With Darren’s job he always knows what time he starts but we rarely know when he will be finished and when he will be home. This is so frustrating for both of us. My main frustration is when should I prepare dinner? Shall I wait to give Mason his dinner until Darren gets in? We also rarely know where he’s working until the day before! It’s really hard for us to get into any family structure or routine because one morning Darren may be there then for the rest of the week he’s gone before we’re up. One evening he will make dinner and the next he won’t. Oh and now he’s got to work this weekend? Then our plans are cancelled! I would love for him to have a 9 to 5 job but I’m so proud of him for the hard work he does for our family.
Darren’s hours are also long most days he’s out the door at 5 am and home between 6 and 7, sometimes later. We do get lucky occasionally and he’s home at 4 and I could just kiss him all over, we get a lovely family evening and he can help share the load.
With the hours that he does it’s difficult to plan our meals and evenings for the weeks so these are a few things that makes it all easier to deal with.
Make Dinner in the Day
I understand not everyone is able to do this. I either make dinner while my son is eating his breakfast and my daughter is playing, it’s difficult to juggle it all while they’re awake so sometimes I make dinner while they’re napping. OR if you can do both and make tomorrow nights meal too then go for it! Making dinner in the day means its just there ready to be re-heated whenever we’re ready to eat. I will either eat with Mason and Mia by myself or Darren will join us. If Darren can’t make dinner then he can re-heat his once he gets in.
Get Bedtime Ready
If Darren gets home at 6pm or later and has his dinner around that time then I will nip upstairs get both children’s bedtime clothes laid out, nappies out, sleeping bags out and towels ready. Once we’re nearer to bedtime I will run the bath so it’s ready to go as soon as we are.
In the day I chuck all of our washing up in the sink and wash as we go (we’re not lucky enough to have a dishwasher yet) doing small amounts throughout the day cuts out a large load for you to tackle in the evening. Chuck toys back in their boxes or drawers when they’re done with so you don’t have a toy mountain to tidy up in the evening. Doing small amounts of this in the day pays off largely in the evening. We have a rule of no toys after dinner, they just has mummy and daddy time or stories. So, once Darren is home, which is normally before their bedtime, he has his time with both children and I will do one last tidy up of EVERYTHING I can get my hands on. I might even put a wash on.
Plan what meals you’re having for the week so you know what you’re making, if Darren has to skip that meal I can freeze the portion or have it for lunch the next day. Get everyone’s outfits out for the next day ready, this will give you one less thing to sort out and think about in the morning. If next days breakfast will keep until the morning then prepare it the night before.
Or click and collect. Do your meal planner, make the list and someone else shops for you, perfect! This saves time and it’s convenient. I use click and collect for our shops, there’s no delivery fee and I don’t have to drag the children around the supermarket or let our grocery shop eat into our family time.
Don’t be Hard on Each Other
It’s easy as a busy mum that as soon as daddy’s home we think RIGHT your turn. Try to keep the balance in the amount you both do to avoid any resentment or arguing. Us mums (or dads) have been at home all day dealing with mess, tantrums and providing an all day entertainment show but our partners have still been out early working all day. When we’ve both had a long hard day we are each others punching bags for a sharp tongue, so if you’re being short with each other don’t take it to heart it’s not you, it’s the day they’re mad at.
Make it Quality Time
When you don’t get every weekend together as a family or every evening to sit down together at dinner time, grab it with both hands when you do. Keeping housework to a minimum on the days you get together and having a meal ready that you could have prepared in the week, will leave you all day to enjoy as a family. Make a point of going somewhere even if it’s just for a walk or time in the park. The plus side of not having a lot of time together, is that the time we get, we now make count. Darren loves spending time with the children so sometimes I take a step back and let him take over.