. I’m proud that our children understand that both of our jobs are of equal importance and I’m thrilled to set a positive example for my children. Like every parent, our goal is to role model good behaviours for our children. Sometimes we succeed without trying, and sometimes it’s much harder. A personal goal of mine is to encourage my children to think about work as a positive extension of themselves and not something that they have to contend with. I’d like to believe that I’m succeeding with this.
Finally, you know those movies where the female lead character is frazzled and the song changes to an upbeat ‘climb the mountain’ tune and finally the protagonist succeeds?
Well, I don’t want to get to that frazzled stage where I need that song. I like my theme music to remain consistent.