I am, without doubt, the family’s Project Manager. It was only last week I was contemplating everything that I feel responsible for during each day and the list included:

  • Household admin
  • Cleaning and chores
  • Food shopping
  • School admin (for my eldest two who are at different schools to each other)
  • Writing and marketing for my blog - Living with Jude
  • I also work part time as a companion to elderly people
  • Plus random AOB!

I’m going to be honest here, I’m terribly disorganised. I lose paperwork, have no idea what Elsa or Jude need to take to school on any given week (and wow does the responsibility as a school age parent feel pressured at times!) I have to go to the supermarket every day because I invariably forget something vital. My house is a mess or “lived in” as a friend of mine referred to it as recently and I’m always behind with my writing work.

BUT, I have made a vague attempt at correcting some of my ways….

Over the last couple of months I have used the calendar on my iPhone which automatically connects up to my laptop calendar. This is helpful with three children and two jobs I can’t remember what we have planned day-to-day so with a quick look on my phone, I can see whether someone needs to be somewhere or if we have a spare half a day to do something like flake in front of the TV. I’ve slipped up a few times and not added an event immediately, and predictably we didn’t turn up somewhere. Oops. Lesson learnt - don’t rely on your brain Alice because it no longer works to its best capacity.

Another thing I’m trying to do is FILE PAPER WORK IMMEDIATELY. Ok, I lie; this is a massive ambition of mine, but in reality I don’t know where most of my paperwork is! The folders I keep it in are messy and disordered however at least the intention is there! I try to file everything away once a week so it doesn’t stack up in the kitchen but in reality, I’m still not great at this. I’m sure most people would do a lot better than me.

This was from one folder when I made an attempt at re-filing recently. Oops. It was so bad, I even wrote a blog post about it back in September “Paper, Paper, Everywhere”

It’s amazingly difficult to balance life and work especially when you have a child with a learning disability. I see how much time he needs from me, this week I have been putting down the laptop and ignoring the mountain of laundry and using the time to read a book with him in bed or sitting in his hammock swinging together. He can be the sweetest, most adorable child if he’s given the attention he needs, and whilst this isn’t always possible, I know I can give him more. Just by doing so this week, I can see how much more smiley he is. And this makes me happy. How do you all balance work and family?

We have fallen into a few basic routines which I think helps balance work life/family life pretty well:

  • I invariably stick a washing load on once Emmeline has gone to bed and fold/put away the washing that has just dried. It seems to work as I see her bedtime as the end of the formal day so tidying up feels quite cleansing. 
  • Another way of saving time and helping to maintain sanity is batch cooking dinnersfor the week. This involves making large dinners such as lasagne, soups or pasta sauce that you can save for another day or even freeze - not something I’ve succeeded at previously but an exercise I’m literally going to employ from this week onwards. I’d also love to buy a slow cooker so I can throw a load of stuff in before work and come home to a sweet smelling kitchen ready for dinner.
  • Elsa loves to be given chores so she helps a bit with the cleaning every week. Yesterday she cleaned the wooden stairs for me and tidied the play room, other times she’ll hoover, wipe down door frames and kitchen cabinets or dust furniture. I actually find that engaging the children in chores is another way of spending time together as they see it as a game so it becomes more light hearted. 

Jude hoovering his room

 How tragic am I?! This post is really portraying me as a saddo, isn’t it? I do go out sometimes, I promise.

I think overall, having stressed and strained for a long time, I’m beginning to realise that very little of the small stuff matters. What matters is having a bit of quality time with the children each day and everything else falls into place. In terms of balancing life in general, all of the above helps and I definitely intend to attempt all of my own suggestions (!) a bit more successfully in 2017. I’d love a bit of time for myself so hopefully this will aide me well.

Read more about Alice and Jude's adventures on her blog Living with a Jude