Today is International Women’s day which is a day that woman unite across the world to fight for equality!
I can’t tell you how sad it makes me that in 2018, women are still campaigning for equal rights – a movement started by the Suffragettes in the early 1900’s. Those brave ladies started this fight for us and over 100 years later, despite the vast improvements to women’s rights, we still aren’t equal in all areas of society.
It really is time to #PressforProgress and do what we can to finish what the Suffragettes started!
I wanted to share this post with you today because it really stuck with me when someone told me women couldn’t have it all – a man could but a woman couldn’t. It was either career or family for us women apparently, but I didn’t accept that and neither should any woman.
Apparently, I could either be a great parent or have a great job and if I tried to do both, I would most probably end up not being great at either.
That made me sad at the time because our financial situation at that time meant that I didn’t have a choice about going back to work back then and for a long time, I really believed that I couldn’t juggle parenting and work.
But actually, I think I’ve done OK!
I’m not going to lie though, the first few years weren’t easy at all but with a lot of planning, some amazing support from my family and a great flexible working agreement in place at work we somehow managed to get through the years before both kids started school full time. Once they were both at school, I managed to reduce my hours at work substantially so I was only working 8am until 2.30 most days which made life so much easier.
It hasn’t been a walk in the park but I think I’ve pretty much mastered this working parent lark now – I have two extremely happy and well adjusted children and a great job that I love so I thought I’d share some of my top tips with you today….
Lose the guilt as it’s a wasted emotion!
You’re working to provide for your children so you should never feel guilty about going out to work. Yes, children need their parents and I understand that they want our time rather than things but from my point of view, the money I get from working pays the bills which in turn gives them a better quality of life. Just make sure that the time you do have together is quality time.
Choose your employer wisely.
I know that jobs aren’t that easy to come by these days and we don’t all have the luxury of choice but I wanted to put this out there anyway….
If your employer isn’t great where the kids are concerned then maybe you should think about looking elsewhere. The company I work for are amazing – I have a great flexible working agreement, a laptop so I can work from home and I get five paid family days a year on top of my other allowances that I can use at the last minute if the kids are ill. I found out I was pregnant with Miss Frugal on the day I started and I can honestly say that I don’t think I could work for a more supportive firm. So if your employer makes things harder for you, rather than easier, consider my experience and the possibility that there are other employers out there who could be a better fit for your life.
Invest in a pocket diary.
Make sure you always have one of those little tiny diaries in your handbag and write in any important dates as soon as you have them. That way you can make sure you don’t double book yourself and that you’re available for kid’s taxi duties when needed. That way, when I’m at work I can agree to meetings etc straight away rather than looking unprofessional by making people wait so I can check if the date clashes with a party or something else equally important to the kids.
Book your holidays from work as soon as you can.
If you want to time your holidays to coincide with the kids school holidays then get in there and get them booked as soon as you can. This goes for teacher’s training days too.
Have a present bag for all those parties.
I’ve learned the hard way that fitting in time to get to the shop for a present for a party can be difficult so for the years when it felt like there was a party every weekend (sometimes two, or even three on one occasion) I had a fully stocked present bag. My present bag had a pile of Birthday cards that I bought from somewhere like The Card Factory (fun cards for kids from 29p upwards from what I remember) and a stash of presents that I picked up the sales. Claires was always good for this as they reduce their sale stuff to 10 items for a fiver and the individual items were sometimes more than that each originally.
Meal planning is key….
You knew I couldn’t get through a whole post like this without mentioning meal planning didn’t you? Meal planning saves time as well as money and it’s the one thing I always recommend so I won’t go into much detail again today. You can find out more here though.
….As is batch cooking.
Why not spend one afternoon a month doing some batch cooking and preparing a few freezer ‘dump’ meals? Even just cooking double when you cook some meals so you have one portion to serve and one to pop in the freezer for next time will make at least one meal time much easier as you literally just have to get a meal out of the freezer and heat it up. I currently have a few chicken dump meals, a lasagne, a cottage pie and some chilli in my freezer ready to go.
Do your food shopping online!
