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  • FIRST POST
    • Bexm
    • By Bexm 8th May 19, 11:41 AM
    • 403Posts
    • 143Thanks
    Bexm
    Working parents..? bedtimes, dinner, making of packed lunches and still have free time?
    • #1
    • 8th May 19, 11:41 AM
    Working parents..? bedtimes, dinner, making of packed lunches and still have free time? 8th May 19 at 11:41 AM
    Hi

    I am looking for suggestions of what other people do as trying to work out how to have some free time in the evenings which I currently rarely have as seem to have too much to do.

    Currently work part time but on days I work hours are 9-5, due to child care drop off and pick up, this means leaving the house at 8 and returning at 6ish.
    Kids eat at child care so current evening routine is:

    Kids home (age 1 and 6)
    Quick cuppa or straight to bath depending if its bath night.
    Get kids ready for bed, stories etc
    Hubby gets home just before bed time
    Start getting Kids In bed at 7 and left in bed by 7.30ish (hopefully! )

    Then..
    Me and hubby get out of work clothes and changed
    Sort night time bottles
    Make dinner
    Make 3 packed lunches for following day
    Usually sitting down to eat 8:30 - 9
    Bed at 10ish

    How do other working parents coordinate everything and still have some free time as we seem to have got out selves in an endless loop?
Page 1
    • NeverendingDMP
    • By NeverendingDMP 8th May 19, 11:57 AM
    • 371 Posts
    • 1,349 Thanks
    NeverendingDMP
    • #2
    • 8th May 19, 11:57 AM
    • #2
    • 8th May 19, 11:57 AM
    Very similar im afraid. Aged 7 4 and 4 Up 6-6.30. Morning routines breakfasts and faff, out by 8.00 for nursery and breakfast club. Finish work 4.30 pick up from afterschool club and childminders. Home 5.15/5.30. Cook tea for whichever half of us still need to eat (child minders provides full tea afterschool club is only a snack...)
    6.30 onwards quick.play pretend to do homework and do bedtime routines x 3.
    Hopefully youngest two are settled ish by 8.15 then its packed lunches x 4 get everything ready for next day and have 9.15-10 catching up or in front of tv to restock for the next day.
    Some things ive found helpful though. Group clothes together on the sunday. Have pe and swim bags permanently packed in sports bags just to grab. Make pack lunches night before, do a meal planner with cheats thrown in on busier nights, tell children they are not allowed pudding till plates scraped and basic kitchen clear up done, buy a washing machine with a timer so its just finishing when i get up or back in from work to put on maiden.
    Main thing i do though is repeatedly say excuse the house....
    Some people use sliw cookers or make and freeze pack lunches but im not quite there yet ha ha
    35,213 - Jan 2018, 28500 remaining.
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    • Bexm
    • By Bexm 8th May 19, 12:16 PM
    • 403 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    Bexm
    • #3
    • 8th May 19, 12:16 PM
    • #3
    • 8th May 19, 12:16 PM
    ooh freezing packed lunches..! Wonder quite what/how you'd do that?
    Have actually got the slow cooker on today for the first time..! Hoping dinners edible by this evening!
    • EmmyLou30
    • By EmmyLou30 8th May 19, 12:17 PM
    • 473 Posts
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    EmmyLou30
    • #4
    • 8th May 19, 12:17 PM
    • #4
    • 8th May 19, 12:17 PM
    I think that's just the Monday to Friday routine for most, that's why we all look forward to retirement and our weekends are so precious! Sounds like you have it down to a fine art and get a good 8 hours sleep. I'd call that a win myself.
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 8th May 19, 12:42 PM
    • 6,570 Posts
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    sheramber
    • #5
    • 8th May 19, 12:42 PM
    • #5
    • 8th May 19, 12:42 PM
    Cook double amounts and have on next day or freeze to use later.

    What do you prepare for packed lunches?

    Sandwiches can be frozen.

    If you include fruit, biscuits, crisps etc prepare each day's and pop it in a plastic bag so you just need to put into lunch box in the morning.
    • Makethedayscount
    • By Makethedayscount 8th May 19, 12:46 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 432 Thanks
    Makethedayscount
    • #6
    • 8th May 19, 12:46 PM
    • #6
    • 8th May 19, 12:46 PM
    I'd like to say that it gets easier as they get older and I suppose in some ways it does in that the kids can make their own packed lunches and help around the house, but honestly, it just is a different kind of busy: making sure homework is done, taking kids to activities and them going to bed later so you have even less free time. What you are describing is unfortunately what parents up and down the country are doing. On positive side you are managing to get a decent amount of sleep and the suggestions above are helpful. I try to make the week's meals (or as many as possible) on a weekend and freeze so less time cooking during the week. Seems like you are doing pretty well though

    • NeverendingDMP
    • By NeverendingDMP 8th May 19, 12:50 PM
    • 371 Posts
    • 1,349 Thanks
    NeverendingDMP
    • #7
    • 8th May 19, 12:50 PM
    • #7
    • 8th May 19, 12:50 PM
    You can get liners for the slow cooker to. I didnt know and although its a waste in one sense you then dont have to spend hours scrubbing it if its been on all day
    35,213 - Jan 2018, 28500 remaining.
    Mortgage 77230- Jan 2018
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    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 8th May 19, 12:53 PM
    • 8,623 Posts
    • 9,763 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #8
    • 8th May 19, 12:53 PM
    • #8
    • 8th May 19, 12:53 PM
    10 seems really early for bed.


