Work-life balance can be especially tough for mums, especially those with young kids.
The transition each morning from home to work is challenging with struggles that can range from a toddler who refuses to go to the toilet to the military precision required for changing a baby. It’s no wonder working women can enter the office exhausted and frustrated before their work day even begins.
According to the Australian Work and Life Index 2012 National Report, The Big Squeeze: Work, home and care, chronic time pressure has increased for women working full-time in recent years, with 68.6% of full-time working women often or almost always feeling rushed and pressed for time.
As a mum who works part-time, I have struggled with getting everyone out the door on time and feeling calm by the time I finally get to my own office. It has taken me several years to actually get to work on time, which was ultimately helped by work moving closer to me!
Here are five simple tips to help you cope with the morning transition and have a calm start to the work day.
- Be organised. This is a simple but often forgotten tip. Iron all the clothes and make all the lunches the night before. Pack everyone’s bag, including your handbag. The less you have to do in the morning, the better.
- Wake up earlier. You don’t have to get up hours earlier, just 20 minutes will do. Even 10 minutes will offer that little bit of extra space to help with the morning — extra time that could help when the dreaded smell of a pooey nappy that hits your nostrils as you’re putting the baby in the car. For me, the extra “bonus” time helps me feel in control and much less shouty.
- Fit in some exercise. Whether it’s 10 minutes or 30 minutes, fit in whatever exercise you can in the morning. Studies show that exercise is a brain booster so get moving for a great start to the day. This will not only help in being more calm with the kids but also in keeping you focused and less tired at work. We all know we really want to press the Snooze button but keep reminding yourself how much better you will feel after some morning exercise.
- Have a set time for the kids to wake up. Your toddler is still sound asleep and you need to leave in 10 minutes. You say their name loudly and hurry them out of bed. Are you really that surprised when they wake up grumpy? Create a time they must be awake by so you can get everything organised smoothly.
- Give yourself a break. Not every morning is going to be perfect. Some mornings are crazier than others. Work out what is and isn’t working for you and your family and apply it to the next day’s routine. And before heading into the office in a mad rush, take a moment to breathe in and ‘put the work hat on’ as you walk through the door.
Do you find your mornings are mostly calm or frazzled? What are your tips for being calm in the morning?