I arrive home with my kids after a long day at work no earlier than 6pm. When DS1 was just a baby it was easy. We got home, I nursed him and went about my night. As he got older (and DS2 came along) the routine had to change. DS1 needed to eat dinner, take baths more regularly and be put to sleep with a whole routine. With his increasing needs, my night was getting crazy!
When friends mention to me that they have the same feelings and wonder how I “have it all together” I give them some tips that work for me. I don’t really “have it all together” per say, but I do cope with things a lot better than I used to!
Here are my tips for those of you who are struggling:
Prepare dinner for your kids the night before.
This is a must. Even if dinner only takes 20 minutes to prepare, make sure it is ready to eat as soon as you walk through the door.
As soon as we get home my kids need to eat. They will not wait 20 minutes, or even 5 for that matter. If dinner isn’t ready then they insist on a snack and I prefer that they eat dinner. So to avoid arguing, as soon as we get home, I march over to the fridge, pull out dinner and plop it on the table for them. Then, while they are happy eating, I can take off my coat, change my clothes, clean up from breakfast, wash the dishes, go to the bathroom or throw in a load of laundry. Sometimes I even make their lunches for the next day. This is probably the one time in the evening that I can accomplish the most while they are still awake.
Have a snack.
I noticed that evenings were much harder for me if I was hungry, so I now make sure to have a filling snack right before I leave work or on my way home. I generally don’t eat dinner with my kids (mostly because I accomplish so much when they’re eating), so that means I don’t eat dinner until after they are sleeping. I prefer eating late so I can truly enjoy my dinner without any whining or fighting or hearing them ask me to eat some of my dinner, when they had the same exact thing on their plates, but refused to eat it.
Go to the bathroom before you leave work.
No need for me to really expound on this one, but basically, it’s one less thing I have to rush to do the minute we get home.
Have a set bath/bedtime schedule.
We have a set routine. The kids know it well, which makes it easier for all of us. There are no surprises. We finish dinner, hop in the bath (on our designated bath nights) and then it’s bedtime. Bedtime has its own routine, which is basically pajamas, books, bed, songs.
If you had to give a working mom advice on how to handle the evening routine, what would you suggest?
Until next time,