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Routine Advice needed from working mum's

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#1 purpleblackqueen

Posted 23 February 2013 - 12:52 PM

I am waiting to hear back on a job, which I am fairly confident about getting.

My hours would be 8.30am-5pm M-F so we (inc kids) would have to walk out the door at 8am.

I am after routine examples from other working mums that have kids please- incl bedtimes etc

I have told the kids that they WILL have chores to do (not time specified) and that there will be consequences if they are not done.

I am planning to split up the housework (for me) over the week, even though that Tuesday night I will have TAFE and then the homework etc that comes with that, so that Shopping will get done Saturday, along with Lawns, Baking etc, so that Sunday can be family time.

Edited by purpleblackqueen, 23 February 2013 - 12:55 PM.

#2 roses99

Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:13 PM

Great news about your job, PBQ! Hope it comes through for you.

For me, it's all about being prepared the night before. If we are, the morning runs smoothly. If not, it can be disastrous. I make school lunches (mini quiches, muffins etc) weeks in advance and freeze. That makes life so much easier. I also have a week's worth of uniforms, which I iron and hang up on the weekend. I also pack the swimming bag, library bag etc on the weekend. Then once the week is underway, we're prepared.

Night before:
**Take lunch out of freezer and thaw in lunchbox in the fridge
**Pack school bag - sign diary, check for notes etc
**Get clothes ready for the next day
**Put out shoes/socks etc
**Clean kitchen (having a clean kitchen makes the next morning much easier)

On the morning:
**Get up and get the kids their brekky
**Get kids dressed and let them watch TV for a few minutes while I have a shower
**Clean teeth/brush hair and get out the door.
The morning routine can all be done in about an hour, if we're prepared.

In the afternoons:
**Try to cook in bulk several times a week. I rarely cook on the days I work. I reheat a casserole or lasagne or curry that I cooked and froze earlier. Then all I need to do is cook rice and chop and steam veggies. It makes that crazy hour before dinner so much easier AND there's less washing up to do. By being prepared, you can avoid resorting to takeaway
**Give the kids a definite routine: take off and put away shoes, unpack lunchbox and wipe out ready for the next day. Take out diary and check for notes etc. Check what homework needs to be done.
**When I work, I get home at about 5:30. The kids are hungry and dinner isn't ready yet, so I let them eat a carrot which means they're not filling up on other stuff before dinner. My son does his homework at the dining table while I get dinner ready.

#3 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:14 PM

I have been back at work part time for a few years and full time since late last year.  Main advice OUTSOURCE.

I do my groceries online on Sundays, and they get delivered after 6pm on Monday.  So all I need to do is put them away.

If you can afford a cleaner, it is money well spent.  Even if I had to pay the same as I was earning, having someone else for 2-3 hours a week takes away SO much pressure (for me, anyway).  I could not be without it.

If not, I suppose do a bit each night, and declutter.  It is so much easier to keep things clean when it isn't messy.

Also a hand-held or easy access vaccuum.  If I do the kitchen and dining area every day, the rest of the house doesn't seem so bad. And with a stick vaccuum in the kitchen, it takes 2-3 minutes, instead of lugging the big cleaner out of the cupboard.

Make lunches the night before, or make it one of the kids chores to make their own.  Lay out uniforms etc the night before too.

My morning routine:
6.45 - 7am - Kids get up and dressed.  
They eat breakfast while I have a shower.  
Piano practice while I'm getting dressed/ready. (So I can hear!)
They pack bags and get organised while I tidy kitchen and make sure everything is organised.

Out the door by 8.  (They can go on computer or hand held games if they are ready earlier.  No TV though).

If they do as they are told and stay focussed, it goes very smoothly.  (Maybe once or twice a week rolleyes.gif ).  The secret is having it all done the night before - finding news, library books, etc etc etc.

At night we have a babysitter/Nanny, who takes them to things (sport, piano etc) or starts homework/dinner.  I get in between 5-6.  Finish up what they are doing, baths, pyjamas.  Get ready for next day, lunches, uniforms.

Bed is around 8pm, lights out at 8.30, so I can watch TV! cool.gif

Good luck with the new job!

#4 wallofdodo

Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:16 PM

My routine has always been 'wing it'. As long as the son was fed and in bed by a reasonable time. This may have to change with two.

So Iguess my advice is have a list of things that MUST be done, and try to achieve those, then fit I what else you can. there is always tomorrow.

