The emotions that came with going back to work took me by surprise. When Amelia was born I had no concerns but as the months turned into weeks then days a real sense of panic (and, honestly, heartbreak) took over. I was no longer going to be the person she spent her whole day with, I couldn’t control how it unfolded, and I wouldn’t be there in the moment when she needed comfort, which killed me the most. Even now it hurts to write it down. I questioned my choices over and over again. Was I making the right decision for my family? Was Amelia going to thrive? Could I still keep her safe?
On her first day I cried when we left but it passed. I could do this, she was happy. Then came day two when she cried – I ugly cried the whole way to work and couldn’t shake the sadness. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t more tears that week. What makes it easier is knowing that she is adjusting just fine, even loving it. Since our time is more limited now I definitely want to enjoy that time not buzzing around the house.
I haven’t been at this whole working mom thing for long, two weeks to be exact, but I think I’ve heard it takes four weeks to form a habit, no? Nonetheless, I have started to develop a nice routine that helps me balance what feels like 20 conflicting responsibilities, quality time with Amelia & Arthur, and a little self care. What I have found is a little organization goes a long way!
Here are my tips for finding a work/mom life balance and enjoy your time at home:
I’ve never been organized enough to make a whole week worth of food in one day or, really, ever enjoyed it. I found it stressful and time consuming but that’s me, I know others who love it! Having a small window between the end of my work day and Amelia’s bedtime has meant needing to be a bit more strategic with dinner time. We keep a running grocery list in our shared Google calendar (if you don’t have a shared calendar with your partner, do it!! It’s a game changer) which makes a trip to the store a lot more efficient. I buy what we need for the week and plan out our meals from there. When Amelia goes to bed I decide what’s for dinner and prep what I can the night before. For example, I cook rice in advance to cut down on time spent in the kitchen when we get home.
A couple of classic family dinners that are easy an nutritious are Rice Bowls with Roasted Veggies and Black Beans, Chickpea Pasta with Pesto, and Salmon with Rice and Veggies. My favourite combinations for roasted vegetables is cauliflower and carrot or broccoli and sweet peppers – so easy and super yummy! Keep things simple! After a day at daycare I’d much rather be playing with Amelia than making an elaborate meal.
What’s on my grocery list? I always have eggs, a loaf of Food for Life bread, Greek yogurt, cans of chickpeas and black beans, frozen fruit (fresh when in season), a variety of veggies for roasting and for snacking, hummus, and almond butter in the fridge. Other staples are salmon, chicken, rice, avocados, bananas, and Love Child Organics snacks for Amelia. She loves the oaty chomps!
I wouldn’t call myself a morning person so I try to avoid needing to do too much before work. I pack lunch and make coffee before bed. Is there anything better than the smell of coffee in the morning?
Make Mornings for You
If you take one piece of advice from this let it be this: wake up before your kids. There’s nothing worse than feeling rushed in the morning. I notice a big difference in how the day unfolds when I’ve given myself time to relax before the day gets going.
I state again, I’m not much of a morning person but I’ve come to relish that quiet time for myself. Once Amelia is awake I don’t want to be worrying about getting ready, I want to enjoy having breakfast together. I shower at night so styling my hair is faster and I keep my everyday makeup routine simple.
To kick start my day I have adopted having a big glass of water with fresh lemon (thanks Joyous Health) before my morning coffee. It’s refreshing and does my body good!
Recently I’ve found taking 5 minutes to reflect to be a great way to get myself into a good frame of mind. I bought myself The Five Minute Journal (see, five minutes, literally) and haven’t looked back. Sometimes it’s hard but I always feel better when I’ve taken the time to gather my thoughts.
Now, enjoy your coffee while it’s hot (provided babe doesn’t sense you’re relaxing and wake up early :P)
Move your Body
This one can be tough don’t get me wrong. I have definitely let this go on nights where things don’t go according to plan. At the beginning of January I signed myself up for TRUE 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene Mishner. It’s a daily, at home yoga practice and I’m loving it. Have I completed each day? No. Life has gotten in the way a few times. On the days (which are the majority) that I make the time to move my body I feel like a new person. I am grateful that I challenged and strengthened both my body and my mind. On the other hand, I don’t punish myself for the days where I can’t muster up the energy to move and crave a more sedentary night on the couch. I need that too!
These are a few things that have made my life a little bit more manageable now that I’m expected to wear pants and not rock a topknot. Our routines are sure to evolve as things change but I know what will stay consistent is that I want to maximize the time I have at home with my family. Every family is different and you’ll find what works for you. Focus on how to eliminate the unnecessary stress and what makes your life easier.