Survival tactics for working parents

Working + parenting is a recipe for insanity.

It’s like a fun merry-go-round, except the merry-go-round is on fire, and you’re on fire, and everything is on fire, and all you can think about are those leisurely mornings when me and Mr Hubs used to get ready, calmly eat a nutritious breakfast and hold hands en-route to the office.

These days, my husband and I are trying to get somewhere by 9am while also wrangling our two delightful children – Little Miss Hubs (who’s three) and Master Hubs (who’s seven) – to their respective preschool and primary school.

I swear, it’s high fives all round if either of us gets a cup of caffeine down our necks and out the door without a smear of vegemite on our suit.

Which brings me to the notion of survival tips.

When you’re juggling the mental load (emphasis on mental) of wrangling two kids, keeping a marriage on a slow simmer, running a household with something resembling productivity and not getting fired from your day job, you’re going to need some tips. Here are mine (you’re welcome), with very little (if any input) from Mr Hubs.

Outsource, outsource, outsource.

Embrace online shopping, hire a cleaner, do a week of takeaway if you have to. Letting someone else do what you don’t have time to do is literally the number one way to keep yourself from going bonkers and/or weeping in the shower, knowing it’s only a matter of time before your 4-year-old pats your naked behind asking where the WeetBix is.

Have trusted carers on speed dial

When you’re a working parent, the wheels will fall off the trolley at some point and you’re going to have to break out the big guns to get your kid looked after while you work. For the love of Mary Poppins, don’t be one of those parents who doses up their kid with nurofen and send them to day care. It’s a great idea until Little Miss Hubs gave influenza A to her whole class and I was public enemy number one with all the other parents.

Do everything humanly possible the night before.

Packing lunchboxes at night when the kids are out for the count is far easier than doing it at 7am when you’ve microwaved your tea for the third time and the kitchen resembles Town Hall Station. You’ll also be far less likely to give in when your 7-year-old convinces you that the school’s strict Crunch’n’Sip policy actually means any crunchy food, such as a packet of cheezels, instead of carrot sticks and hummus.

Emergency-emergency toilet paper

For when the emergency roll you squirrelled away has run out and you still haven’t made it to the supermarket. It’s not like it will ever crossed Mr Hubs mind, so it’s been up to me to make sure an emergency-emergency roll is on hand.

Be resourceful.

A plastic supermarket bag can double as a makeshift nappy, vegemite toast is a perfectly acceptable dinner and it’s fine to vacuum up all the lego if people are coming over. (You may want to clean out the vacuum BEFORE you do this, though, especially if you plan on recycling it back into the toy box).

There’s no shame in breaking out the TV babysitter

Spongebob on auto-play so one ep rolls into the next is my jam. Especially when I need my munchkins to inhale a few cartoons so I can get stuff done. I know some people don’t have the TV on ever (or even own a TV) and seriously, who are these freaks of nature? The craft box and a heap of coloured paddle-pop sticks can only take you so far, people.

Ignore the surreptitious cake boxes the school tries to give you.

Who has time for fundraising when you’re a working parent? If you MUST, a tray of $5 supermarket brownies banged around a bit, arranged on a disposable plate and dusted with icing sugar will fool everyone. (Okay, not really, but it’s the thought that counts.)

Skip a few pages on the bedtime story

Yes, you deserve 12 minutes to yourself of an evening and cheating on the bedtime story is your one-way ticket to me-time. I’ll be honest, Master Hubs didn’t even know I was reading him the same story half the time.

However, if your kid is especially switched on and DOES point out that you missed the bit in Green Eggs and Ham where Sam I Am yells, ‘Would you, could you, in a car, eat them, eat them, here they are!’, simply act surprised, apologise profusely and and promptly select a new book your kid doesn’t know the following night. Simple.

There you have it, top tips from the Hubs household. Have you tried any of these?

Share your best parenting tips and next time, I may even get Mr Hubs to share his tips ;