Tag Archives: support network

When to take a break

I like keeping busy, and definitely find that the more I do, the more I want to do.  As regular readers will know, I have two young (and very energetic) boys, a part time job, my own business, and have been planning my wedding over the last few months.  Last year I trained as a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter and was really enjoying volunteering at local Sure Start groups, but things were so hectic over the last few months that I decided to take a break from Peer Supporting to give myself some more time.  (Though I have met so many breastfeeding Mums through the Flexi-Mum project I’ve probably ended up doing just as much peer supporting!)

I am someone who wants to grab every opportunity I can, and I find it very difficult to say no, so making the choice to take a break was difficult for me, but it was so worth it.  I’d much rather do what I do well, than spread myself too thin and not manage anything as well as I’d like to.  Now that the wedding is over, and I’ve enjoyed a few quieter weeks, I’m looking forward to getting back into some more peer supporting, and spending some more time on my own business.

It can be difficult to make the decision to take a break, and sometimes it’s not possible.  But I think it’s really important to assess everything you are doing and cut back on things when and if you need to.  I’m lucky to have a very hands-on husband and we are surrounded by family members who can help us out with childcare when we need it – not everyone has so much help (hats off to anyone who manages to be a Mum living away from their own Mum!) and we do really appreciate it.  If you don’t have family close by, then try making arrangements with friends for childcare – even if it’s just so you can take a bath or get your hair cut, or catch up on housework.  It’s often easier to look after an extra child as they entertain each other.  Try setting up something like my “Team Tea” idea on a regular basis too.

It’s important to assess your life balance every now and then to see if you need to cut back on anything, or if you need to make more time to do something (it could be time with the kids, housework, reading, relaxing, seeing your friends that don’t have kids, having a date night with your partner) and then really make an effort to rearrange things so that you can fit everything in as best you can.  For me, one of the big things is seeing friends.  During maternity leave it was lovely catching up with friends most days, but now that we’re all back at work it can be ages between seeing friends and I have to remind myself that that is just the way it is when we all work!


Leave a comment

Filed under childcare, employment, food, Inspirational Women, planning, self employment, sleep, work-life balance

Team Tea

A couple of years ago I was at my friend’s house playing with our three young children.  It was coming up to 5pm and we were having yet another “What are you doing for dinner, I can’t think of anything” chat.  Almost every day, dinner hangs over me like a black cloud – trying to think something that’s quick and easy to make, that’s moderately healthy, that I have all the ingredients in for, and that everyone will eat – it’s hard, and we resort to frozen pizza far too often!

So we decided to start something called “Team Tea”.  Every Thursday night we take it in turns to cook.  The Mum who’s not cooking looks after the (now four) children whilst the other Mums makes dinner in (relative) peace.  Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m just making dinner for myself I’m more than happy with a bowl of cereal/beans on toast.  But I love spending time making a proper meal for guests.

So once a week we are guaranteed to have a proper meal that is eaten around the table.  And more importantly, once a fortnight we don’t have to do any washing up!!  The kids love it, they either eat with us, or just before and then go and play whilst we eat.  We love it, we usually have pudding and a bottle of wine, and now that we’re back at work it gives us a chance to have a proper catch up which might not otherwise happen.

If you find dinnertimes stressful, I recommend finding a friend to pair up with to do something like this, and you can start enjoying dinner time again!  It’s not quite going out for dinner, but it’s not far off.  In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s better – it’s cheaper, you don’t need a babysitter, and you can still have an early night if you need one!


Filed under children, food