Tips on juggling family and work

Updated post.

So many of us are busy juggling jobs, kids and a social life (mine involves a sofa and Netflix most of the time but you catch my drift)-we are BUSY, people- and it can be tough-going at times as we struggle to keep all of those damn plates up in the air and spinning, while feeling happy and strong with it.

Those who follow me on here and across my social platforms will know that I’ve written my first book #Mumboss out in May (a guide on how to survive and thrive at work and at home), whilst working as a full time blogger and vlogger here at Honest Mum®.  I also have two sons (my literal suns), aged 5 and 8.

Life is packed to the rafters but I flipping love it.

I live for my kids, have a loving relationship with my husband Peter, I adore my job: it’s creative and fulfilling, endlessly stretching and stimulating me and as I work flexibly and best of all: I’m in charge of my schedule. Fab, fab, fab you’re thinking. Yes, but…. while it’s liberating that the internet never sleeps and I can work when the kids are at school and once they sleep, it can also become a bit addictive too. The internet doesn’t sleep and often that means I don’t either!

My life is my job. Literally. I write about my life in both editorial and advertorial features on the blog and vlog our milestones too as well as holidays and work events too. I’m a personal brand and honestly, sometimes it can be hard to switch off.

The good news is that I’m pretty adept at self-care. I don’t ever want to return to the dark times I experienced post birth that I suffered with my first son.

I also had a period where I felt very low last summer due to the effects of a close relative being ill, and whilst it only lasted a few weeks compared to the 10 months plus post traumatic birth, it was a stark reminder that I need to keep an eye on how I feel and give myself permission to rest, relax and switch off.

Happy mama equals happy kids and a thriving biz!

So, as always, this post and the tips within are a reminder to myself as much as to you guys helping us to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.

I’m sharing what’s working for me right now and want to emphasis that self-care is an on-going process. Life and careers evolve and as they do, new challenges arise forcing us to adapt in order to keep ourselves happy.

It’s a strength, not a weakness to recognise when you need to slow down. My kids always help me to focus on what matters in life and work. They’re my compass.

 

1. Become Strict With Your Schedule

I oscillate between being strict with my schedule, integrating daily exercise and switch-off time, to chaotic days where I stop for the kids after school and nursery then working late (I wrote my book in the early hours), which leads to being a grumpy mum and in truth, pretty unproductive the following day. Working that way, in the long term, is a false economy when it comes to productivity. You think that you’re catching up by working late, but the fatigue catches up with you eventually. I’m now consistently trying to get to bed at the same time each night following a similar routine which doesn’t involve burning the midnight oil (more a hot bath and burning a scented candle). More of that below!

 

2. Reach Out For Support

Another obvious one right: to reach out when you need support, yet most of us (me included) try to be superwoman and only ask for help when we feel at breaking point! Not good. Ask for help when you need it, from friends, your partner etc. reach out and discuss your woes, take time out together and allow yourself to process, cry, release your frustration with those you love and trust and don’t put so much pressure on yourself.  Ask where you can for practical support too. Can family and friends have your kids for dinner one night, can anyone cook you a meal or could you take it turn on the school drop-off and pick-up?

Could your partner take over childcare once back from work so you can focus on your own business in the evenings? I just ask that you make tweaks to your working day that ensure you feel supported.

I need to work longer hours during the day now that I’m not up until crazy o’clock at night so the kids go to After-To-School Club several times a week now so I can cope with my workload. Yes it’s pricier than before but by making cut-backs elsewhere (supermarket shopping online for example where I’m not distracted to buy everything in store in person) has helped me budget and the after-school fees make sense financially for me when it comes to my business.

It also means I get to properly switch off and focus on them when I do collect them.

 

3. Winding Down Before Bed

I am a complete night owl but I realise that it’s not great for my health. Now, I switch tech off for at least 2 hours before slumber (hello beautiful, enriching books), I sip 2 cups of chamomile tea (2 is my magic number) and often do some yoga to fully wind-down before I sleep. Lastly and most importantly, before my head hits the pillow, I take Vitamin B6 and Zinc with Magnesium which can aid restful sleep (ask your pharmacist and doctor about this for yourself).

