I’ve been going back and forth on what I wanted my next post to be about because I have a list of topics I want to write about and lists I want to share with everyone on what I liked or did at certain periods of this mom life. Each post may go out of sequence of my timeline but I will be sure to share it all because I know someone somewhere can use them all!
I’m going to go with the most current topic I can that I’ve gone through, going back to work as a new mom. We’ll go through my 5 tips that allow me to survive at working mom life.
Top 5 Tips to survive going back to work:
- Pick your daycare/child care option
- Make a chart for the family
- Meal prep for the week
- Lay out your outfit every night
- Ask for help
I recently went back to work September 16th and not only was I going back to work in the corporate world after having a baby it’s a brand spankin’ new job at a whole new company!
A quick backstory, I was at my last job for 4 years and chose to find a new job because my previous job was going to be gone (outsourced, not moved for anyone that may have believed that BS) at the latest by the end of 2020, if not much sooner depending on plans among the company. My goal was to find something stable sooner than later because well, it is not just Blake and myself any longer and as a new parent there is already so much uncertainty of raising this little man that having a stable job is a main priority in our life. I had lucked out and landed this new job just in time before going back to my previous job by 1 week of returning to my previous job. I had to cut maternity leave short by only a week, which was not so bad because I was fortunate enough to have just shy of 4 months off of work with him. That was a lovely and longer than normal leave that I was fortunate to have.
I am the mom who will always say I need to work and cannot be a stay at home mom and I still do say that. SAHMs kill it, I know this and witness it among some of my amazing friends, but it’s not for me. However, when you spend that much time with your little one, a BIG piece of your struggles to understand how you will trust someone you barely know to care for him or her while you go back to work. Begin “mom guilt” which we will discuss in another post. That one is a big topic any mom can relate to!
Pick your daycare/child care option
The one question I got over and over again was, “will your parents be watching Dominick?” My parents are retired and most would think that would be our go-to for money savings. However, before even having kids I’ve always stated I never wanted to put that pressure onto them. They have a life, they travel, they worked too hard for too long for me to stop them in their tracks and make them full time babysitters. Plus, no grandparent should HAVE to raise their grandkids. It should be a fun time for both grandparents and grandkids to see one another. We are fortunate enough to have my parents close enough that if I call and we need them, they are there in minutes. They are always willing to lend a hand to us and grab Dominick from daycare if we are late, but it is never a permanent situation. This was our decision as parents; others may have a different choice or not have the choice.
Let me remind you, whatever choices you make as parents, that’s yours. What I say or what others do as parents are their choices too. Some of what I am going to write here and in future posts you may not like or agree with, but that is not why I’m writing. Please remember that and know I’m only doing this to share what I’ve experienced and hope to help with ideas if I can.
We knew we would be putting Dominick in daycare as well too since both of us work full time and there are benefits to him going. Both Blake and myself were daycare kids, though his was a little different. Maybe a story for another time.
If you’re going the daycare route, start by finding all the local ones close to you that make sense for your morning commute. Be sure that you find a credible daycare that has reviews and willing to give you all the information you care to ask about. Visit them. They will give you a tour if you ask. It helps you understand where your child will be and what they will do and who they will be with. Meet the teachers. After all, that is whom they are spending most of their day with so you should like them. That was most important to me, next to costs.
Find costs. There are varying costs in the areas usually even if it’s a little, it makes a difference! Be aware, it’s not cheap. You are paying for the care of your child though and that is huge!
The place we chose is an independent daycare and not a national name. We found the national name was much more costly and though I had gone to a Kindercare growing up myself, I didn’t have the comforting feeling that I do at the one we chose. We love the teachers that are with him daily and they now have a great app that we can check on what he has done all day, how many diapers, when he ate, and they can send us pictures of him too.
So far, we have loved having our son at the daycare we chose because he is enjoying himself. If he is happy, we are happy. He has his first snotty nose, but that was inevitable and more is coming. Boogers galore! He is so loved there that all we hear about is how every teacher loves him and they all want to snuggle him since he loves to be loved. He stays busy too. We live less than 10 minutes from daycare and almost every day he is sleeping before we get home.
That was the biggest part to going back to work, in my opinion. Now I’ll touch on a few things that I did the first week that I’ve continued to do that help tremendously during the week to keep my sanity, though I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to normal sanity now being a mom.
Make a chart for the family
Remember, I said I live by lists? When I went back to work, Blake was on night shift so I was on my own the first two weeks morning and night. First thing I did was make a family chart with a list of items everyone should do each evening before the next day to prepare. Laugh at the items I have but when you’re running around in the 3 hours you have at home before you need to get to bed remembering all you need to do, this is so helpful! Plus it’s nice for when Blake and/or my mom are helping and ask what they can do, the list is already there. And you want to soak in all the snuggles from your baby that you can which will make the time to run like that maniac you are a lot shorter.
The first thing I get a reaction on usually is, “wash face, seriously!” Like I could forget that? This is here because I get so caught up in doing everything else, I’ll put myself last. I’m sure all moms can relate to putting yourself last and not caring for yourself like you had before kids. Well, this is a true reminder that I’ll go wash my face and put my lotion on. It’s a small but helpful item to make me feel like myself among the controlled chaos.
