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Old 02-17-2013, 03:44 AM   #1
akmom
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Default Managing work and kids

Well I put in for my first job in 6 years (I have been a stay-at-mom almost exclusively since my first was born). It's not the first one I've applied for over the years, but it's the first serious offer I've gotten.

I meet with the supervisor next week to discuss the details and either accept or decline the job. At this point, there are still unknown terms that will have to be met to my satisfaction next week or I won't take the job. But I'm excited about it.

My husband still thinks there should be a stay-at-home parent while the children are young, and I do agree in theory. We always kind of agreed that whomever could earn the most would be the one working. But I asked him to keep his job at least for awhile, even if I take this one, just to make sure everything works out. And he agreed with that. In the meantime (or longer), I was hoping for tips on how families manage having both parents work.

I've obviously figured out the logistics of childcare and transportation, but I'm not sure how people pull off making dinner, doing the housework and spending time with the kids without keeping them up late into the night. I typically do these things during the day and it's rather crammed. It takes me at least 2 hours a day to do meals. And we already find ourselves letting the kids stay up for an hour past their bedtime (more on weekends) because we've got stuff to do with them that takes longer than we expected. It's been getting pretty disorganized over the years... I had a good routine going a few years ago when it was a key factor in managing kids' behavior, but now that that's pretty much established (and without much in the way of external demands), I've kind of let it go. Things like playing with a fussy baby at midnight probably won't work if I can't take a nap with her the following day...
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Managing work and kids

Well

We tend to have fast food several times a week which I don't advise. When were on our game we will cook extra meats on the weekends for quick preparation during the week.

Some tasks cant accumulate until the weekend or they just get to big and end up consuming the lions share of the weekend. For those maintenance tasks we have found that early in the morning before the house proper is awake is the best time.

My arrival goes something like this

Kisses and I miss you right after I walk in the door.

Then I change use the bathroom get a snack or drink ect

One on one with Chloe. half to an hour

One on one with Cole. Half to an hour.

Chores that need attention ASAP. Or dinner if I am cooking

Family time

showers homework ect.

Tuck in time Half hour each min.

Me time and retuck's

Surprisingly I do kind of stick to this schedule. I give time to the youngest first. And occasionally have to remind Cole his time is coming. Not very often though.

I think the big item is preping meals. especially if one of you does not cook much or not very good at it. Buy easy prep stuff for those anticipated nights.

Early morning once you get the hang of it really give you the most bang for your buck time wise IMHO. I can get alot done very quickly with no distractions.

I don't know the perfect system. This is just mine. And its not written in stone. But I am pretty consistent with it.
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Managing work and kids

I have no clue. I've always envied how working parents manage to do it all. I'm home all day and still find myself behind. Good luck though!
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Managing work and kids

I should add that I only work part-time (3.5 days per week set + commission based work on weekends).

In our house, everyone pitches in with housework, regardless of age, there is something everyone can do. The type of mentality of "We all live here, therefore we all maintain it" it gets done, our house is not spotless 100% of the time, but it's clean.

Everyone pitches in with cooking too, that's something we can do as we have 4 adults and 2 older children in the house, but even before that, it was always a shared duty between my husband and I. We have a slow cooker which is wonderful, we tend to prepare foods beforehand, say, on a sunday night I do usually cook a second dinner that can be put in the fridge and baked when I get home, such as a lasagne, pasta bake, quiche or such. We also tend to fall into a lot of "quick meals" stir fries, salads, soups, pastas, anything that can go from kitchen to table in less than 20 minutes is a winner.

Spending time with the kids can happen anywhere really, we make sure that we all sit around the table at the same time at dinner and talk during dinner, I probably fail at the whole one on one time thing, but I think that has more to do with number of children rather than my job, we do what we can, in the end, put 8 people in a small house and you all end up spending more time with each other than you want anyway, haha.

