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The return to normality after the school holidays can bring a rush of different emotions. One of them is anxiety about ever having any time to rest in the near future. Here’s now to get to the next summer holidays and stay sane…
As you settle back into the chaos that is life after the holidays, there is often a mixture of emotions to face. Firstly, relief that the holidays are over and you don’t have to find childcare. Secondly, guilt about the relief. Thirdly, sadness that the summer is over and, finally, anxiety as you face a non-stop rollercoaster of balancing work and family for the unforeseeable future. The fourth of these can be the most overwhelming, but there are ways of making it just a little easier.
1. Forward planning – this is one of the chief skills of a working parent. However, don’t go too crazy and end up spending your whole time planning ahead or you will find little time to actually enjoy your life and your children. Get yourself a calendar where you can remind yourself of when you need to start planning things like Christmas, birthdays, summer holidays, etc. Use a blue pen for the first reminder and then gradually turn up the volume to red for panic stations.
2. Buy an emergency supply of cheap presents which you can have on tap for children’s parties so you don’t spend half your time running to the shops at the last minute. It’s always a good idea to for for those 2for 1 offers in Poundland.
3. Don’t expect too much of yourself and never ever measure yourself up against anyone else. Have confidence in yourself and the way you choose to plan and parent. Tell yourself that people who look like they have it sorted and seem to intuitively know about cures for all manner of childhood illnesses are probably missing out on the untold riches of your own life like all the hours you spend plotting some sort of escape plan.
4. Take time out to relax. Don’t stack your week so full of extra things like kids’ activities that you literally have no time to breathe. Let the kids organise themselves. Call it a life skill.
5. Have regular duvet days at the weekend where you all hang out and watch dvds and get up late. If your life is otherwise lived at 100 miles per hour, you have no idea how much you will look forward to these pit stops. Remember: it is absolutely forbidden to get dressed on duvet days.
6. Treat yourself. Even if it’s just taking five minutes out to have a hot chocolate. It will keep you sane. If you can, get regular time alone with your partner or with friends where you can talk about things without being constantly interrupted. It will help recharge your batteries and you might even learn something or rediscover who you actually are.