GUEST POST BY ANONYMOUS
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When you have a family, there is rarely a moment of boredom! There is always something to do, someone to talk to or help with homework. And the chaos can continue at work. We’re all working longer hours in the office these days. Close deadlines and bigger targets mean we have to stay back late, start early, and even catch up from home. Juggling all this and managing your household means you rarely get a moment to yourself.
The trouble is, there is so much to do that you may even struggle to find quality time to spend with your family. While it can feel nice to be wanted and in demand, there is a fine balance between feeling needed and feeling pressured or stressed. The work-life balance is very difficult to achieve these days. And if you feel pressured in one area of your life, chances are you’re not getting enough time in others.
To help balance you out, there are a few clever hacks you can try. Most of us would love more quality time with the family. We want to spend time with our children having fun, not just pushing them to do their homework. To gain extra time here, you need to take it from the other activities in your life. That could mean working more efficiently, or even giving up some of the time-consuming things that you have in your life.
One of those time-consuming activities is the housework. If you’re doing it, you’ve got not time with the kids. And if you delegate it to one of them, you’re still not achieving the quality time with them you’re looking for. Why not hire house cleaners to take care of those tasks you hate to do? It could free up several hours over the course of a week. And isn’t it lovely to come home to a sparkling clean house?
Preparing a healthy and hearty meal each evening can become a cause for indigestion when you’re missing out on that time with the family. You can easily half the amount of time you’re slogging away in the kitchen by batch cooking. This means you prepare enough of a meal for two portions each. Freeze the leftovers to have another day when you don’t feel like cooking. It will also save on your gas or electric bills because you can microwave to reheat the extra portions. Best of all, you don’t need to wash up any pots that night!
Handy appliances can take the strain and hassle out of everyday household chores. Robot vacuums, dishwashers, and tumble dryers take on the jobs we love to hate. But best of all, they’re busy working while we’re sat relaxing and having fun with the children. They are certainly worth the investment. After all, you can’t put a price on spending time with your kids!
Have you asked your boss about working at home? If you can work from home for a day or two each week, you could save yourself hours on the commute. And it will also save you cash from the fuel or train tickets. Best of all, it means you’re home when the kids get in from school to give them a big hug. And you could even walk them to school for a few minutes of extra time together. You don’t have to dress up for working at home. Does that save you a few minutes in the morning?
Of course, if you’re looking for lots of extra time with the kids when they’re small, you might consider reducing your hours at work to part time. This gives you much more time at home that you can spend with the little ones. It will also save you a lot of cash on the childminder fees. It’s important to consider where this may leave you financially. Sometimes you can be better off working part time because of the savings on the commute and childcare. Use a spreadsheet to work it out carefully.
Hobbies and interests are important. We all need some ‘me’ time. But if yours eats into the time you could be spending time with the kids, it can reduce the enjoyment you gain from it. If you have a partner at home, you may be able to take some evening classes while the kids are in bed. Or maybe you can get up early for that extra workout. Quality time with the kids feels a lot better when you’re not considering the other things you could be doing right now.
Do your kids have lots of hobbies and interests? Extra curricular activities are so important for little ones as they’re growing up. But it means they’re busy doing things with other people instead of you. Maybe you could all join a club together, so you are all doing the same things together? Why not start a fitness program at home you could all do? A little walk around the estate, or a jog through the park can be fun for you all. Why not a game of football on the field, or even bouncing on the trampoline in the garden?
Once you’ve figured out how to make the extra time, choosing how you will spend it can be another challenge. The kids might have a lot to say about what they want to do with their time. You won’t always fit in with that. But it’s a really good idea to have plenty of great family activities ready to go when the mood suits them. It might just be a movie night on the couch with a tub of popcorn. Or maybe a meal out at their favourite restaurant.
You can also consider things like crafting or playing musical instruments together. Taking a bike ride, or chasing each other through the park could be another activity for you all to enjoy together. Make a list of all the things you each love. Then put a couple in a hat for the kids to pick out. This will keep the variety and interest in your quality time together. And it will feel like you’re all making an effort to be with each other. Have fun.