This post is part of a series called “How do you do it?” I asked readers to share how they manage a typical day in their family life. Of course we all know there is really no such thing as a typical day in family life, but this gives us a sneak peak into how others are doing it and hopefully you will find some tips that can help you in your day. You can read other posts in the series by clicking here. Thank you so much to the women who generously shared their stories!
What is your name?
Where do you live?
Tell me a little bit about your family
There’s me, my husband, our 3 boys – aged 12 in year 7 (high school), aged 9 in year 4 & aged almost 8 in year 2. Plus our dog, – a black Labrador, and our 2 cats (all the pets are boys too!)
What do your mornings look like?
My alarm goes off at 6am. I try to make myself get up between 6:15 & 6:30am. My husband leaves for work around 7am. My middle son usually wakes up around 6am, but I have to wake the other two up at 6:30am. I then put a load of washing on, check to see if anyone needs anything ironed for the day (depends on how up to date the washing is!) Then I make my younger two kids’ lunches. (My older son makes his own).
After this I have my breakfast. While all this is happening, I’m making sure everyone is up & starting to get themselves ready. They have a very basic list to follow which says: Get dressed & shoes on, have breakfast & pack away breakfast things, make lunch or help mum with your lunch, quick tidy of the bedrooms – make bed, put dirty clothes in the washing basket & rubbish in the bin, pack school bag – lunchbox, drink bottle, take home folder, library bag, sports bag, musical instrument etc, brush teeth & hair. After my breakfast I get myself ready & make my bed. Then I quickly do the breakfast dishes if I have time & we leave the house by 7:45/8am. I drop the kids to school by 8:30 & I get to work after that – I’m usually there between 8:30-9am. (It’s our business so I don’t have set hours).
What does your after school time look like? (eg 3.30pm – 5.30pm)
By the time we get home it’s around 3:45pm. The kids put their lunch boxes on the kitchen bench & their take home folders (homework folders) on the bench. They grab something for afternoon tea & usually put the tv on. I hang out the washing that I put on in the morning & take anything off the line from the day before. If I have time I’ll fold that basket & put it away.
3 afternoons a week one or more of the kids have some sort of sport training or game so we’ll then head back to drop them, or some days we go straight from school. On those days they have afternoon tea in the car. On the other day or two it’s then homework time. I find this very hard to coordinate as they all need some sort of help from me ( the older 2 have dyslexia so some homework can be quite challenging). My oldest son in high school is fairly independent, but he does need help depending on what it is. So this takes up a lot of time on those days. Dinner is then hurriedly put together as I’m not very organised at all when it comes to cooking.
What does dinner time look like? (eg 5.30pm – 8.00pm)
We generally eat around 6 or 7pm which is when my husband usually comes home. (He picks one of the boys up from basketball training on his way home on one day & he coaches & runs another one of the boys footy training sessions another night so he brings them home that night too). After dinner the kids feed the dog & cats, empty the dishwasher, clear & wipe the table. My husband & I load the dishwasher & finish tidying the kitchen. Then it’s shower time for the kids & if everything is done & there’s time before bed they will watch tv or play on iPads etc.
What does the kids’ bedtime process look like?
Bedtime in our house is 8pm for the younger two. I know it’s later than many people, but it’s as good as I can get it so that’s how it is! Once they have brushed their teeth I read them both a story together. They will often do their reading at this time as well. We’ve been reading the 13 Storey Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton recently & we take turns reading chapters. (How much they read depends on everyone’s moods & how tired they are).
Once they are in bed I then get my oldest son to pack his bag for tomorrow. As he has different subjects each day this takes a little bit of time so it’s easier if he does it at night when he’s not as tired (he’s a night owl & not a morning person) & when his brothers aren’t there to distract him. He goes to bed at 9pm.
What happens once the kids go to bed? (eg 8.00pm – 10.30pm)
Once the kids are finally in bed I check if there’s anything else I had planned to do such as washing or folding etc. Or if I have any work to catch up on (I don’t usually have to do much work from home but I can if I need to). Once that’s done I have a shower & watch tv on the couch with my husband at the same time as reading blogs & checking Instagram on my iPad! I try to go to bed before I get really tired otherwise we end up falling asleep on the couch.
Do you do any preparation for the week on weekends and if so what?
Mainly catching up on washing & getting the house tidy again at the end of the weekend. (We all help out with a big tidy up). Our weekends are very busy with kids sports. On Saturdays we have 1 game each of soccer, AFL football & basketball & Sunday’s another game of AFL. My husband coaches both the AFL teams & we all go to watch all the sports unless there’s a time clash. I sure this will stop as they get older but it’s what we do at the moment. I try & do my grocery shopping on Mondays after I drop the kids at school as I work from home then so it’s a catch up day of either my work or housework.
Anything else you would like to share?
I have a cleaner who comes once a week. She cleans the house plus she puts washing on, hangs it out & folds it so that helps me keep on top of the never ending washing as well. I also have an ironing lady – I drop the ironing to her on my way to work on Wednesday & she brings it back to me at work all ironed a few hours later. So I really only iron as I go if I didn’t have anything ironed on Monday or Tuesday.
Last year & the year before I was working 5 days a week – 2 of them long days till 5:30/6pm & the others were school hours. I found myself so overwhelmed by the end of last year. I was struggling to keep up with washing & cooking & helping the kids with their homework & we had our weekends full of sport still. So this year I dropped down to 4 days a week all in school hours. I had to employ another part time person in our business to enable me to do that but it’s been so worth it for my mental health. I would say that I still struggle with cooking & being organised with food shopping & meal planning, so that’s my next thing to work on!
I love the honesty in the way Jacquie shares her day. I also think it is fab how she has worked out a work/home ratio that works not only for her family but for her to.