Moms are moms are moms. But let’s be honest. When you have a full time job to attend to on top of raising babies, time management can get a little dicey. May I suggest…
- The morning routine. As I prepared to return to work after a blissful three months of maternity leave, I couldn’t help but feel lost. How could I ever give up these precious moments and return to the daily grind? The thought was overwhelming…until I got some sage advice from an old grad school friend. With two children and a career of her own, she told me to get a morning routine and stick to it. At first, I didn’t think it could be so simple. But a few months later, my husband and I had our new norm: wake up 45 minutes before the baby and race around like maniacs to walk the dog, pack lunches, shower and get as much done as possible before the sleeping dragon stirs. Rinse and repeat. Hey, I didn’t say it was pretty. But as I pull out of my driveway with a cup of coffee in the holder, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I’m on track to make it to the daycare and then to work on time. I couldn’t even do that when I was single. Amen to the morning routine.
- Meal prep is life. Remember the days of stopping after work for drinks and apps with your coworkers? Oh those delicious egg rolls and margaritas (insert affordable chain restaurant here). Now those days are few and far between. You simply don’t have the time (or metabolism anymore. ugh). Instead, you want to get home to see those munchkins AND get dinner on the table. Or if you’re like me, just get home…because half the time the hubs is already there feeding the baby (teamwork makes the dream work, right?) Having dinner pre-made makes the whole process easier. I’d rather spend 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon putting together meals for the whole week, than waste precious mommy time in the kitchen the minute I walk in the door after work. These days, I’m feeling the one-pan wonders. I’m also in love with my slow cooker. Hell, I may even ask for an insta-pot for Christmas.
- Weekend naptime, aka get everything done time. Oh that sweet, two hour window on a Saturday. If you’re lucky, your house may not be a total disaster and you can actually use some of that time to relax…maybe read a couple chapters in the latest thriller Reese Witherspoon is recommending (maybe even finish it before she turns it into a tv show!). But first…it’s time for the household chores. My husband and I just bought our very first home this past fall and while I worked hard to let go of my OCD tendencies on weeknights, I’m determined to get things in order on the weekends. And so, you will once again find us running around like maniacs vacuuming, doing dishes and working in the yard. The funny thing is, we’ve gotten pretty good at it. I even find myself checking the clock to see how many minutes I can shave off scrubbing the tub. A personal record, the runner in me would call it. Not as bad as it sounds either. There’s something to be said about getting your house in order at the start of your weekend that sets you up for more time to unwind before Monday.
- One big shopping trip. Running to the store for forgotten groceries after work is the worst. I don’t know about you but by that time, my feet are killing me (blame it on those working mama heels!). The last thing I want to do is walk across the parking lot and through those automatic doors for “just a couple of things.” It always turns into me carrying an overflowing basket of items up and down aisles, cutting off the circulation in my arm while wishing I grabbed a shopping cart instead. Here is where it pays off to be a be a bit more organized. Make a shopping list ahead of time (after all – you do have a couple meal preps in mind right?) and do it all in one trip. Try to go solo if you can. No distractions = less time in the store! I like to think of myself as a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. As a kid, I had no idea why they were so crazy over the meat department. Now, as I pick up (and then put back) the packaged cuts of filet mignon, I get it.
- Don’t do everything yourself. You are a working mom. Don’t feel pressured to play the role of domestic goddess as well. Sure, I take pride in a clean home and some good cooking. I love being a mommy and taking care of my husband too. But he also takes care of me. While I’m swiffering floors, he’s offering to do the dishes. While I’m hitting up the grocery store, he’s enjoying some one-on-one time with the baby. Why not? We both have careers AND we are both parents. Behind *this* working mama is a good man.