Home and work life: Getting the balance right

Angie Greaves and family

Angie Greaves and family

Have you given up on trying to plan your day because of a hectic schedule? Angie Greaves tells us how to create a balance between work and your home life, shows exactly why being a mum is like a job – but without a salary.

I once hosted a seminar on parenting and started off by putting a job description on the whiteboard which read:


– Life-long career opportunity
– No probationary period, so the job is yours
– No HR issues, as there’s no HR team to report to
– You head your own department
– Amazing opportunities to multi-task
– You teach your language to your department members
– A little medical knowledge is required
– Culinary skills optional but would be beneficial to your department members for health reasons
– Cleaning skills required as they need to be eventually taught to your members
– Annual Salary £00,000
– Bonus Structure £00,000

Send your application to the male of your choice

It will come as no surprise that when asked who would like to apply for the job, there were no offers. However, the penny dropped when each woman in the room realised she was already undertaking that position as well as working full or part time.

I’ve never hidden the fact that I love being a mother: I talk about my girls all the time on air at work. It’s a great experience and a real joy, your children are living proof of the saying ‘you get out what you put in’. One of the most important factors of mothering children, however, is time.

Managing your time is essential to parenting as there are many scales which need to be set (and sometimes reset) in order for balance to occur throughout the day.

Have you ever planned your day from 6.30am onwards but found that by 10am there’s been a change of plan? Children can get ill, have issues at school, become victims of peer pressure, have all kinds of demands, and in most cases Mummy is the first port of call.

Where do you find the time to address all of these issues and be the woman, mother and partner you desire to be, especially if you work or leave the house on a daily basis to earn a salary?

I used to say that I worked three hours a day, but it would be more accurate for me to say that there’s a three-hour period of my day when I earn a salary! In fact I actually work 18 hours a day.

I’ve always tried to juggle my day hour by hour, dealing with whatever comes my way there and then – but it just doesn’t work. You have to plan your time. While the man may take on leadership roles, the woman has to the heartbeat. If her heart is beating out of sync, because of stress or hurt, it can filter through the whole family.

So I’ve set out below a checklist which was tried and tested by a ‘mummy pal’ from New York.

It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised to know how many of us know this stuff in our heads and intellectualise this role, but we don’t work from the heart and we burn out. That’s not good.

Your time-planning checklist

  • Buy or create your own home planner and place it somewhere strategic for the whole family to see.
  • Make entries on the planner and stick to them – don’t be swayed by unimportant meetings or phone calls.
  • Set boundaries for each family member, regardless of their age, so that they know when and when not to set expectations.
  • Prioritise the events of your day in the morning or even the day before.
  • Keep a little pad and paper, on your bedside table perhaps –I love modern technology but good old pen and paper never lets you down.
  • Prepare meals in advance or, as my mother still does, cook double on Sunday (it tastes better on Monday). This gives you more time with your family in the evening as you’re just re-heating as opposed to entering the kitchen to cook a whole meal.
  • Switch off the TV from time to time. Have you ever found you can get something that’s constructive done when you aren’t staring at the television?
  • Put your mobile on silent very now and then. I’m not suggesting that you switch it off, these devices have become a part of our lives, but does that phone call really have to be answered now? If you don’t hear it ring, you can’t answer it.
  • Set a time each day to just switch off. Things can wait.

As the power of the female increases and she desires to have a career and a family, she must remember that time is something we never get back. Use it wisely and plan it constructively.

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