I am also an earlybird, which helps, it's 6:30am on a day that I work and I am up, I have a load of washing in the machine, the dishwasher is going and I am just sitting down with a coffee before I get the kids up to get ready for school. I find that for me, mornings are usually the best times to get things done.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: Managing work and kids

If I have learned anything in the last two years I have learned that when you have a family you tend to make it work no matter what. Right now I have a crazy schedule, one that I never thought any rational person would attempt or be able to do. But guess what, it's not that bad once I had a couple of weeks of it under my belt. And even when I think "ok, I can't take anything else" I always seem to manage what ever comes my way.

My week goes like this...
Monday: Up at 4am, out of the house at 4:45am. Work until 6 or 6:15am. Home, feed the kids, get them ready, out of the house by 7:15am and back to work. Take the little one to daycare at 8:30am. Open my retail store by 10am. Homeschool and wait on customers until my husband picks up the kids at 3:30pm. I work until 9pm. So the hubby handles the kids in the afternoon/evening

Tuesday-Friday: Up at 4am, and repeat above. I get done with work around 2pm. So I get the kids, grocery shop, whatever else needs to be done, and make dinner, chill with the family, and go to bed around 7:30 at the same time the little guy goes down.

Saturday- I still get up around 4:30, go to work around 6:30, home around 2pm. But I don't have to homeschool, or work in the store. It's my 'office' day for data entry, counting beans, shuffling paper, and doing anything I need to get done that can't be done throughout the week.

Sunday- Off day. I have to do all the housework that didn't get done all week long. We go to the laundry on Sunday and do it all in one shot (2.5 hours usually) And hopefully we can do something fun with the kids.

Most of the week I feel like I am just working and cooking and not a lot of time for other stuff. I take the time with my kids in little moments here and there. Sometimes I cook double one night, or a couple of nights, and then we just have heated leftovers. That gives me a couple of extra hours on 'leftover' day.

I gotta go! It's my LONG day!!! Don't worry, you will make do, no matter how hard it might sound
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Managing work and kids

I'm a single parent, so it's kinda the same thing...

For me, I find that sticking to a schedule, especially in the mornings, is key. Fortunately I also don't need a lot of sleep, so I can get up early to get stuff done before my DD has to wake up.

My day is like this:
Get up at 4:30 AM. 4:30 -6:00 AM is my time for exercising and getting myself ready for the day.

6:00AM my DD gets up - then its breakfast and helping her get ready. It's a lot better now that she can dress herself but I still have to help her with her hair etc.

Leave home at 6:40, I drop her off at school 7:00AM sharp. Thanks to Africa's first high-speed train, I'm usually at the office just after 7:30. I leave work at around 4:00 PM, pick her up from school, and we usually get home around 5:00 PM. Then it's play-time. We spend 30 min to an hour doing what she wants to do, together.

I don't spend a lot of time on dinner. If I don't have something that I pre-prepared and froze, it's something quick like Pasta or stir-fry.

After dinner she has to go take her bath and get into her pajamas and then it's story-time, (usually around 7:30) which means a continuation of spending time together, but with a lot less excitement than before.

When she is asleep, I do the dishes, clean up, and spend some time doing other things. That's when I stop being dad and get to just be me. Considering that I don't need to go to bed until around 11:00 PM, it's enough time.

What helps immensely is the fact that I have a lady who comes in twice a week to do the cleaning and ironing. So I just have to take care of getting the laundry washed (which doesn't really take time) and things like doing dishes and wiping down surfaces after dinner. Before I got her, I used to spend my evenings cleaning and ironing and that does become a bit much after a while.

Weekends - you will rarely see me on here over weekends. Especially on Sundays, I try to spend as much time as possible with my DD. On Saturdays there are unfortunately a lot of other things that need to get done around the house and in the garden, as well as things like shopping and preparing food to be frozen, etc.