    I think you're losing 1-2 hours a night there
    • heartbreak_star
    • By heartbreak_star 8th May 19, 1:33 PM
    • 7,936 Posts
    • 17,694 Thanks
    heartbreak_star
    • #9
    • 8th May 19, 1:33 PM
    • #9
    • 8th May 19, 1:33 PM
    Isn't this just what happens when you have kids? It's part of the reason I never had any haha!

    HBS x
    "I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another."

    "It's easy to know what you're against, quite another to know what you're for."

    #Starmer4PM #Bremainer
    • Bexm
    • By Bexm 8th May 19, 1:39 PM
    • 403 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    Bexm
    @Comms69 I've still got a baby that doesn't sleep through the night and when I've got to get up at 6 I'm trying to get all the sleep I can
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 8th May 19, 2:38 PM
    • 8,623 Posts
    • 9,763 Thanks
    Comms69
    @Comms69 I've still got a baby that doesn't sleep through the night and when I've got to get up at 6 I'm trying to get all the sleep I can
    Originally posted by Bexm


    ah I'd count a 1 year old as more of a toddler; but I appreciate that sleep patterns don't work that way.


    It does get slightly better on that front
    • meer53
    • By meer53 8th May 19, 8:09 PM
    • 9,471 Posts
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    meer53
    Sounds perfectly normal to me. Until the kids are older you have to make do with whatever time you have, there's no magic formula, what works for some won't work for others, for me, I go to bed when everything that needs to be done is done. If that means bed at midnight then so be it. Some nights would be earlier, some much later. You can't really set a bedtime when you have small children, my premature daughter didn't sleep through the night until she was 2 and a half, but I made it ! I was working full time too from when she was 8 months old, I also had a teenager at the time and my Husband left us when my Daughter was 2 so it wasn't easy !

    A slow cooker and an Electric Pressure Cooker are fantastic pieces of kit to have in your kitchen and batch cooking at the weekends was a huge help too.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 8th May 19, 8:26 PM
    • 19,187 Posts
    • 48,698 Thanks
    elsien
    Isn't this just what happens when you have kids? It's part of the reason I never had any haha!

    HBS x
    Originally posted by heartbreak_star
    I'm not a parent but it's still a fair summary of my work week.
    Get home, change, go to elderly parents to collect dog, sit and hear about parents day and anything they need help with, leave at 6.30 ish, walk dog for an hour, probably pick up some shopping because I'm not very organised, do a bit of housework, cook tea, usually sitting down to eat it at about 9pm.
    By which time all I really want to do is watch a bit of Tv or read.

    No kids, just a dog and older relatives.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 8th May 19, 9:33 PM
    • 8,480 Posts
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    kingfisherblue
    I don't work, as I care for my disabled son (who lives with me) and my mum (who lives around the corner - but no personal care involved, so day time care only). I've just sat down for my tea, admittedly later than usual. My evenings are very similar, although twice a week I do voluntary work. It's my respite from caring - I'm a leader at Rainbows, Brownies and Guides.

    I do use my slow cooker at times, but I'm not always that organised. I have two lads to sort out, and my disabled son needs a lot of support. He's only been sleeping through for the last couple of years - and he's twenty one now! He still has the occasional night where he chokes, and I can be up until around 4am until it clears. Luckily this is no longer a frequent occurence.

    I'm currently waiting for the washing machine to finish, so that I can hang stuff on the maiden overnight. It was a volunteer night tonight - great to give me a break, but things still need to be done.

    You are fortunate, your baby will sleep through soon. Your children will grow in independence as well as age, and they will be able to do things for themselves. You won't need to be cleaning bottoms when they are 21 - instead, you'll be listening for them to creep in after clubbing, just as I did with my daughter.

    Have a look at time saving such as cooking in bulk and freezing. Don't iron anything that doesn't need ironing. Have your six year old help with putting out the recycling (which I know takes longer, but they will learn to help with household chores). Chop veg for the slow cooker whilst watching TV.

    At the weekend, put together the packed lunches for the week - freeze the sandwiches, and have baskets of prepared foods in the fridge or cupboard. Teach your six year old to choose one item from each basket - chopped peppers, cucumber or fruit in one basket, treat in another, drink in a third. It's fun, gives them a sense of responsibility, and makes life easier in the long run.

