Today is the end of my maternity leave and what a year it has been. People always say how fast time goes by and they are right, no longer am I worried about breastfeeding and spit up, a year later its all about walking and talking.
Going back to work can be a bit traumatic. I have dreaded this day for weeks and have done my best to ignore this reality as best that I could. I’ve been worried about the transition from being at home to being at work and how it was going to effect the whole family. Today went really well, everything got done, everyone is fed and happy and ready for the day ahead. I now realize the one thing they don’t tell you – get organized.
If your planning on going back to work soon the earlier you start the better. No longer do you have the day to do laundry or make dinner now you’ve got a few precious hours to get everything done.
The only way I think I can maintain my sanity is to have a shower in the morning and the only way to successfully do that is to get up really early. I’ve always been a morning person but now I savour the precious half an hour when the house is still and I’m the only one awake. While I was on maternity leave we started our day at the same time every morning. I’ve adjusted my wake up to be half an hour earlier than that so I can get ready alone. This way when my adventure boy wakes up he’s got my full attention and I’m not rushing to get ready.
As a family we get our clothes picked out the night before. This save so much time in the morning even with baby everything is ready you don’t have to think about it just get dressed. We make lunches which are usually leftovers from the previous nights meals and get the dishes cleaned while dinner is cooking. By the time we sit down to eat together all major tasks for the next day are done.
After dinner, bath & storytime, while our little guy is snoozing away, any chopping or prep work that can be done for the following days dinner is done. I find that there is never enough time before dinner and always lots of time after. So to save time I make sure whatever I can have done in advance is done then. Chopping onions, peeling potatoes, getting all the ingredients together for a sauce can be done in advance. This way when I walk in the door at 5 all I have to do is drain the potatoes and put them in the oven to roast while I play with the baby. If dinner requires grated cheese I get out the food processor and grate the whole block and have a bag full ready in the fridge. In under an hour from walking in the door we are sitting down to a home cooked meal that hasn’t cause me any stress.
I have a calendar hanging in the kitchen where I write down all the meals we are having. This works wonders in two ways. First it helps with the grocery shopping. I know in advance what needs to purchased and second we never wonder what’s for dinner. By knowing what we are having in advance I know what needs to be defrosted or chopped, I find its the biggest lifesaver.
I know that life changes dramatically when you go back to work and I know I am just starting this new adventure of being away from my little guy but getting organized I’m hoping to save my family stress and frustration without having to put in a lot of extra work.
Give it a try.