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Work Life Mum Life

Balance? Is that even achievable? I had a few people recently write to me asking for me to share my tips on work/life balance and I think I chuckled. Do I look like I have it under control? Some days I do, I’m bouncing off the walls feeling super accomplished and like I’m a teacher-mum-superhero. Then there are other days when I look around my house and see a pig sty, kids with stains on their clothes and dirt under their nails, dishes in the sink, and piles of dirty washing in the laundry and wonder what I’m ordering from Uber Eats for dinner. WHICH IS TOTALLY FINE! I didn’t write this to get trolled by other mums who have a different balance to mine so please bear that in mind as you continue reading.

I work Monday, Wednesday and Friday which I originally wasn’t a fan of, as I would rather get my three days done and then have a super long weekend, but I have now grown to love it as I think the balance of one day on and one day off is amazing. Every day that I am at work I have the following day off, so can escape students and every day I am home I get to escape the kids the following day and go to work. I am also really pleased with the fact that Ari’s two days of kinder are on my days off, allowing me to spend some one-on-one time with Ambrosia and of course get errands done and attend some events with one child. She’s such a little legend and one child is so much easier and quicker than two. I can also now dedicate some time to educational activities with her. I know I shouldn’t compare but Ari was much more advanced at her age with the alphabet, colours and counting etc. Poor thing doesn’t get a chance to answer any questions with an older brother who knows it all.

cuddles in bed

A typical day for me looks something like this:

  • Kids’ outfits are laid out on their beds from the night before. Lunch box is ready to go in the fridge and back packs are packed. I have four different back packs. One that Ari takes to kinder, one for my mother-in-laws house with spare clothes and nappies, a different one for my mothers’ house with more clothes and nappies, as my mum is a little more demanding with her requests (I could send a carry on sized suitcase and she’d still want more for them) and lastly the fourth backpack is the one I grab as I’m heading out the door with them, the lightest one.
  • I wake up at 7.30am (I often snooze once) Ari comes into our room and I snatch a few cuddles with him as he is so affectionate. Best way to wake up. I’m out the door and on the road by 8am, so my morning routine involves about 10 minutes of vanity. Rob usually dresses the kids and drops them at the grandparents’ house on the days I work or Ari to kinder on the days I’m home. This alone is so helpful otherwise I’m sure I would be up at 5am.
  • On my way to the garage I usually take something out of the freezer and throw it in the sink of the pantry. Sometimes if it takes me longer than 5 seconds I don’t defrost anything and wing dinner that night. I also grab a muesli bar (breakfast) to eat in the car on the way to work. Don’t judge me Susan.
  • I am very lucky to be a teacher, which means when I am well organized and there are no afterschool meetings or events organised I can be out of work and pick up the kids by 4-4.30pm. I always do pick up.
  • Once we are home, roughly 5pm, the kids play and I get started on dinner. If it’s a kinder day I usually shower the grot of a child I pick up so he doesn’t dirty the whole house with his hobbit-like feet and filthy clothes. Seriously, I think carer’s laugh as they watch out children roll around in the sand pit and splash paint all over their clothes and think to themselves, HAHA lucky he’s not my child. Where as I yell at students in my classroom when they’re not wearing an art smock to paint and these are practically adults!
  • Dinner will be done and on the stove by 5.45pm, I’ve thrown on some gym clothes and husband is usually home by then, so I can get to the gym for a 6pm class. These days, gym days, Robert will do dinner. Both kids feed themselves so it’s not a particularly hard job. He also has sink duties, which means all the dishes/dishwasher because I’m the cook. We have a very balanced relationship when it comes to responsibilities around the house. I learnt to let go. I used be quite anal about things which resulted in me having too many things on my plate. Now I just let him do them his way and scoff behind his back (as you do).
  • 7.15pm I’m back from the gym and the kids jump in the shower with me. Robert dresses them in their pajamas and we take turns for bedtime routine. We alternate days depending on who is home but it’s roughly fair.
  • Story, prayers, favourite part of the day, 2 minutes quiet time with each child and then DONE!
  • 8.30pm free time or dinner for me on the nights I’ve gone to the gym. I try and get to the gym 3 times a week but I listen to my body and prioritize. If I’m tired I’ll try fit in a yoga session but it also depends on what time Rob got home.
  • We watch trash TV, have a wine or a whine, I scroll through my social media and reply to emails and comments that you lovely people send me and he usually falls asleep on the couch while I think of new pranks to play on him. I go to bed a midnight, never before as I feel as though I’m robbing myself of alone time if I go to sleep. Getting outdoors relaxes me too so I might go for a walk on the beach, a drive or a bike ride on days I’m feeling low on energy.

We usually clean the house together on the weekend. Washing I do every couple of days and sometimes if I’m busy Rob hangs them, I know those days are special……. He usually wants something. I don’t iron. I don’t do bins. I don’t clean the toilets.

I think now that I have written it all out the key to balance is having a supportive partner in my case. I can’t imagine how tired single mums must be and I take my hat off to you all. I do need to let go more, about how tidy my house is because I think I yell at the kids to pack their toys and the toy room approximately 3-153 times a day. I also hate clutter which means there is less visual chaos going on in my house. Storage was a huge factor when we built so everything has a place. Ari makes his own bed and neither of them have toys in their bedrooms which means their rooms are quite easy to keep neat and tidy.

sometimes entertaining them is hard and other times you’re thinking about who will clean the fingerprints on the windows

There you have it. My days in a nutshell. I think attitude plays a huge part (as well as delegation), I deal with the hand I’m dealt and get it done. I’ve always been the strong one in the family, the one that hustles and gets s*it done. We are the mums right? No one listens to a mum whine so what the point? Plus I would never make the mistake of whining to my own mother about anything being too tough because then I’m in for a 3 hour lecture on how she worked in tobacco fields in the village when she was in high-school and then a factory when she was in her 20’s and had houses paid off by her 30’s and no washing machine, blah blah blah, yawn. Hi mum, thanks for reading all my blogs, love you, don’t cut me out of the inheritance, and remember I’m your favourite.

I choose to stay back at work to get marking done rather than taking it home

Lastly and most importantly, make time for you! You are the most important person in the family, without you the family doesn’t function. As a new mum I was constantly sacrificing myself and my free time for the family, but if mum isn’t happy the whole family isn’t happy. I have found that I am much busier these days, especially with the blog and all the events I get invited to, but the more I do, the more energy I have, as long as it’s fun! Like endorphins, I’m pumped after a busy day. When I wasn’t working and I had sloth days on the couch I felt depressed by the time Rob got home and this usually resulted in tears. We all have good and bad days but right now I am good with how my life is. Maybe I am balanced after all……?

Image by Chloe Wilson Art

Thanks for reading, love you all. – Zoe xoxo