Oh my. I just read through what I wrote and I sound so freaking domesticated, it's not even funny. I might have to hand in my man-card soon
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: Managing work and kids

SingleDad feels the need to hand in his man-card, while women around the world are swooning at the thought of such a domesticated man.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:14 AM   #8
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No reason to hand in that man card, you have raised the ante for many, many, men out there.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Managing work and kids

Wow, you guys are all early-birds! I get up at 7 a.m. and that won't need to change with this job. I tend to stay up late rather than get up early to finish jobs around the house. I'm not very structured with my time, so that's kind of the only way I can ensure I have time to get things done. If it ends up taking an hour longer, then you just stay up an hour longer... but if it ends up taking longer than you expected in the morning, it just won't get done, because you have to go! Right?

Also, I don't have to worry as much about waking up the kids. By bedtime they are tired, and if they do wake up, I can expect them to go back to sleep. It seems like if I so much as sneeze in the morning, the kids wake up. Then they want to come downstairs and stand on my feet while I make breakfast, and I can't really expect them to go back to bed for an hour or less.

What kinds of meals do you guys make during the week? We tend to plan our "special meals" on weekends, but even during the week, dinner takes a lot of time to make. I have tried making bulk meals to freeze, but it seems like we just run out of freezer space.

We eat pasta and stir fry sometimes, but it isn't quick. It takes forever to cut up the vegetables and make the sauce for stir-fry. And maybe I just don't have any quick pasta recipes... all mine take 1/2 to prepare (if I'm not interrupted) and about an hour to bake. I do require all meals to contain a protein, a vegetable and a carbohydrate (tubers or whole grains). I sometimes get the frozen prepared meals at the store, but I find they are too salty and skimpy on vegetables to suffice for meals on a regular basis.

I don't know... I just feel like dinner takes so long to make. I survived off Ramen noodles for years, but with a family, you can't really do that...
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Managing work and kids

With stir fries, sometimes I will chop up the veggies in the morning, and put them in a bowl in the fridge, then I only have to tip the bowl into the wok when I get home, otherwise, I go for veggies that don't need to be chopped, bean shoots, snow peas, peas, corn, small button mushrooms, spring onions (usually with a pair of scissors). If I'm in a rush I don't worry with a thick sauce, a bit of soy sauce, lemongrass, garlic and lime juice works wonders, especially if you are using an infused oil like chilli or garlic.

Pasta doesn't need to be baked, a fresh pasta in a pot of boiling water will take no longer than 5mins, dried pasta no more than 10-15mins. To cut the boiling time in half, boil the water in a kettle before putting it in the pot.

For sauces, anything you can do in a frypan works. Our family is vegetarian, so all of our protein is from non-meat sources, however I imagine something like some some diced chicken with a jar of crushed tomatoes, grated (as grating is faster than chopping and cooks faster) carrot and zucchini and some olives would work well. Shellfish cooks very fast, so you could use the same vegetable base only with prawns, scallops, mussels and so on.

A few other quick things we make:

Egg rolls, which is really just stir fries veggies wrapped in a thin omelette.

Savoury crepes, similar to the egg rolls but wrapped in a pancake, only I tend to go a little different with the veggies in these just out of preference.

Cannellini bean salad with the beans, cucumber, tomatoes, baby spinach and parsley, served with crusty bread. (The recipe I got this from, if I recall correctly, was a tuna and canellini bean salad)

"Kitchen sink omelette" which is basically an omelette with everything in the fridge in it (ie: everything but the kitchen sink)

Udon soup (we use tofu, but chicken would also work) stock, spring onions, bean shoots, enoki mushrooms, miso paste, udon noodle.

Laksa (again with the tofu, a non-veg laksa typically uses prawns or fish) rice vermicelli, laksa paste, ginger, lime juice, stock, coconut milk, bok choy, chilli (optional).

Frittata with salad, if you make the frittata quite thin and cook it in a frypan (similar to an omelette, but with the milk to puff it out) it only takes about 5 minutes in the pan.
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