No matter at what point you are on maternity, your first week or your last day, the return to work is always sort of lingering over you. It’s a nightmare and until you actually have to juggle motherhood and working you have no idea just how much of a nightmare it can actually be. In my pre-child days I was the worst for using the phrase ‘how hard can it be’ when hearing all about the working mum struggles from friends who had children before (as you can imagine, I definitely hate that 19 year old me!)
After Abi I went back to work 3 days and all those days she was looked after by our parents and Chris, so to say we were lucky on the child care front is an understatement. This time around I’ve gone back full-time and the childcare arrangements have been far from simple. We are still lucky because 2 of the 5 day’s we have our parents to do the school drop off’s and pick up’s and look after Izzi. But the 3 days we rely on nursery, breakfast club and afterschool club are a conundrum of gigantic proportions. Not only because of cost, but the backwards and forwards and morning rush make those 3 day’s (and the evenings before) stressful to say the least.
It’s taken a few weeks but I’ve finally found my groove. I mentioned previously that I’ve tried to avoid having Chris as a fixed childcare so that should anything come up with his work it doesn’t matter. I mean there’s truly nothing worse than a sudden change in schedule that leaves you childcare-less and on the edge of a mum meltdown!
I’ve been asked a few times how I’ve found returning full-time so I thought I’d share what’s helped me. I’m going to say here that despite ‘finding my groove’ I’ve had a couple of days where my planning has gone to absolute crap and I’ve driven to work counting backwards from 100 and dreaming of sunny beaches and sangria!!
So, here goes…
PLAN PLAN PLAN!!!
I’ve invested in a magnetic weekly family planner from wilkson’s before I started and its saved me!! I currently have our every move planned Monday-Friday for at least a month in advance, including back ups in case of an unexpected illness and childcare issues. From childcare, to afterschool activities and lunches it’s all written down ready for me to look at every Sunday evening!
PREP PREP PREP!!!
Every evening I pack our bags, lay out our outfits and have everything ready by the door to just quickly grab when it’s time to leave. This mean’s no rushing around, minimal effort come 7am and a quick and stress free morning the next day. The one night I didn’t do this I forgot to pack Izzi’s milk powder for nursery, thankfully Chris was home so he was able to take some down asap which meant I didn’t have to rush back home and show up to work 20 minutes late!
Much to Chris’s dismay, I’m one of those people who are messy at the same time as being tidy. I can’t bear a dirty house but I am very disorganised to a whole new level of disorganisation! The first week back at work I didn’t do any cleaning Monday-Friday so come Saturday the house was disgusting and I spent the whole week in a foul mood. SO with the help of Chris every evening, we do a quick speed clean aroumd the house, the kitchen, bathroom and lounge mainly seeing as they are the main room’s we use everyday. This means the house stays bearable all week and come Saturday the deep clean I secretly love doing takes me half the time!
I’ve always been one of those women who washes her hair every day meaning I’ve always had to get up stupidly early and I wasted a lot of time blow drying and straightening what ultimately become a dry straw like mess on top of my head. When Izzi was born, daily hair washes became non existent and dry shampoo became my buddy. This has of course carried over into my return to work and it saves me at least an hour every morning. My hair has also never been in better condition and now that the dreaded post partum hair loss has chilled out my hair care routine takes half the time. 3 days a week (Sunday, Wednesday and Friday) I get up a little earlier and wash, blow dry and straighten my hair and the days in between are all about the floral batiste dry shampoo!
DONT BE A MARTYR!!!
I am the worst for thinking I can do everything on my own and accepting help is a massive thing for me. I don’t ever want to be come across incapable or weak and this of course means that I burn myself out and crack (usually meaning that I snap at Chris with an almighty rage because he didn’t put his towel back the right way or something ike that…) Accepting help, be it with the washing and/or ironing or someone offering to take the littles off your hands for a few hours, is a massive god send and people aren’t going to offer unless they mean it!
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF!!!
Take 5. Even if it’s just once a week. Time to yourself is everything when you’re a mum- even if you’re not working! Baths, running or even just weeing in peace. I used to think time to myself meant I’d have to spend money like getting my nails done or a spa day but the truth is 5 minutes does wonders. Of course a spa day or a nail appointment would also be fab but for now I’ll happily have some time to pee in peace!
These are 6 things that have definitely kept me going the last few weeks, and already they are part of our every day routine. That being said I’m still finding myself really struggling some days with the pressure that comes with work, children and a house (those days are usually a Wednesday in case you were wondering, I like to call it the hump day slump!)
What do you do to help keep on top of life when you’re working?
Are there any hint’s and tip’s you can pass on to help this mumma out?