Why spend time going to the supermarket when you can do your shopping online and have it delivered for you at a convenient time. I used to do mine when the kids were at swimming as I’d usually just be sat around waiting for them to finish.
Be flexible with mealtimes….
There’s no harm in the kids (especially the older ones) waiting until a bit later for their tea so you can all sit down and enjoy it together. We regularly have tea later so we can all sit down and eat together as sitting around the table together is the best way (for us) to connect as a family and share our days with each other.
We have relaxed bedtimes here and haven’t set an actual time for bed since the kids were a lot younger. It means that I don’t have the stress that I often hear other parents having at bedtime and also means that I get longer to spend with the kids, even when I work later as I do once a week.
Don’t be afraid to delegate
Both kids have their own daily jobs to complete which are just small jobs that make my life easier from not having to do them – think dusting, sweeping, hoovering and tidying. They also have to keep their own rooms tidy and make sure all laundry is put in the wash basket.
A chart like this could help you get the kids more involved in jobs.
Then there’s jobs like cleaning, gardening and ironing that you can pay someone else to do for you and although this isn’t moneysaving, it will certainly free up your time to do other things. I have a lovely man who comes to do my garden every three weeks in the Summer because I’d rather him to that than me spend the time doing it myself as it seems to take forever to do and I always put it off and end up with an overgrown garden that isn’t great for relaxing in!
Don’t second guess your decisions. Ever!
Managing your work life balance can be hard and you might sometimes feel like you’ve made a bad decision but you just need to suck it up and move on. You might send one of the kids to school when they’re not 100% and then get to work and regret it but I’m pretty sure that you’ll know deep down that if they were really ill that you wouldn’t have sent them. You might have to choose between an important meeting at work and an important meeting at school and only you know what’s the best thing for you. There’s no right and wrong thing to do as long as you make your decision and then don’t dwell on whether it was the fight thing to do or not.
Plan fun family time….
We always plan some of our family time in advance so we make sure everyone is going to be there and no plans are made for the time we have planned. We used to have a movie night every weekend but lately we can never all agree on a movie so instead, we have a board game night every Saturday night. Every second Sunday (Mr Frugal works the others) we also have a family day out somewhere which we all decide together in a family meeting that usually takes place on our bed on the Sunday morning.
….But also be spontaneous!
As much as I’m a fan of planning, I do always make sure that we make the most of the time we have together so I’ll often just round everyone up and suggest we do something fun. These are usually the most fun times that we have together as a family and whether it’s something as simple as walking the dog on the beach or a last minute night away when schedules (and money) permit.
Be as organised as you possibly can!
The more organised I am, the less likely I am to get stressed or forget something so I have my routine for before I got to bed on a night, my routine for organising post and paperwork and even a quick routine to keep on top of the jobs at home.
And finally, remember that you can only do what you can do.
Just try your best at everything you do and the rest will come. I promise.
Here’s a few other posts you might like about International Women’s Day….
International Women’s Day is all about celebrating and inspiring women as well as campaigning for better rights so as well as sharing my post with you today, I also wanted to share a few other posts from women in blogging who inspire me….
Lynn has written about the women who inspire her.
Faith asks ‘Are you ready to invest?‘ because women traditionally invest less than men.
Maria shares her thoughts on why women aren’t investing more and addresses a few of those excuses we might make,
Nicola is also thinking about investing and shares her thoughts on why more women aren’t investing.
Araminta shares her thoughts on why women should consider a financial degree.
Kaye asks whether MLM is empowering or exploiting women.
Cat shares why she thinks women should be more empowered.
Jennifer tells us what she, as a Mum of boys, would tell her daughter.
Eileen tells us why she thinks women should talk about money more.
Emma has some great thoughts to share on why we should raise sporty girls.
Joleisa has some ideas on how to show your worth as a SAHM.
Nikki tells us how great women need great support.
Jamie tells us what she’s learned from money from the women around her.
Hollie has some great advice about closing that gender pay gap we’re hearing so much about.
Emma has written a lovely letter to her daughter about empowerment.
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