Updated: Apr 30
Being a working parent comes with a range of challenges, and recent changes to schooling, childcare and a rise in the number of jobs at risk has created extra pressure on some mums to continue performing their work duties despite the unprecedented circumstances. In fact, a recent survey from the charity Pregnant then screwed revealed that 78% of mums found it challenging to manage childcare and paid work during the lockdown. And 57% thought increased childcare responsibilities had negatively affected their career prospects, or would harm them in future (1).
Whilst I agree that employers and the government should support working mums during these times, the reality is nothing is guaranteed and as mums the best thing we can do is equip ourselves with as many tools as possible so we can continue with our careers and look after our loved ones.
As both an employed and a self-employed mother myself, I will share with you 9 organisation tips that have helped me through these challenging times. Whilst I don’t always execute each one perfectly, they have been my secret tools to getting through these challenging times.
Automate as much as you can
Whether it be to automate your social media posts, your emails, or your bill payments, automating administrative tasks will take a lot of hassle and stress off of your plate. You would simply just schedule something then when the time comes, just double check that it has been carried out and keep it moving.
Hire out / delegate as much as you can
I am sure that household chores have risen over the last few months. If you have a partner and/or your children are old enough, get them all involved in the housework, or you can hire a cleaner to help with the spring cleaning of the house, they say that money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you time. If you run your own business consider hiring some help from a freelancer from sites such as fiverr, task rabbit, people per hour. The point is to outsource as much as you can so you can still continue to work on the more important tasks and avoid burnout.
Simplify what you can
If there is an easier way to do something, don’t feel guilty about trying it e.g. buy a cake mix as opposed to making a cake from scratch, your kids will still get to experience the fun of baking, and the activity will not consume as much of your time.
I don’t know where I would be without my lists. I have two types of regular lists on my phone; a daily activities list and a weekly activities list. Other lists I have include a shopping list, but you can create lists for anything that you don’t want to forget such as content ideas.
Diarising events with 1-week, 3-days, 1-day and 1-hour beforehand reminders has helped me stay on top of the things I need to be on top of. It means that I can avoid missing something that’s important to me or my family/friends. This includes birthdays, webinars, zoom meetings or a personal shout out such as wishing someone luck for an interview.
Make use of online shopping as much as you can
The internet and delivery drivers have become good friends of mine, as I do not have to queue up in a line to get into a supermarket, and I instead spend just 10 minutes putting my shopping away once it had been delivered. I am a creature of habit, so I only purchase items I regularly buy/trust. If I want some sweet potatoes or plantain, I pop to my local grocer which doesn’t take too much time.
Waking up earlier
I mentioned in my previous post that I get up at 5am everyday, and can attest to how much time I have gotten back as a result of this habit. The first hour of the day is for “me” time and the second hour is for any chores/admin I can do at 6am, leaving me to divide the rest of the day between my family and work (a whole 14 hours!) followed by some relaxation by about 9pm.
Meal planning + batch cooking your meals
This is something that you can prepare whilst grocery shopping. And when you’ve finally got your ingredients, simply batch cook your meals, separate them into portions then freeze them. And on the night or morning before you want to eat your item, grab your meal from the freezer, and let it thaw.
Set expectations from the very beginning
And finally, don’t be afraid to put up a disclaimer on your website explaining that there may be a delay with deliveries, or put your working hours in the signature of your emails. The idea is to keep communication as open as possible so that your co-workers, customers, or clients can continue to work with you.