#5 gina70

Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:43 PM

My children are older and I have been working full-time for a few years now.   I have a large 'to do' list each weekend.  The kids have their own chore chart on the fridge and on the weekend they help with the bigger jobs.  I often pay dd2 to vacuum and mop.  I don't do housework during the week, too tired and busy.  I bulk cook every few months and freeze.  Use the slow cooker and other easy meals.  My morning routine:

5am:  I get up and go for a walk/run
5:30:  shower and coffee/check emails
6:dd2 gets up, she makes her breaky and gets dressed
6:20: dd1 gets up and gets ready (I pack her breaky to go)
I make lunches while they are getting ready, then get ready myself
6:50: leave the house

Afternoon routine:
We get home anything between 4:30 and 5:30
I usually start the dinner
Girls relax a bit/ I lie in a hot bath if dinner is organised otherwise after dinner
6: dinner
6:30: chores and showers
7: homework
8:30: dd2 into bed
9: dd1 into bed

I am also in bed by 9pm exhausted.

#6 FeralCrazyMum

Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:47 PM

Not working at the moment, but I did for the last couple of years.

Agree with PP about being prepared the night before, lunches, bags packed, notes checked, clothes laid out. Also, meal planning is invaluable ... eg, if you know Tuesday nights are busy, that will be leftovers or a quick meal. The absolute worst is getting home and THEN deciding what to have for dinner.

Vegies can be all chopped up in one big batch, if you store them in a tupperware container in the fridge, they'll stay good until used.


Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:49 PM

Be careful Liz. Going from no work, to fulltime being on your own will be MASSIVE. You need to consider when you will get quality time with your kids too, when will you get time to help with homework etc?, who will mind the kids after school? During the school holidays (esp Christmas that goes on forever and ever) I wonder about the ability to keep up with everything and TAFE as well?

Seriously I would reconsider fulltime and look for part-time.

I only work 2 days a week (school hours) but my kids have after school activities Mon, Tues, Wed and then dance for a few hours on Saturdays. My DH is FIFO, and to be honest when he is away I get very very tired and find it hard to keep up with everything. I get up at 5:30am and go to bed between 9:30pm and 10pm.

#8 Pearson

Posted 23 February 2013 - 03:15 PM

I cook things on the weekend (pizza muffins in the oven right now) for lunchboxes.
I have made sandwiches (meat and or cheese only) and frozen them, and put them in the lunchbox, they are defrosted by lunch
Are the kids going to after school care?  If so, homework done there.
washing - one load a day, dinner, precooked?  eg lasagne, butter chicken, reheated.  Slow Cooker or pressure cooker is a good idea too.  With the pressure cooker, you can do chicken and veg in 30 minutes max.  You could do curries and or casseroles as well.
Burgers, grilled chicken or steak and salad or vegies.
Oven baked fish and chips?  done in 30 minutes.
I try and get up before the kids and have my shower, then get them up, my kids dont have a shower in the morning 9 out of 10 times.
Pack their lunch the night before
Food shop online for pantry goods, fridge goods etc.  Meat I buy in relative bulk, ($210 of meat feeds us for 5-6 weeks).  Vegies I get on a Saturday at the fruit and veg shop, and sometimes pick things up on the day (if I am running low or something that has a short shelf life).  If you can get to a shop while on lunch, that can help too.

#9 Iwantitall

Posted 23 February 2013 - 03:40 PM

4 kids here and we have to be out the door at 7am.  I Do everything the night before so all I have to do in the morning is wake boys up and get them dressed. The older two have Breakfast at Before School Care and I send breakfast to Daycare for the younger two.  I try and put a load of Washing on as soon as I walk in the door and it gets hung out on clothes airers under the house.

I give the house a quick clean every night (it is easier to keep clean when no one is home all day!). I also grocery shop online, sanity saver for me.  I clean on Sunday afternoons as then it is nice and clean for the start of the week.  I will usually do washing first thing Sat am (usually bed linen and towels as rest is done during week). And Bake just before cleaning so it can be cooking while I am doing other stuff.  I do have a Dh, but he usually works 6 days per week, including 1 day on weekend,.  We usually try to reserve half a day for family time and then get the kids involved with baking and things like that as well.

We pay someone to do the yard, otherwise there would be NO family time.  I am only working three days per week now after returning from Maternity Leave, but we keep the same routine as the two days off are usually spent at appointments or helping at school and looking after our 6 month old ( except breakfast is had at home)

My kids have fixed chores during the week. These are not negotiable.  The older two must clean room and make Bed every morning (usually kept pretty tidy so doesn't take long). And then they must put the dishes away that we're washed in the Dishwasher overnight.  The younger one also cleans his room/makes bed and makes sure the playroom is clean (also kept reasonably clean......I am a bit of a neat freak lol).  When we get home they must unpack bags and hang them up, put shoes away and put uniform in machine.  They do homework while I cook and after we eat they must clear the table.