    It does get easier.
    • Doodles
    • By Doodles 9th May 19, 5:49 AM
    • 334 Posts
    • 607 Thanks
    Doodles
    Out of your list, I think there are 2 things you could make easier for yourself and free up a little more time of an evening.

    Making lunch - On a Sunday I make 4 days worth of sarnies at a time (we work Mon-Thurs in the office) and put in the fridge. There's just no need to be making lunch every single every day. I've heard of some people making a months worth and freezing them. I've not tried that myself, but worth considering.


    Dinner - keep it simple and keep the cooking/prep to a minimum at least on work nights. You could batch cook at the weekend and put in the fridge or freezer and simply reheat. Or just keep simple meals. Whilst we eat pretty well, I confess that we do have a microwave meal if we know we are getting home a little late or I'm feeling tired.
    We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things.

    Dracula, Bram Stoker
    • Claddagh_Noir
    • By Claddagh_Noir 9th May 19, 4:52 PM
    • 63 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    Claddagh_Noir
    Isn't this just what happens when you have kids? It's part of the reason I never had any haha!

    HBS x
    Originally posted by heartbreak_star
    You are woman after my own heart!! I have been looking for someone like you my whole life!!
    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 9th May 19, 5:54 PM
    • 3,082 Posts
    • 7,458 Thanks
    ska lover
    So you work part time, but on the days you work, you do 9-5

    You could use some of your non working days to prep - make sandwiches for the days you do work or pre prep evening meals. I think you could cut yourself some slack here.....I mean on your working days, what is wrong with bunging a pizza in the oven/scrambled egg on toast/ soup/ready made stuffed pasta with sauce / hotdogs for you and OH .

    Other than that, you could attempt to find a job which is still part time but juggled differently, say 10 - 3 on four days a week - that kind of thing. Your working hours are kinda awkward in that they take up whole days

    Just for the record, we do not have small kids - ours have long since flown the nest - and we still do not sit down to eat til about the same time as you. We don't take pack lunches (grab a tin of soup etc) and we eat some quick meals I mentioned in paragraph one, during the week. I think I spend a lot of time faffing in the evening, making phone calls to friends, playing my instrument etc
    I dont feel a failure if i dish up fishfinger sarnies when OH walks in, he is lucky I cook at all as we have both been at work all day. I make more of an effort meal wise when its the weekend

    You are doing well OP. Chill and be kind to yourself
    The opposite of what you know...is also true
    • Shashwoo
    • By Shashwoo 10th May 19, 12:37 PM
    • 221 Posts
    • 360 Thanks
    Shashwoo
    In our house it is only me and my husband. We both work full time.... out the house 7:30 and return for 5:30. I have a whole bunch of autoimmune diseases which unfortunately means I am so so tired ALL of the time.
    When I get in, I make food, get a bath or put on my jamas and veg in front of the TV doing the old Netflix and Chill (not the rude kind)
    I don't know how people cope working and bringing up kids I couldn't even imagine it.

    So Bravo to all you wonderful people who raise a family and both work, I salute you all

    XX

    1st June 2012 @ 1pm I married the man of my dreams!!!
    • pinkshoes
    • By pinkshoes 10th May 19, 5:25 PM
    • 16,444 Posts
    • 22,731 Thanks
    pinkshoes
    Me and hubby get out of work clothes and changed
    Sort night time bottles
    Make dinner
    Make 3 packed lunches for following day
    Usually sitting down to eat 8:30 - 9
    Bed at 10ish

    How do other working parents coordinate everything and still have some free time as we seem to have got out selves in an endless loop?
    Originally posted by Bexm
    The kids are in bed by 7.30pm so that leaves you 2.5 to 3 hours EACH every evening.

    Packed lunches take 10 minutes.
    Getting changed takes 10 minutes.
    Dinner can be done in 20 mins or less. Pizza is easier!!! (The tomato sauce counts as a vegetable right????)

    Why the night time bottles? Kids over 12 months shouldn't need food at night.

    I'm a teacher so do all you do but also fit lesson planning and marking into the evening too!
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
    • svain
    • By svain 10th May 19, 5:48 PM
    • 430 Posts
    • 816 Thanks
    svain
    The kids are in bed by 7.30pm so that leaves you 2.5 to 3 hours EACH every evening.

    Packed lunches take 10 minutes.
    Getting changed takes 10 minutes.
    Dinner can be done in 20 mins or less. Pizza is easier!!! (The tomato sauce counts as a vegetable right????)

    Why the night time bottles? Kids over 12 months shouldn't need food at night.

    I'm a teacher so do all you do but also fit lesson planning and marking into the evening too!
    Originally posted by pinkshoes
    Not sure you should be comparing as you get more holiday/baker days/teacher training days/days off .. than politicians and you finish at 3.30pm
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