I should add ‘sleep deprived’ into the title too, because essentially the tiredness and the juggling of toddler-ness make working full time so much harder. Working makes the sleep deprivation and the toddler-ness much harder. Double-edged swords and all.
So, how to survive it.
I know, this isn’t the ideal solution but you know what? There’s not much that’s ideal when you’re exhausted and stressed out and the kids are screaming and you have to get to work on time and deadlines are looming and there’s nothing healthy in the house to eat and… you Just.Need.Caffeine.
Drink the caffeine.
I actually scoffed slightly writing this, because since the half marathon 4 weeks ago I’ve done damn all exercise. I’m blaming it on needing new running shoes, and the dark evenings.
However, when I was getting out a couple of times a week for runs, it was headspace. It was a break, a chance to think of nothing but the next step, the next turn. It makes a big difference.
The downside to living in a small village that’s a fair distance from a town or city, is the lack of access to a gym/fitness classes, but if I could do a weekly body balance, boxercise, Zumba etc type class then I absolutely would!
This is probably the one of the hardest things to achieve – and we’ve definitely not totally nailed it yet, but routine (or at least a form there of) is essential.
From deciding who’s going to do what each morning in order for everyone to leave the house on time, to finding a manageable evening routine, it really does matter.
- One of us feeds the kids while the other showers. Swap, and one dresses the kids while the other showers
- Clothes are out each evening ready for the next morning
- We each put a child to bed, then both collapse on the sofa at roughly the same time
- Digital detox – we need to implement this
Again, food so often gets pushed off of the priority list when you’re incredibly busy, and since I’ve been working my diet has been atrocious – I’ve put on about 4kg in 4 months and am desperately unhappy about the fact.
I have an Everdine subscription which means that frozen, healthy, delicious meals are delivered to me on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly schedule. I grab one from the freezer before I leave for work, it cooks in the microwave, and then I eat at least one truly nutritious meal a day.
Everdine recently sent me a complimentary delivery and are offering Budding Smiles readers a 36% discount on their first order, with code IN1BUDDINGSMILES.
Neither Toby or Martha sleep through regularly, and if they do then we’re usually up for the day at 5am. As much as it sucks to not have much of an evening, Phil and I generally head to bed around 9-9:30pm so that we are just about rested enough to drive safely and cope with a full day’s work each day.
I know it’s not always an achievable luxury, but with many cleaners charging £10-12 per hour, I think this is one of the best ways we spend our fairly limited disposable income.
Our lovely cleaner comes over for 1.5-2 hours each week, and focuses on the floors, surfaces, bathrooms, and bedding. This means that we only really need to worry about the dishes and laundry on a day-to-day basis.
Be kind to yourself
Us parents are so, so hard on ourselves. On a daily (sometimes hourly!) basis, I find myself saying or thinking how I’m not doing well enough, I’m not a good enough Mummy, not a good enough wife, not a good enough manager, not a good enough blogger…
You ARE good enough. You are doing several bloody hard jobs, really damn well, and so am I!
Please join me in trying to stop the self deprecation and up the self care.
Whatever self care means to you, do it when you can. Here’s my list:
- A hot bath
- Blogging (Because I love writing!)
- Watching a film or TV show with Phil
- Drinking a glass of prosecco
- Going for a run
- Messaging my closest friends when I’m struggling
- Doing my nails and makeup
- Cheese on toast
- A sweet treat
- Drinking coffee
- Date night with Phil
Leading on from my last point, holidays aren’t possible for most of us every time we have annual leave. Taking time off but not going away? LEAVE THE KIDS IN NURSERY!!!
If you feel guilty for this then let me know so that I can give you a little slap because you know what? If the kids are happy in childcare, you get some time to yourself and/or with your other half that you do rarely – if ever – get otherwise.
Go for lunch dates, do a hobby together, stay in anew just chill. Do whatever makes you happy.
I mean obviously, I know we all cuddle our kids. But I mean hold them, breathe them in, even on the tough days try to never forget that everything is for you and for them. Your family.
Being a full time working parent is exhausting. Your brain is simultaneously focusing on work, and even if only on a subconscious level, is also hoping the kids are okay, planning meals, thinking about keeping everyone happy at the weekend, wondering whether you remembered to switch the washing machine on before you left the house, whether you locked the front door… it’s hard and it’s relentless.
Also, if you love you job then don’t ever feel guilty for that. I couldn’t cope with the stay-at-home mum life and working is great for my sanity. It’s not how I’d planned parenthood to be, but it’s what is right for us.
**Everdine sent me 6 complimentary meals in exchange for an honest blog post. All words and opinions are my own**