Last weekend, I wrote a day in the life of a typical Saturday in the Sparkles household. Today I am writing of a typical week day to illustrate my working week and the demands of trying to juggle family and a working life. I work in a special needs school as part of the senior management team, but have a flexible working agreement so my hours are 9 – 2.30, 3 days a week and until 5pm on our meeting night, I have one full day off a week normally a Thursday but I do change it depending on work demands.
6.15am The alarm goes off and I get up. I’ll never be a morning person but once out of bed, I’m fine and simply get on with my day. The first job is always to put the kettle on, I need at least two cups of tea in the morning to make me feel myself, and whilst I wait for the kettle, I unload the dishwasher and start to set the table for breakfast. The radio has to be on and I’m a big Chris Evans fan, I grew up in my 20s listening to his radio 1 breakfast show and now in my 40s he’s still my breakfast dj.
6.30am Shower time. My routine is quick and organised, I can shower, dress and put on basic make up in around 20 minutes. My hair is short and needs minimal styling so this helps. Little Man awakes around now but is happy to potter around in his bedroom or pop into the kitchen for a drink. I may have a cheeky glance at Twitter but that’s dangerous for my timings as I easily get drawn to blog posts.
6.50am Now I’m dressed, I get the children organised. Little Man likes to talk to me in his bedroom as he gets dressed, I normally leave their uniforms ready the night before as every little thing counts in our morning routine.
7.00am I wake up Little Miss, she’s not a morning person and there’s often a few groans as I open the curtains and air the room. We chat (okay I talk she grunts) for 5 minutes and then I leave her to get dressed and go to the kitchen.
7.10am I make cup of tea number 2 and get breakfast ready, this is usually cereal and surprisingly we all like porridge so I often make it on the hob. We like it with lot of different fillings, honey, raisins, bananas etc…
7.20am Breakfast for us all. We’re still getting used to Mr S being home as for the past 2 years he has been away working during the week. Little Man does his calendar and then we all sit down for breakfast.
7.35am Whilst Mr S supervises teeth and hair brushing, I tidy up the kitchen and finish the lunches I prepped the night before. I make my lunch which is normally a salad as I’m not crazy on sandwiches. I then finish packing the school bags, it’s a busy day today as Little Man needs old clothes for forest school and his kit for football training. Fortunately most letters, permissions and payments are made through the Parentmail app now so there’s no letters to remember.
7.50am The children play in the playroom whilst I brush my teeth and put a little lip gloss and perfume on. If Little Miss wants a fancy hair style, I help by plaiting her hair or pinning it up. Today’s hairstyle is simple so I’m not needed to help.
8.00am I get my school bag ready, if everything is calm, I’ll take a quick look at work emails and may need to make a call to work about any urgent issues. This is my choice but by giving me flexible working conditions, I want to help things run smoothly in the department, a quick phone call now may stop my time being used later. I only needed to send a quick message today and there was nothing urgent in my emails.
8.15am I get coats, bags and shoes ready and ask everyone to go to the toilet. We need to be ready to leave for 8.30am
8.30am As Mr S is at home at present, I don’t need to do the school run so jump into my car and drive to work, this takes less than 5 minutes, by the time I park, sign in and walk to my office its around 8.40am
8.40 – 2.30pm Work. Work is always a whirlwind of activity, today I lead our assembly, meet with a colleague from the LEA’s Virtual school to discuss progress and support, visit every class to see all our students and staff, meet with senior colleagues and try to catch up on my never ending list of things to do. It is a really positive day at work but not every day is like this, I have been in tears this week because of my utter frustration with budgets and staffing. Sometimes its really difficult to leave on time and I often feel conflicted over my role as a senior leader and parent.
2.40pm Back home and I catch up with Mr S who had to go to school earlier as Little Miss had an accident at lunch time. She fell over and has a nasty deep cut on her foot, he brought new socks and shoes to school for her but decided she was well enough to stay the afternoon. Whilst I always try to walk the school run, we take the car as her foot was heavily bandaged and if it’s still bad we may take her to the local cottage hospital after school.
3.20pm We’re at school for pick up, Little Miss seems to be ok so we drive home. Little Man is staying at school for football training so I run to his classroom to say hello!
3.30pm Home and it’s time for a snack and drink. A family friend comes around to see us, she used to babysit the children when they were little and they love her. She married a few weeks ago and has brought around photos and her dress for us to see. Little Miss is allowed to try on the dress which is beautiful and her and the bride dance around and do twirls, it’s just lovely. The bride’s mum is a good family friend and has come round too, it’s a perfect way to end the week. Mr S collects Little Man from football whilst our visitors are here but he is suitably unimpressed by the wedding dress and photos and after saying hello heads to the play room to play Wii U with Mr S. Whilst we have had visitors today, this is the time we either do clubs, have friends around, pop in to see neighbours or play in the garden or inside.
5.30pm Time to prepare for tea, as its Friday, it’s a very simple tea of fresh pasta, sauce and garlic bread.
6.00pm Its teatime and a catch up for the 4 of us, it was the first forest school so Little Man is very chatty and Little Miss is keen to talk to about weddings.
6.30pm Tidy up time in the kitchen and a little bit of kitchen dancing for me. Fortunately, it’s just loading the dishwasher, washing a few pots and then emptying lunch boxes today, I love Fridays no packed lunches to make! I put in a wash of very muddy forest school clothes as Little Man will need them again tomorrow as he has a forest birthday party.
7pm I settle down with the rest of the family to watch the end of the Lego Master final.
7.20pm Mr S does Little Man’s bedtime routine whilst I do some jobs at my desk, sorting out lifts for tomorrow’s party, sending a few emails etc.. Little Miss reads quietly on the sofa.
8pm I take Little Miss up to bed and listen to her read before tucking her in and kissing her good night.
8.30pm At this time, I might read a book or blog, tonight I start typing up this post but stop for ..
9pm Cold Feet, its one of my favourite tv programmes and makes my Friday night!
10pm I continue to write this post for another 30 minutes and switch off the tv to listen to Sounds of the 80s on the radio, I’m an 80s girl and love the Friday night nostalgia.
10.30pm A final quick tidy up, clothes into the dryer, switch on the dishwasher and then it’s up to bed, I check that both children are sleeping peacefully in their beds.
10.45pm After a wash, change and a quick game of Scrabble on my phone, I settle down to sleep for around 11pm.
This was a pretty good day, but I was very grateful for Mr S being around and being able to do the school run, go back to the school when Little Miss hurt herself and then collect Little Man from football. If I had to do those things which I quite often do, it would have made the day much more demanding and stressful. For me there is no easy way to juggle work, family and running a house, I simply rely on lists and being incredibly organised. It would be nice to have more time in my day but I’m sure all mums feel like this and it’s a matter of making the best of the situation you are in. It would be interesting to complete this exercise in another 5 years to see what a day in my life looks like when the children are both in secondary school. I’m sure I’ll be missing those precious times such as the school run, cuddles on the sofa etc..