On weekends they have the opportunity to do "extra" jobs for pocket money.

It is never going to be easy, but these things at least make it easier

#10 whoisme

Posted 23 February 2013 - 03:54 PM

I'm leaning toward a PP The Magician.

We are all excited you have found employment however I have two children 6 and 10 (think they are older than your children) and have gone from SAHM to Part-Time work from 8am to 2.30pm - this is just on the brink for me of being too much.

No routine is the best routine.

Get up, they have breakfast by such and such a time, then immediately after TV is switched off and they get their school uniforms on and clean teeth with sock and shoes.  Then TV goes back on until DH leaves to drop them off at school.

I cannot make lunches the night before as my kids have Coeliacs disease and the bread/fresh cakes/slices etc go stale so we have to do that in the morning and freshen it up in the microwave to make it nice and soft again.

At night dinner is ready when dinner is ready, so long at the kids are in bed by 8.30pm, it is dinner, shower, hot drink with a story and bed (while the other child is being washed the other watches TV or does playdoh or lego).

I could not do FT work PBQ.  However, I do absolutely applaud single parents who work full time, I just take my hat off to them, they are to be admired.

#11 purpleblackqueen

Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:10 PM

QUOTE (whoisme @ 23/02/2013, 04:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm leaning toward a PP The Magician.

We are all excited you have found employment however I have two children 6 and 10 (think they are older than your children) and have gone from SAHM to Part-Time work from 8am to 2.30pm - this is just on the brink for me of being too much.

No routine is the best routine.

Get up, they have breakfast by such and such a time, then immediately after TV is switched off and they get their school uniforms on and clean teeth with sock and shoes.  Then TV goes back on until DH leaves to drop them off at school.

I cannot make lunches the night before as my kids have Coeliacs disease and the bread/fresh cakes/slices etc go stale so we have to do that in the morning and freshen it up in the microwave to make it nice and soft again.

At night dinner is ready when dinner is ready, so long at the kids are in bed by 8.30pm, it is dinner, shower, hot drink with a story and bed (while the other child is being washed the other watches TV or does playdoh or lego).

I could not do FT work PBQ.  However, I do absolutely applaud single parents who work full time, I just take my hat off to them, they are to be admired.

My kids are 11 and 6, so basically the same age as yours. I find out on MOnday if I have the job, but I and several of my friends and even the Recruitment agent that was involved in the interview, have the same feeling.

Edited by purpleblackqueen, 23 February 2013 - 04:12 PM.

#12 niggles

Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:28 PM

Will you be able to afford a weekly or fortnightly cleaner when working full time? That could certainly help.

#13 purpleblackqueen

Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:43 PM

QUOTE (niggles @ 23/02/2013, 05:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Will you be able to afford a weekly or fortnightly cleaner when working full time? That could certainly help.

Not sure, that is something I would have to look into, depending on whether my neighbour would pick the kids up and have them in the afternoon or whether I have to hire a nanny. There is no vacancies in the after school care.

#14 luke's mummu

Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:55 PM

I work part-time and DH work full-time. We have decided not to have a cleaner (OK our house is never very clean), but instead we save our money to hire someone to do the big jobs on an irregular basis. e.g. Window cleaning, big yard clean-up, tree lopping, spraying for spiders.

Do your children have any sports/after-school activities? Have you considered how you will fit these in?

Also need to consider the cost and availability of care for the school holidays and pupil-free days.

Edited by luke's mummu, 23 February 2013 - 05:17 PM.

#15 kyrrie

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:11 PM

My routine is fairly flexible.

Morning are just get ready and go. I get up at 6.30 to shower etc. get the kids up at 7.10, they get dressed, breakfast, pack lunch boxes in bags and we go at 7.30.

We get home somewhere around 4.30. The kids have activities on three days so we need to fit those in. We have a rule that homework and music practice needs to be done then they can have screen time. This gets it done  cool.gif

Dinners we keep easy. Meat and salad. I do chicken in the slow cooker that does a few meals and in winter casseroles in the slow cooker. The kids are night owls so bedtime should be 8.30 but tends to get pushed back to 9.30 for DS and DD goes when she is ready, she needs less sleep than me most of the time. Kids make sure they have bags packed before bed and DH and I do lunches before we go to bed.

At the moment I don't get enough sleep but that's because I have 3 or 4 hours of work to do at night, not actually due to working full time.

Only kitchen and living areas get cleaned during the week, everything else is left to the weekend. I do all my washing on the weekend. Truthfully my housework standards are pretty poor during the working week, I've stopped feeling bad about it. We really could do with a cleaner though.