A good night’s sleep HONESTLY means a cracking day’s work the following day and a chance to feel more relaxed during down-time with the family. Sleeping well affects every waking moment of my life to be fair… It sounds so simple, ‘Just go to bed earlier’ but I know from experience that it can be hard to get into a good sleep routine. It’s not just your kids who need it.

Go read Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution which will transform the way you think about sleep.

 

4. Remove Physical and Emotional Clutter

Don’t put off an emotional and physical spring clean. Ask yourself if there are negative people in your life and how you can distance or remove yourself completely from their drama. Can you refrain from seeing them as much and slowly pull away? Could you unfollow them on social platforms? Whilst no one wants to hurt others’ feelings, often we end up hurting ourselves by keeping bad energy present in our lives.

Once you get more ruthless about who deserves your time and energy, you’ll find bigger reserves for those who matter and you’ll feel happier in every part of your life.

Again spring cleaning physical junk (whatever the season) will also unburden you. I’m constantly sorting and filtering out things I don’t need or want so I have more physical and emotional space both at home and in my mind.

 

5. Making Exercise and Eating Well a Priority

Again, being a woman of extremes means that I’m either full throttle into running most days and eating virtuously (slow releasing Mediterranean diet my ancestors passed down to me) or the complete opposite!

For the most part, I stay clear of sugar which hates me as I suffer from PCOS, and gluten and I fell out in my late teens… When I stick to eating well 90% of the time, I unsurprisingly feel fabulous 90% of the time. Rocket science it is not!

I cook in advance, even making up a big pot of brown rice this morning that will last for a few days, and I like to make soups and casseroles that can be kept in the fridge and freezer and enjoyed in different meals for the family throughout the week. Every meal includes a salad and or seasonal vegetables too.

I’ve got tons of recipes that will hopefully inspire you on the blog.

So there you have it, 5 tips that could change your life. I just need to stick to them myself!

 

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My Tips On Juggling Work & Family - Honest Mum

 

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59 Responses

  1. Rachel

    Loved this post it really resonated with me. I’ve also done so much reassessing, and I’m focusing on people and things that add value to my life, rather than drain it! It makes a huge difference. #brillblogposts

    Reply
  2. Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies

    It’s so important to look after yourself, something I have really only learnt as an older woman. Before then everyone else came first all the time. Nature doesn’t allow that from me any more! Thanks for all your insightful tips Vicki xx

    Reply
  3. Veronica Mitchell

    Great suggestions! Thanks for sharing. I am a very busy entrepreneur and a mother of four children – 9, 7, 4 and 2. I thank my sisters and parents who are very willing to lend a hand when everything is so hectic.

    Reply
  4. Shmuel Septimus

    Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective!

    It’s so refreshing to hear that we can and must take care of ourselves too. As a husband, father of 6 and a nursing home administrator, it can become a challenge to balance it all. And how much more so for my wife!

    This is something that we are working on together, to find the time that we need for ourselves to remain effective and productive for everyone else that we need to be there for.

    Reply
  5. Daniel

    This is really a lovely post. It’s very helpful and informative. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Reply
  6. Emma | Health Grinder

    Thanks for the reminder! Things have gotten so hectic in the past months since Christmas, and I’ve barely had any time to catch my breath. I definitely need to take some time out and slow down.
    Emma | Health Grinder recently posted…60 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Sugar NaturallyMy Profile

    Reply
  7. Ménesa

    Excellent advice and lots of food for thought. As a mom of three and an aspiring blogger, I’m very guilty of self inflicted sleep deprivation. Thanks for the gentle reminder of what’s important and the significance of sleep. Brilliant post!
    Ménesa recently posted…4 Simple Steps To Make Your Personal Brand Brilliant!My Profile

    Reply
  8. Natalie Brett

    I really needed to read this today! After half term, I’ve promised myself to only work while my son is at school and try to be really present when he is home. I’m guilty of trying to look after him after school while simultaneously working/cooking dinner/tidying the house, and it’s so stressful! Thank you for the motivation xx #BrillBlogPosts

    Reply
  9. Liberty Henwick

    Interesting what you said about burning the midnight oil. I think there are many women trying to ‘do it all’ but they end up suffering for it in the end. Some great tip, I also struggle with the internet use till late in the evening, hard to leave work when you are a blogger! #brillblogposts

    Reply
  10. Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food

    These are all such wonderful tips, and I can certainly use improvement in most of them. That nightly wind-down time is huge: my hubster likes to watch TV in bed, but I try to relax with a magazine…which is always about food: oops, is that still technically work, then?! I think that I’ve managed to be consistent in one area: taking the time to exercise. I don’t always do it at the same time of day, but it’s so important to my state of mind. And eating well? Well, that comes with the territory, LOL! (I am very lucky that my blog isn’t centered around comfort-food or dessert, or I’d be in trouble.) I am making it my goal for the rest of the year to improve in the other areas you discuss here. Thank you for the inspiration!

