One year ago, I was a naively pregnant, working woman. I have the type of personality that is pretty “Type A” about most things, super-efficient when it comes to getting work and personal items done, and not very empathetic when it comes to understanding people who are not like minded (a huge character flaw, I know).
I was able to multi-task like it was my job. Get glammed up every morning, accomplish everything within a work day so I didn’t have to take anything home, cook dinner every night, show my husband attention, take a relaxing bath, etc. I basically thought I had my you know what together.
Fast forward nine months when I had a three-month-old and was about to return to working from maternity leave. If I could accomplish two of the above-mentioned things in a day, it was a win. To say this turned my world upside down was an understatement. But as the weeks and months have gone on, I have found a few crucial things that have helped me get my life back together and tackle each work week.
1. Meal plan and grocery shop accordingly
Every weekend I sit down and check out the ads for the grocery stores. I usually focus on the meats and see what is on sale. From there, I will think about my go-to recipes, pins I’ve saved on Pinterest, and look through my recipe books for recipes using these proteins. I then create a “menu” for the week and make a grocery list according to the items I need to make our meals. This has helped keep us from eating out a ton, save money, and feel like I have a plan ready to feed me and my hubby for the week.
2. Stick to a routine
Although this may seem mundane at times, sticking to a daily routine helps you accomplish everything that needs to happen in a day. Whether it be splitting parenting tasks each morning and night, or divvying up household chores…have some sense of routine so that you can ensure your day is both productive and enjoyable. In our house we wake up, I feed baby while hubby showers, then we switch so I can shower. Hubby does daycare drop off and pick up. I get home, then put baby down for a nap. We both tackle dinner, bath time, and bedtime. Then I put baby to bed while he cleans up dinner. Finally, we unwind with some good trash TV, or a good Netflix show if we actually want to make our brains keep working for the night. Is this the most thrilling M-F routine? No. But it works, and we both are able to thrive through the chaos.
3. Lean on your village
Surviving the week with a family, while working full time is not meant to be accomplished alone. Maybe you leave your children with grandparents, or maybe your kids go to daycare part-time, or maybe your kids go to daycare all day, every day. Whatever your situation might be, trust in the village of people who are helping watch your children. These people are your biggest supporters and number one fans. Bond with them and don’t be afraid to form a close relationship with them. Your baby will get sick, your kids will have ever-changing interests…communicating with your village about what is happening in your children’s lives is the best way to ensure your child is getting the best experience possible. And don’t forget, these people also love your children deeply.
4. Plan things to look forward to on the weekends
There is nothing better than having something super exciting planned to help you push through the day to day routine. Whether it be getting a babysitter, planning an at-home date night, or taking a special family outing, make sure your weekends consist of fun and relaxation. Not just chores and “to-do’s”. It’s so easy to get caught up in household tasks that must be completed on the weekends, but remember, the weekends are for decompressing just as much as getting things done. My husband and I love to binge watch Netflix shows or go on weekend adventures around town or to close by cities. These are things I look forward to and help push me through my week.
5. Don’t forget to make time for yourself
I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “how in the world do I have time for that.” But I promise this is probably the most important of the five suggestions to survive your week. You work, take care of babies, keep your house up, give your spouse attention, how can you possibly do anymore? But you can! Even if it is just 10 minutes a day. Read a book, workout, go shopping. Do something that does not require the attention of anyone else but yourself. My personal favorite is to squeeze in a 20-minute workout, even if it is at 9:00 at night. Better late than never. You cannot fill from an empty cup, so find some time to squeeze in something that makes your soul happy.
I see you, working mama. I am you. I get you. And you are amazing.