You’ll see “When was his last bath?” under Dominick’s list. Judge all you want, but first, babies don’t NEED a bath every single day and when you are go, go, go all the time, you tend to forget things and when Blake is home, we bounce back and forth who does what. We will have to ask the other, “Did you bath him last?” He tends to get a bath every other day for the sole reason that his little no-neck roll is a catch all for all the milk, drool, and every fuzzy in the whole world. *gag* Poor dude and his chunky neck.
This simple chart has helped me so much and will be an ever changing list as time goes on and we all change schedules and Dommie grows. I found the template on Word and edited it as needed.
Meal prep for the week
Next up, food. I’m surprised I didn’t list this first for you since I LOVE to eat. However, mom life slows down the choices you get to make. Meal prep for the week for yourself. I mean that in the sense of breakfast and lunches. Have them planned and made. Keep it simple. Going with my chart above, when I “pack my lunch” I can grab it from the fridge and put it in my bag each night with no thought as to what I’m having the next day and no prep work.
I’ve done breakfast items such as overnight oats, instant oatmeal, avocado toast (premade guacamole from Aldi’s) with a hardboiled egg, and even a Quest bar for a quick grab and go.
Some of my lunches have been turkey salads, soups, wraps with some sides of vegetables with hummus or apples.
Keep in mind, you want to make things that are easy and can be kept for a few days to get you through the week. It’s a huge time saver on weeknights to do this and you’ll be thankful for it.
Now for dinners, don’t let these slide by because if you do you’ll end up in the KFC and Chick-fil-A drive thru more than you wish to do but it’s quick and convenient. It also takes lots of your money and makes your insides twist a bit questioning when you will be heading to the bathroom.
The first two weeks I grabbed anything that was quick and not necessarily healthy because I was only feeding myself. I had even grabbed a pad Thai microwavable box that was expired by a month to eat quickly. I’m telling you, the first two weeks aren’t easy when you’re trying to find your groove.
Now that Blake is on daylight again, we are going to attempt the crockpot and instant pot routes. Full disclosure here, we are picky when it comes to meats because slow cooking things ruins them usually. This will be a test for us to find recipes that are not only semi-healthy but don’t overcook the meats. Our plans are to cook Monday & Wednesday and have the leftovers Tuesday and Thursday. Our Fridays we will have a little more time to be up and not as rushed so we will be happy to cook a real meal.
This is the plan and we will see how it works. I know we will hit up a take out or delivery here and there because we’re normal humans which is fine but the goal is to eat as healthy as we can when we can.
Lay out your outfit every night
Sounds simple but it is a major time saver and decision maker for the morning which you don’t have that extra time anymore for yourself. It is on my chart for the family, which includes picking out my child’s outfit as well.
Be smart and look ahead at the weather. This saves you the moment of walking outside when you let the dog out and going, “oh shit, I need to change.” You really don’t have time for that anymore and I can promise that. I still get up extra early as we settle into a routine because Dommie is unpredictable yet. He has woke up before I get in the shower at 5:15 am but then he has also had to be woken up at 6:30 am so we can have him eat and get him ready to leave by 6:50 am. Either way, we get through it together and *knock on wood* I haven’t been late to work yet!
A moment to share with you about how you don’t have time for the wardrobe changes, I had my outfit picked out for Friday and we can wear jeans at work. Well my postpartum mama bod isn’t quite back to normal and the jeans I picked out didn’t fit. I changed into 3 different pair of pants before finding ones that I was confident enough to go into public in. That was a planned morning too, but it put me 15 minutes behind now and running through the house like a maniac since I have to not only drop off Dominick at daycare but catch the T (public transit) for work to be there at a certain time.
The more you can plan, the better. Even if you’re not a planner and like living by the seat of your pants, it relieves some of the anxiety in the mornings by allowing you more time to get the chaos in order.
Ask for help
The first week will suck. I said it. Why butter it up for you? I actually cried the week prior to going back to work for a whole day. The mom guilt set it on top of the question of how will I be able to do everything? Well, you just do it. My mom always told me, it always seems like a lot and you are overwhelmed but you somehow always manage to do it and you look back going, huh, I did do it.
What, no one told you? We gain super powers when we become moms.
So we gained super powers… you aren’t able to utilize them fully without asking for help. You’re still human and humans get tired.
Do not be afraid to ask for help no matter how much you don’t want to admit you need it. *Raises hand* I’m guilty of this and believing I HAVE to do it on my own because other moms can. Lies. Everyone needs a hand because it’s life and it’s hard and it’s messy and we don’t always know how to do it all.
Even if it’s having your mom hold the baby while you get used to that new chart you made on week one. That is what I had her do on the first Tuesday because I worked late and had even less time to get our shit together for the next day so I cried on my way home. That hour she held him while I got it all together made life that much easier because Dominick was happy with Grandma while mom got our lives organized again.
Ang go for it, ask your hubby again, excluding the eye rolls, for the help you know you need from him. They are stubborn but they are your teammate and they will help. They sometimes need a kick in the rear because they think our super powers can manage the entire house but they don’t get to be free of it all by any means.
Last tip, enjoy the time at work. Work will always be work. It’s a necessary evil no matter how you do it, whether it’s at home or in an office. You deserve an identity and pride in what you do outside of being a super mom. Mom guilt sets in yes, but you have time to work and regain a little bit of yourself.
I hope these items can help you a little bit in getting your footing when you jump back into your career. It’s tough mama, but I’m here to help you! Reach out to me if you want to talk and you need to figure this out. I’ll tell you, I’m no pro but I’m surviving and it’s working so far.