My life and how I spend my time is quite different now that I’m a working mum. Quite different to my life pre kids I mean. Yours probably is too.
I’ve learnt a lot about being savvy with my time. What did we ever do with our time before becoming parents anyway?
Let’s face it, after you become a working mum your time is precious. You don’t have a moment to waste.
Most of us don’t waste it, but do we all have enough ‘me time’ to recharge from taking care of things at home and at work?
In 2015 I surveyed 300 working mums in Australia about their return to work including fears, challenges, advice and enjoyment. Time was everything to them. It could either be a source of stress or enjoyment.
Here are the ways my life has changed the most to ensure I spend less time doing the things I dread, so I have more time for doing what I love.
The kitchen is not my favourite place. Before kids came along hubby and I would spend hours cooking gourmet meals.
After we had our first child we realised we no longer wanted to spend so much time in the kitchen cooking so we stopped cooking gourmet meals that took forever to prepare (and our waistlines have thanked us for that too!).
Now we only cook meals that take up to 20 minutes to prepare and cook. We also don’t cook every night and rarely cook enough food for just one night.
If I’m going to slave over a hot stove I may as well prepare extra meals for leftovers (either fridge or freezer). The extra meals become lunch or another dinner later in the week (or both). You can do this with almost any meal you cook. My favourites are roast, soups, nachos.
Before I had kids I used to hit the gym at least 5 times a week, if not everyday. I love it!
After having kids though I didn’t want to dedicate as much time to the gym. After having my first baby I tried though. Needless to say it didn’t last long for me.
Eventually I found that I could still achieve my strength (and post baby weight loss) goals by doing body pump twice a week (sometimes 3 if I’m lucky). It’s such an efficient workout. The muscle burn continues long after the class has ended. It doesn’t have to be body pump though. There are other efficient workouts like cross-fit or spin.
Before kids we used to spend much more time doing the grocery shopping. Together. And we took our time too. We would leisurely go shopping once a week and invariably forget things and have to go to the shops a few more times that week for smaller shops.
Now as parents we are much more organised. We shop once a week, our meals don’t change much week to week so the list doesn’t either. I spend 20 minutes ordering online and hubby picks it up the next day. I’ve learnt to write fairly detailed notes to the shop assistant to ensure quality items. We rarely forget items and don’t make too many extra trips to the shops during the week.
Before having kids we had much less mess to clean up and yet cleaning the house was a constant source of negotiation (sometimes even arguments). When I started living with my hubby I did all the indoor housework and he did all the outside housework (mowing, gardening). After a while though I realised he loved doing the outdoor chores and I hated cleaning inside the house. Plus I felt that what I did needed doing weekly and quickly became undone. Outside housework though lasted longer, except in summer when the grass grows really fast.
Then we adopted the hour of power where we would both clean the house (inside only) together. Divide and conquer.
Once having kids though we decided we’d rather pay someone to do it. Best. Decision. Ever!!
Yes I still tidy the house and do some cleaning on the go (especially the kitchen). Having a housekeeper makes me feel less stressed about mess and frees up a substantial amount of my time.
I’m proud to say I’ve never spent too much time ironing, especially work shirts for hubby. He’s always ironed his own shirts (I’m very pro gender equality).
Now we outsource the ironing of work shirts too. I sometimes iron special occasion dresses, but by and large only buy clothes that I know can be washed and hung out to dry without needing ironing.
If you’re ready to experience your version of success then find out how I can help you reclaim your time here.
This is a guest blog post I wrote for The Corporate Mummy. Check out her blog here.