Surviving being a parent and working

Tell
A couple of weeks ago I posted that I work full time and have five children and 1 grandson. Founded the industry campaign, Choose Hair and run my two business’ EB Talent Specialists and Jobs In Hairdressing. I was surprised at the reaction I had from people within the industry. Many asking me how I juggle all these balls at the same time. So, I thought I’d share how over the years I’ve changed how I parent and some things I do to help the week run as smooth as possible. And believe me, it doesn’t always!

My children are now 22, 20, 17,5 and 4. My eldest Lucy has a three-month-old baby Ezekiel. When I had three older children under five life was manic! I was rushing from one place to the next. I was the mum on the school run that was either late dropping them off or late picking them up. Yep, I was the parent that did “forget” picking up their children on a few occasions. When I had the younger children “The gingers” as they’re affectionately known as. I knew I had to change things. I’d also changed a huge amount from being in my 20’s with the old ones to now being in my 40’s. I went from being a young mum to being an old one overnight! Not that I feel any different in myself, but my patience has certainly shortened over the years.

I think I’ve listened to every podcast. Seen every Super Nanny program, but nothing prepares you for when you have your own children as you have this thing called emotions! Kids are pretty good at making you feel bad for working and guilty for not spending as much time with them as they would like. Kids if they had it their way they would have your undivided attention 100% of the time. In reality, this is impossible but what you can do is give 100% of your time when with them.

Keep kids physically and emotionally stimulated.
Join clubs – tired kids sleep better! My Harrison has a bundle of energy. You know the kind of child that could easily be labelled disruptive in class as he gets bored easily. It’s not that he is bored it’s because he is super intelligent and finishes the work quick. One of his best sayings is “what we doing next!” I’ve realised very early on the more mentally and physically stimulated he is the better he sleeps and concentrates in class. This has a huge positive impact on the house. We set solid ground rules and he knows what’s expected of him. Martha on the other hand is the polar opposite despite looking the same and everyone thinking they are twins. Their personalities couldn’t be further apart. Martha needs time to be calm.  A huge amount of sleep and a far gentler approach. The one thing both thrive on is positive praise. Don’t treat your children the same. They have different personalities and what works for one may not for another.

Have a routine
Having a solid morning and bedtime routine is so important. Not only for the children but for me too. I need to be able to have ME time in the evening to finish of jobs around the house or to just chill on the sofa. If your up every five minutes with them wanting drinks, toilet stops and that special thing to tell you will never get a moment to yourself. Have the routine where you ask them is there anything they would like to tell you prior to bed. Give them a drink in the kitchen (avoids spills in the night!). Nightly wash. I send them to choose the one teddy they would like to take with them. I’ve stopped taking their special toy car or doll as all they wanted to do was play. Even though bedtime can be surrounded in a room full of toys they have to know the right time to be able to play and rest.

Organise the house
Organization has been a real game-changer for me. I remember the days of searching for my keys, book bags, shoes and coats all before leaving for the school run. Now I have a key hook and regimental about putting them there every time I come in. This has saved me so much time. Shoes go straight into the shoebox once we come in (and saves time on cleaning too!). Coates and book bags get put on the rack ready for the next day.

System for clothes washing clothes
I try to do all my washing over two days. I absolutely hate ironing and frankly don’t have the time to stand there for hours at the weekend. So, I tend to hang the clothes whilst still wet. Once dry, I hang them in outfits. This has saved so much time. The school my children go to don’t wear school uniforms. It’s great for the children to have the freedom of choice but it means you have to be far more organised for the week. On a Sunday after the washing is dry. I hang the clothes into outfits. Each evening I leave the outfit our for the children. All is there ready to put on trousers, top and jumper. All matching and ready to go. No more arguments of miss matching clothes.

Spot Martha hiding! I only noticed this once the picture was uploaded!

Give the kids “their time”
Set a time each day when the children can have your undivided time. This only has to be 10 minutes a day to make them feel special. Doing this is so valuable. Too often we get bogged down with work, social media and life in general. Children feel valued and love having you to themselves. Use this time to reward and give praise.
 

Ask the kids the right question when they return from school
When children leave school the usual question parents ask children is “What did you do at school today?” and the usual answer is “Nothing!” We all know this is most definitely not true. Here is the question I ask:
  • What made you smile at school today?
  • Who did you sit next to at lunchtime?
  • Does everyone have a friend at playtime?
  • What was the book about that your teacher read?
  • What is the word of the week?
  • Did anyone do anything silly to make you laugh?
  • Did anyone cry?
  • What did you do that was creative?
  • Which is the most popular game at playtime?
  • Tell me what was the best thing that happened today?
  • Did you help anyone today?

Never leave a room empty-handed
There is always something that needs putting away. Get into the routine to never leave the room empty-handed and you will be surprised just how much neater the house is!

Work when it works for you!
Some people swear by going to bed early and rising before the children. Being super organised and putting in an hour of work before the children have even woken up.
This is not me! I work best later in the afternoons and evenings. You must do what works for you and your family. Try not to compare to others and stay in your own lane. Sometimes things work and sometimes they won’t. Don’t beat yourself up over the small things. When worrying about a situation or an incident ask yourself will this affect me this time next year?  If the answer is no, move on to something that makes you smile! Happy parents = Happy children!!

You do what is best for you and your family, to smile and be happy! 😊
Written by Emma Brady @Jobsinhairdressing