Back in January I wrote about time management, work, and kids; this is part two on the topic. For context, my husband and I each work a 40 hour week. We have 2 small kids (aged 1 and 3). The kids go to different daycares, and 1 year old’s daycare only covers 9 hours a day. Accounting for commuting, that doesn’t leave a lot of slack. So, how to manage?

First up, I’m really enjoying commuting by bus. It’s a chance to do things that are important but not urgent. I use the outbound journey to meditate, and the homebound journey for professional reading (e.g. industry publications); it’s also a good time to read papers that need review when I’m on a program committee.

Regarding food, batch-cooking at weekends helps, as does a husband who enjoys cooking ;) Ideally we’d cook on weekday evenings and have more time at weekends, but weekday evenings are a flurry at this stage: we get in with the kids around 5.30pm and bedtime routines start around 6.45pm. I still haven’t nailed making packed lunches for myself.

Overall, “hire help” was undoubtedly the best advice I received. We’ve got an amazing babysitter (and family friend) in for a few 2-hour shifts a week. It makes a huge difference, making it easier for us to occasionally work a longer day, have a longer lunch break, or fit something else in. I’m a keen swimmer and am just beginning to manage a weekly swim, mostly thanks to this arrangement.

I was surprised (but shouldn’t have been) to find that I miss doing drop-off or pick-up on the days when we have help: I miss the time with the kids, the exercise and fresh air (it’s a good walk), not to mention the company of fellow parents when timings allow us to walk together.

Dealing with sick kids is hard. We recently had a very bad run of luck with (thankfully, minor) illnesses. We used classic tactics, such as one of us working a very early day (6am-2pm) and the other working a late day (1pm-9pm) (this example assumes the child naps for an hour at 1pm-2pm, and remote working to avoid commuting). Yesterday is an example of this kind of day, as our daughter was home from daycare: I started work (from home) at 5.30am.

There is much to be said for a supportive workplace. During the rough patch with sickness, the Ayogo team was super supportive of my working unusual hours, working from home, and taking sick leave when it was unavoidable.

Even with our babysitter, it’s hard work. I’m on the cusp of trialling working a 4-day week with Ayogo: props to the team for being super supportive of seeing if we can make it work! I’m excited for that. It seems pretty awesome to get a day a week to either rest, have quality time with the kids, or catch up on stuff in general – I’m excited for it, and suspect I’ll have more energy when I’m in the office too.