    Reply
  11. Morgan Prince

    Great tips Vicki. I’m very strict with my work, I only work when the boys are at school – if they’re home then I am present. 🙂
    #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  12. Michelle

    This is spot on and something I can relate to so much. I’ve been getting out of practice going to bed at a decent time and learning to switch off, so this was the reminder I needed. Thank you #brillblogposts

    Reply
  13. Moonsparkle (ZM)

    Good tips, thank you. 🙂 Getting support is so important. And exercise and eating well. I’m currently doing a Food and Mood course and it’s interesting learning about how food affects us, and how we can help ourselves feel better with changing our eating habits.

    Zania
    xx

    Reply
  14. Chloe Day

    Hi, these are great tips. I am rubbish at turning of the technology before bed but I do have the chamomile tea. Exceecise always helps me although I’ve also been a tad rubbish at this lately #BrillBlogPosts

    Reply
  15. Rachel Collins

    “It’s a strength, not a weakness to recognise when you need to slow down” – Yes!! I think that’s THE most powerful statement in this article. We’re no good to anyone if we’re burnt out. Thanks so much for sharing Vicki.

    Reply
  16. Jo Allison / Jo's Kitchen Larder

    Great advice! For me having a routine and sticking to it really helps when it comes to juggling my blogging time, other work commitments and family. It’s not easy and I do agree you can’t do it all and it’s ok to ask for help. Sometimes I need to step back and remind myself that I’m not a Superwoman lol and it’s ok. My biggest and constant fight is switching off at night. I have never been a great sleeper, my mind always wonders and decides that bedtime is the best time to think through the world’s problems lol. I definitely find it easier to drift off if I stay away from my phone and computer at least couple of hours before bed which I’ve been trying to do as much as I can and it definitely works, just got to make it more of a regular thing! Fingers crossed! xx
    Jo Allison / Jo’s Kitchen Larder recently posted…Pancakes (Crepes) with Mascarpone Cream & Cranberry CompoteMy Profile

    Reply
  17. Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    Such fab tips…especially the one about sleep!! I need to keep reminding myself of that one. My trouble is, I enjoy what I do too much! Take last night for example…I started writing blog posts at around 8pm and I was still there over 3 hours later, even though I’d promised myself I’d have an early night, because I was just enjoying writing too much! But you are right, the lack of sleep catches up eventually and that is so not good for productivity! Eb x
    Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie recently posted…4 Romantic Recipes for Valentine’s Day and #CookBlogShare Week 6My Profile

    Reply
  18. Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies

    It’s s interesting to hear how you manage your time Vicki because you are such a high achiever. Thank you for your tips. I totally agree – this year I’m trying to prevent myself working too late – it really slows you down in the long run xx

    Reply
  19. Paola

    Well-said! I’ve also grown better at self-care. When you talk about your hard post-partum experience it resonates. It took me years to admit the important of self-care.
    Your suggestions are all valid! thanks for sharing 🙂
    #BrilliantBlogPosts

    Reply
  20. The Frenchie Mummy

    I turn the computer off after a certain and like you I say ‘hello’ to books before bed. I am quite bad a switching off but I realised that sometimes you have to. Some things in life are more important than your blog. #brillblogposts
    The Frenchie Mummy recently posted…10 Beauty Products You Should Try in 2018My Profile

    Reply
  21. Jenny Kakoudakis

    3/4 am in the morning !!! Vicki you will burn out! I found out the hard way as well, as I still work full time in the city (and do not want to give up my City career to be honest, still love my day job!)

