Being a working mom is no joke.
After seven months at home with my amazing little guy, I was ready to start working as a registered nurse again. But I had no idea how challenging that would be.
Since December 8, my husband and I have both worked full-time jobs, while juggling renovating and moving into our house, processing reverse culture shock after returning to America following three years in Cambodia, and trying to survive cold weather. I'm not sure which was the most challenging.
If you are a full-time working mom, I salute you.
There have been a few things that have kept my sanity together over the past two months of long hours at work and interrupted nights of sleep. If you're just heading back into a job after being a full-time stay-at-home-worker, these might be a few tips that will help you in the transition.
1. EARLY WAKE-UP
My goal is to get out of bed by 6 a.m. every morning. It doesn't always happen. But when I do roll out of bed by 6:09, instead of hitting snooze til 6:30, I have enough margin to get ready for work, take care of the baby, and have a quick conversation with the hubs without rushing around like a crazy lady. It sets my day up for success when I can take my time.
2. MEAL PLANNING
I don't have time to go to the grocery store several times a week, and I can hardly think by the time I get home at 5:30pm - definitely not enough to decide what to make for dinner! So Plan to Eat - an online meal planner - has been a lifesaver.
Every weekend, I pull out the laptop and use the online Plan to Eat calendar to plan out the week of meals. The site automatically makes a shopping list for me, separated by different departments and stores, and boom, I'm ready to get the shopping out of the way. It has saved me so much time and energy, and also helped me avoid wasting food (which is SO expensive in America, y'all!)
You can check out Plan to Eat and get a free 30 day trial here. And if you're new to meal planning, you definitely need to watch Kat Lee's meal planning bootcamp video series here.
3. ONLINE SHOPPING
I have discovered something new about myself...I hate shopping. Yes, the self-proclaimed Target lover now dreads stepping foot into the store. It's too big, too crowded, and has too many options.
So this week, instead of spending precious time at the store, I ordered a few items on my phone from the Target app and chose the "Pick up in store" option. Then the next day, it took me less than 5 minutes to run into customer service and get my purchases - saving me at least 30 minutes of wandering around the store, finding more unnecessary stuff to buy.
I've also turned into an ePantry junkie. I love them so much. They're an online subscription company sends me household supplies and personal items (like dish soap, hand cream, soap, detergent, and more) at competitive prices, so I don't have to run out to the store at 8pm at night because we're out of dishwasher detergent.
Their products are natural and environmentally friendly (brands like Mrs. Meyers, Method and Seventh Generation), and they give profits to charitable organizations. Win-win-win situation. (click here to get a $10 credit to give them a test run)
4. ASKING FOR HELP
This should be a no-brainer, but...I am terrible at asking for help from my husband. But my friend Kristi wrote about the secret to getting alone time as a mom. I'll give the secret away here: ask for it.
My husband is a terrific guy to have around the house. But he can't read my mind, and he doesn't automatically know what I need when I wake up every morning. And I get a bit passive-aggressive at times, not telling him what I need him to help with, then complaining when I get overwhelmed by all I have to do. Mature, I know.
But if I just directly ask for help or for brainstorming in fixing a solution, surprise - life goes so much better.
So if you feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Ask your mom, your husband, your best friend, your coworker, somebody - but don't try to do it on your own. You're not superwoman, and it's ok.
If you've ever made the jump into working motherhood, I'd love to hear about the tips, strategies, and encouragements that helped you navigate the transition. Share in the comments below!
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