Good luck. It's great to hear things so positive for you.

#16 purpleblackqueen

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:14 PM

QUOTE (luke's mummu @ 23/02/2013, 05:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I work part-time and DH work full-time. We have decided not to have a cleaner (OK our house is never very clean), but instead we save our money to hire someone to do the big jobs on an irregular basis. e.g. Window cleaning, big yard clean-up, tree lopping, spraying for spiders.

Do your children have any sports/after-school activities? Have you considered how you will fit these in?

Hayley does touch footy, which starts is Sept, she will go home on footy night with a friend whose dad is the coach.

#17 Prickly

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:19 PM

Good on you Liz ! Fingers crossed you get the job original.gif

Ignore the posters who are discouraging, Liz.
What have you got to lose ? Give it your all, & in a few months you might be able to negotiate flexible working conditions if you have impressed your employer. Who knows - you might enjoy it and cope really well ! At the very least, you will have added to your employment history & made some industry contacts that might lead to something else.

I've got three kids on my own & work full time, and mine are younger than yours. Yes - I'm exhausted, but the rewards of being employed outweigh the negatives.

I make rolls and freeze them every Sunday night, and cut up rock melon on Sunday evening to last for a few days. Bananas are a staple for school fruit break as well, to cut down on my prep time.
Kids have a full set of uniforms for the whole week, so I only need to wash school clothes once per week.
I shop during my lunch break, or straight after work - nothing worse than dragging the kids to the shops on a Saturday morning (and all mine play weekend sport as well).

What after school care have you got in your area ?

#18 Prickly

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:22 PM

Just saw your post about after school care....I've had this post open all afternoon trying to reply to it original.gif

#19 Expelliarmus

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:28 PM

I don't have a routine, not really. Get up, get dressed, have breakfast. I mean I don't try and do stuff in the morning like wash dishes or clean anything or the like. Sometimes I'll leave washing for the kids to hang out but half the time they don't anyway.

At night I do the running around, get something vaguely edible on the table and make sure we all have clean underwear, do a few dishes.

All the heavy cleaning is done on the weekends - floors, toilet, bathroom. Kid#1 does the loo, Kid#2 does the bathroom wipe down, Kid#3 hangs out a load, Kid#1 sweeps, I wash dishes, everyone folds things ...

You will need to let go of the pristine cleanliness, Liz. It isn't going to happen if you are working full time. There are going to be baskets of folding or ironing sitting around for a day or two (or more), there are going to be dust bunnies under the bed, there are going to be sticky bits on the floor that get a spot mop with a cloth, there is going to be a few random piles of papers that need attending to but you are not sure where to put them and there is going to be crumbs in odd places.

The biggest challenge will probably be to accept that new reality.

Edited by howdo, 23 February 2013 - 05:29 PM.

#20 babychacha

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:30 PM

I love the idea of a stick vacuum cleaner ..... for me it would be great.

PBQ - it is exhausting working full time as a single parent but you will adjust. Routine is indeed important for single parents. Definitely keep checking about places at after school care. I'm glad its not an issue for me as that would make life really hard.

If you can afford it, I would definitely get a cleaner otherwise those two days on the weekend involve a lot of cleaning and not much family time.

You figure all this kind of stuff out as you go along. You sit back and take a look at what you want out of life....a clean house (and hey that may be what some people need), quality time with kids etc and then make adjustments.

We need to be out of the door at 7.45

I get up at 6.20
Shower, prepare breakfast and lunches
Wake DS up at 6.50
Eat breakfast
I shower, he slowly (ever so slowly) eats breakfast, gets dressed, teeth, makes his bed
I get dressed, make up, pack our bags and then out the door

Pick him up from after school care at 5pm.

We get home at 6pm
Prepare dinner
Bath DS
Eat dinner
Bed for DS at 7.30 or 8pm....depending on how fast I can be with cooking dinner

And then start it all again the next day, and the next and the next and the next....lol

Its why you sit back and readjust things because when you're on your own, life can get a bit stir crazy with trying to fit everything in "in time"....

#21 babychacha

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:37 PM

Gina - your routine exhausts me just reading it...... I do need to factor some more exercise in though so get why you do it. Am in bed by 10.30 myself and when it gets to Friday....am falling asleep on the couch at 9.30pm.

PBQ - just wanted to add, all single parents will understand the need to work full time. No one plans to be in this situatiion and we know you certainly didn't but here we all are. I hope you get the job.

And just a little note  - No need for anyone to take their hat off. You do what you have to do in this life and as exhausting as it is, there are always people doing it harder.

