Are you a working mum with school-age kids? If yes, like us, we’re sure your daily life feels like endless hours of never-ending tasks. Balancing the demands of your job and your kids can feel like being a hamster on a wheel. Mastering the two is richly rewarding, but it requires practice. We compared notes with other working mums in our lives to find out what they do to optimise their time. Here are some pretty awesome life hacks that came out of those conversations:
1. Keep a family calendar
Air traffic control of activities and schedules is essential. Don’t forget to schedule money maintenance tasks to review financial decisions and time to review and pay bills and rebalance your retirement investments. Some calendar tools we use include:
- Cozi Family Organiser
- Google Calendar
If you don’t have an issue with privacy and others having visibility of your family schedule, then it’s also a good idea to share your calendar with (a select few) colleagues who may need access to your schedule for team planning purposes.
2. Give your kids chores and pay them for it
Have the kids handle a chore and pay them for it. Even if they don’t do it perfectly, they are learning how to do it and participating in family business.
You can give your kids an allowance that is tied to certain chores they must do – keeping their rooms tidy, helping in the kitchen or laundry. Paying your kids for chores can help them learn the value of money and how earning income relates to work.
3. Prep meals in advance
Prep as much of lunch and breakfast as possible the night before to make things run extra smoothly in the morning. We swear by the slow cooker!
Planning and prepping meals can save you money (by not resorting as much to take-out) and time. Home cooking has secret financial power! We all make a little wiggle room for takeout on our busiest days, though, and don’t beat ourselves up if we order a pizza or take-out Indian or Thai food.
4. Buy birthday party and hostess gifts in advance
Buying gifts in advance can save money as well as time. Whenever you see a good birthday party gift on sale, buy several. This way, you avoid the mad rush to buy a gift on the way to the party.
5. Outsource grocery shopping
Pretty much all the big grocery stores in Australia have an online shopping option that gives you the luxury of having your groceries delivered to you at home. Take advantage of this and use the time that you would to grocery shop to maybe pamper yourself for being the wonderful mom that you are!
6. Learn to say “No”
Don’t feel guilty for saying no to anything – school events, volunteering, kid’s requests. PTAs can be relentless. Believe in the power of the word “no” and that it is a complete sentence – no explanation required. This includes saying no to a culture that believes your kids should be in 100 activities a week.
You can say no to financial commitments as well, not just time commitments. Make sure you have an up-to-date family budget so you can decide whether something is in line with your financial priorities. Then be willing to say no as a complete sentence.
Finally – aim for work-life integration, not work-life balance.
On some days, probably work demands more from you than expected, and on other days, the kids demand more. Learn through trial and error with the goal of creating synergies between work and family life. Instead of trying to block your time proportionately between competing goals, leaving work at work and home at home, learn to weave the two together to optimize your time most effectively with lower stress.
The good news is that now while you nail work-life integration you can also top up your super. So, not only are you taking care of the present but also the future.
When working, you are also contributing to your super. But if like most mums, you’re working part-time or casually (68.5% of part-time employees are women), then that means you’re not contributing as much to your super as if you were working full-time. And because of the way the super system was constructed, women need to contribute as many additional monies to their super as possible.
So how to try and make up this lost ground on the super front? You can now grow your super with Super Rewards. It lets you earn cash rewards, paid into your superannuation by the retailer; at no extra cost or effort from you.
Cash rewards from Super Rewards retailing partners – groceries, shoes, pet food and more– are contributed to your super every time you shop. Seamlessly. Effortlessly. Beautifully.
So sign up now to be notified when Super Rewards is live. Get one step closer to reaching your retirement goals and don’t forget to share this fantastic tool with your friends!
How about you? What are your life hacks that make being a working mom a little bit easier? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.