For a couple of weeks, I handed in my title as ‘work-from-home-mum’ and replaced it with ‘working mum.’ Yep, I was workin’ 9-5, or 8.30am-5.30pm, to be exact. In a city office.
It had been more than 3 years since I sat in a proper office environment, with a receptionist and everything. And… no babies.
I wasn’t sure how that would work out. Would I cry into my coffee cup, missing my little cherubs too much? Would I bore everyone around me with iphone photos of the kids and regale them with toilet training horror stories?
I was pleasantly surprised. A kid-free work environment is peaceful – deadlines, client meetings and high expectations aside. Finishing tasks, uninterrupted. Talking to clients on the phone, minus ‘Who are you talking to mummy? Who is it? Is that daddy? Can I have a biscuit when you get off the phone? Who’s that? Mummy!!’ Sigh. It’s bliss.
However, my cherubs are always on my mind and the only downside of the working day was missing precious time with them. I’ve been getting home close to 6.30pm each night and their bed time is close to 7. How does the average working parent maximise quality time with their kids in just half an hour? According to this article, I’m not alone.
I’m a rookie at this, but here are 5 ideas I’ve come up with to get the most out of the precious time we have together:
1. Work ends when you walk in the door. Make a habit to turn off the work phone, resist the urge to check emails and switch off the work side of your brain.
2. Forget dinner, washing, tidying up etc, make sure the first thing you do is with the kids – asking them about their day, playing a game.
3. Involve kids in cooking tea. It’s something that has to be done anyway and this way you can continue talking as you work together. Some of the best conversations I’ve had have been with a tea-towel in hand.
4. Story time is premium quality time. Lying on the bed or snuggling on the couch, not only is it great for their development but it’s also great bonding time.
5. Talk to your workplace about a bit of flexibility or a work from home option so you can be there when the kids get home from school in the afternoon a couple of days a week. And spend some daylight hours together, to go on a walk or play outside.
I’d love to hear from other working mums who have ‘quality time’ tips for newbies like me.