#22 Chasing*Rainbows

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:38 PM

I have 3 kids at home (15, 13, 11) and our routine goes like this on work days (Monday-Thursday)

Lunches packed the night before (kids do their own)
Uniforms, shoes, socks and school packs at the table ready to be put on.
11 year old goes to bed at 8.30
13 & 15 go to bed at 9.30


I get up at 6. Have a coffee
Wake 11 year old up at 6.15 (he leaves early with me)
He showers, dresses and grabs his breaky while I shower and get ready for work
He goes and cleans his room. We don't leave until his room is clean every morning
Out the door with 11 year old at 7.30, school drop off at 7.50 and at work by 8

13 & 15 year old walk about 500 metres to school so leave around 8


Pick DS (11) up at school at 3
Home by 3.30, all kids are now home
Out of uniform, afternoon snack
I give the house a quick vacuum and open it up after being closed all day.
Kids hang out a load of washing if I haven't hung it in the morning or get washing off and fold it
I prepare dinner
Dinner around 6-6.30 every night
Kids do the dishes, sweep the floor, wipe down benches and tables and take the garbage out
Kids prepare their lunches for next day
Showers are done by 8
I shower then spray out the shower with bleach, shut the door and give it a wipe down in the morning shower.
DS in bed at 8.30
13 & 15 year old go to their rooms at 8.30 and read, watch tv or relax until lights out at 9.30

I study from around 8.30-11.00 most night then collapse into bed.

Fridays I'm home so get to give the house a good tidy up, mop the floors, change the sheets, catch up on any washing, prepare meals for the weekend and study in the afternoon till the kids get home.

Goodluck I hope you get the job. Do you have uni students in your area that would watch the kids in the afternoon for you or neighbours that will watch them?

#23 ChunkyChook

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:41 PM

It kind of gets to the point now when you are a single parent that you have to work full time. Once your youngest turns 8 your centrelink entitlements drop $166 a fortnight. Employment income threshold is also lowered. You can only earn $62 a fortnight before centrelink entitlements are effected, they then take 40 cents of every dollar you earn. Single Parenting Payment doesn't cut payments until you earn over $176.

That said, I do not know the ins and outs of the OPs financial situation but I say go for it if you can. If you are going to be effected when your youngest turns 8 then get a full time job while you can. I am assuming like me, you also dont get rent assistance either and now need to pay for rates and have a stash in case the hot water service blows up or a pipe bursts.

Feel free to PM for ideas, I am lucky enough to be able to come home after school drop off most days and only have a DD but I have a few things I do to make life easier and I am trialing my cleaning schedule I have created when I get home in 2 weeks. It is a 4 week plan to keep on top of all things house.

#24 ~Mo+Moosh~

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:41 PM

I'm not nearly as good at the organization thing as I should be but the key to me feeling on top of our 'routine' is knowing what's for dinner in advance. If I have to get home at 6 and sort it out all hell breaks loose.

I'm about to start using online grocery shopping again, hopefully this helps with the meal planning and not having to drag 3 kids to the shops.

I'm also considering hiring a cleaner to come once a week.

As others have said getting as much organised the night before is also helpful. I also find making sure the kids get to bed on time leads to a smoother morning as they wake refreshed and not tired and crabby.

I also need to get the kids fired up about doing chores as I really do think everyone pitching in makes a huge difference to how efficient everything runs.

#25 PurpleWitch

Posted 23 February 2013 - 06:15 PM

You learn to drop your standards.

Every day the kids bring in their bags and unpack them.
I pack their lunchbox for recess at night and make their sandwiches fresh in the morning.

They set out their uniforms for the next day.

During the week I do the basics and save the big cleans for weekends.

It's about letting go of your old routine.

If I'm too tired? I don't do it. I've given up stressing about housework.

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Great birthday party buys from Etsy

Handmade crafts to decorate and personalise your child's next birthday - from banners to cake decorations, we've got gorgeous party finds from Etsy.

Creative storage ideas for the kids' rooms

Creative and practical storage ideas for the kids' toys and books can also add some stylish decor to your home. Visit babyology.com.au for more stylish modern finds for hip kids & parents.

Awkward grandparents

When Grandma and Grandpa pose for a snap with the kids, things can get very weird, very quickly.

To the mum in the doctor's waiting room

Maybe the mum I saw in that waiting room, seemingly disconnected from her baby, doesn’t have the support she needs.

10 space-saving nursery ideas

Starting a family doesn't always mean moving into a bigger house - not yet, anyway.


What's in a name?

Baby Names

Looking for a classic name, or an unusual name? Our Baby Name Finder is for you, search or browse to refine your shortlist.

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