    Reply
  22. Emma Lymn

    Great tips! I used to remember back before we had kids. We didn’t have to organize and manage our time so much. Now I get giddy when I see blocks of free space on my planner.
    Emma Lymn recently posted…20 Surprising Benefits of Sleep [Infographic]My Profile

    Reply
    • Claire

      Hi Vicki – I’ve shared a link to your lovely post on my regular PainPals feature Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! Claire x

      Reply
  23. Rachel Craig

    Some interesting tips. Self – Care I think is something which well have been encouraged in the last few decades. Whereas before that time I believe that we were encouraged to look after / out for each other. I know that my family had been brought up with such a Philosophy.

    Self – Care is something I was not used to. Yet it is something that needs to be done. We need to ensure sufficient nourishment, rest, etc in order to be productive, happy, etc. Though I do believe that we do need to look out for each other. As otherwise people can become very self – centred / selfish, Competitive :- Often no matter what they have :- They want more, i.e. Become Greedy. Show – Offs, etc.

    Emotions are important, we need good experiences. Therefore it’s nice to be nice. Nice to be helpful. Important to be Respectful. Imperative to Reciprocate. Good Health comes with living with good experiences, company of kind, compassionate individuals, etc.

    Thanks for your blog. Seems a bit of Work / Life Balance. Each individual’s circumstances can be different. Degree of control over work life, commitments, etc. Children when at school, allows for routinue. Whereas when Caring for others can mean irregular hours, etc. Some people work shifts e.g. Nurses, some Doctors, Ambulance crew, etc, etc. They also often deal with stressful situations, etc. Maybe they could be doing with being offered opportunity of calm, relaxing Enviroment in which to rest, recover, rejuvenate, etc. I believe the Emergency Services need to be Valued, Respected, Awarded Appropriately, etc, etc.

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      I agree there Rachel and part of being strong for others is being able to look after yourself. I know that from caring for ill family members and overcoming trauma. It’s not selfish but vital to recover and rest yourself 🙂

      Reply
  24. Katie

    Thank you for these great tips! I’m off to purchase a copy of The Sleep Revolution book, as I struggle with making myself getting an early night and as you say often end up grumpy and unproductive the following day! I love your evening schedule too. Xo
    Katie recently posted…Taking a Social Media Time OutMy Profile

    Reply
  25. Moonsparkle (ZM)

    Good tips, thank you! My fave is No 4. I have been physically decluttering in recent months and it would be good to concentrate on emotional decluttering too.
    Moonsparkle (ZM) recently posted…ReflectionsMy Profile

    Reply
  26. Sophie Le Brozec

    Great tips Vicki – I love The Sleep Revolution and Thrive by Arianna Huffington, and reading Thrive was what inspired me to do my first digital detox. I used to be such a night owl but since starting my own business and having kids 10 years ago I’m all about the mornings now – 9pm sees me a zombie on the sofa (rock n roll style!). It’s always about what works for you at that particular time too, so I’m constantly juggling what works for me! xx
    Sophie Le Brozec recently posted…The Importance of Alone Time For MumsMy Profile

    Reply
  27. Mummy Setra

    These are all really good tips! I’m back at work full time in August, and have just started exercising again – and it makes me feel great! Small steps……
    Mummy Setra recently posted…When you realise that you’ve let yourself go…..My Profile

    Reply
  28. Rebecca

    These are all such great tips! I think disconnecting from Social Media when you are trying to focus and get your head down helps too! I often become distracted when I now I need to do a post or photoshoot or something! #brilliantblogposts
    Rebecca recently posted…THE BEST ways to help deal with your kids on a hangoverMy Profile

    Reply
  29. Lucy At Home

    Love this so much. I’ve always been a girl who needs her sleep, but I’ve been cutting that time shorter and and shorter over the last few months (blogging does that to ya! Haha) and I know I’m feeling the strain because of it. Thanks for the reminder to get it sorted. A also agree that clearing out clutter (stuff & emotional baggage) makes a big difference. Fab post x
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Blogcrush Week 15 – 26th May 2017My Profile

    Reply
  30. Michelle

    Some great tips. I’ve been strict on my bedtimes and it has made such a difference to me the next day. I’m well over do a sort out and it’s amazing how good it feels after letting go to pointless junk #brillblogposts
    Michelle recently posted…How to help someone with depression who won’t ask for helpMy Profile

    Reply

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