By Lisa Cheaney-Hogan
This may have been the single hardest thing I have ever done and I am about to embark on this transitional journey once again.
Gone are the days where play groups, swimming lessons and day time grocery shopping came at a more desirable pace. As I prepare for my upcoming reentry in the working world I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of panic, anxiety and essentially guilt. You see, not only am I going back to work and leaving my kids, but I’m a teacher. I am getting paid to teach someone else’s kids while I pay someone to take care of my kids?! Sounds pretty wild once I actually spell it out, doesn’t it?
Maternity leave varies immensely country to country and essentially household to household. I have been more than fortunate and blessed to have an incredible 14 months off with my little ones. I wouldn’t trade these long days and (sometimes) even longer nights for anything in the world but knowing this little guy is our last, I want more than ever for time to pause.
With this being my second time around, I feel I have a better idea of what life will become in a few months’ time and in some ways I feel more prepared. Now, I said only ‘some’ because honestly, getting two kids in two different places everyday seems like a whirlwind of coffee survival for those first few weeks. I am taking the necessary steps now to help prepare myself, the kids and my husband for this shift!
Here are some tips and back-at-work survival tools I have come to count on and I hope they help you too!
- You like to eat dinner daily? Two words…Crock Pot…game changer.
- Another fabulous kitchen tool – a decent blender. Breakfast smoothies, sauces, baby food, you name it!
- Put in a load of laundry every night. This way, you are not bogged down with 10 baskets on a Saturday night. (Mind you, folding it and putting it all away is a different challenge altogether)
- Set up your entry way for maximum organizational storage. Labelled baskets, calendars, chalkboard reminders, you name it. Practice getting organized as early as possible.
- It you haven’t worn it, used it, looked for it in 6 months – 1 year, it is time to donate. Clearing the clutter naturally clears the mind. (Tip: Up late nursing? Delete those old emails, messages and unused apps too)
- If possible, try to attend any doctors, dentist, optometrist, mechanic, etc appointments BEFORE heading back to work. Staying on top of your home, ‘administrative’ work will allow you to free up your weekend schedule when you return back to work.
- Sync your online calendar with your spouse, another key tip in organization.
- Planning on starting fitness routine when you return to a more concrete schedule? Start that a few weeks or months prior to going back. You need time to develop a routine and the transition to going back into the workforce will already be enough of a scheduling challenge.
- Little luxuries that will free up time and in turn, give you more time with the kids…home cleaning agency (even just once a month), grocery food delivery, online scheduled delivery for the, ‘everyday’ items can really help with time.
- Utilize the timer options on your dishwasher and washing machine. That way you don’t forget to run these later on.
- Pack all bags/purses/backpacks the night before.
- If you have to take work home, try to dedicate some uninterrupted time for you and your little one(s). They will be pinning for your attention (which may not always come in the form of smiles – they might be hangrey at this time of day) and they just want to be with you. Set aside quiet time to connect daily.
- Set aside a day or evening where you cook/wash/chop and divide everything up in containers ready to access for lunches and dinner.
- Mason jar meals (salads, overnight oats, etc).
- Make lunches the night before (I promise you won’t regret this).
- Buy items in bulk to reduce cost and packaging and divide portions up at home.
- Have the kids assist with making lunches (they will be more likely to eat their lunches too!).
- Include the kids in grocery shopping, cooking, meal prep, packing lunches. This will truly help build a healthy relationship with food and keep the communication flowing between you and them.
- Always make more for dinner – use leftovers as additional meals for lunches or for a another dinner during the week.
- Use the clock/timer-set options on your kettle or coffee maker – one less thing you have to do in the morning!