Monday, August 29, 2011

on going back to work

Now that I’m one month in, I can comfortably say that the back to work process was much easier than I anticipated. When I wrote this in the days leading up to my return, I was absolutely devastated with the thought of returning to work. But, like any transition in life, we adjust and make the most of our circumstance. I'm in a pretty good place now and have managed to find necessary balance.

Here are a few tips for mothers going back to work:
  1. Make sure you are comfortable with your childcare option. We are so blessed that my in-laws are watching Mila while I work. But, I'm confident that we would have found a wonderful center or nanny had they not offered up their services. Being comfortable with your childcare is mandatory. The first time I sent Sonia to daycare she was nine months old and while I know the center was great, there was something about the experience that didn’t feel right. Lesson learned. Unless you feel 100% satisfied with your childcare choice, it will make being at work very difficult. 
  2. Adjust your schedule. I returned to work four days a week. I don't know how long this will last, but I hope to make it work for as long as possible. Having a day each week to be stay-at-home mom makes a big difference. I don't work Wednesdays, which means each day of my work week feels like a Thursday or Friday. I am in absolute love with this schedule. I love that I will be able to drop off and pick up Sonia from preschool on Wednesdays, schedule playdates, go on adventures, get errands and appointments done and just be with the ladies on my day off. Lord knows the weekends are way too short, so having a free day mid-week is wonderful. 
  3. Have everything packed-up the night before. Bottles, pumping equipment, lunch and snacks, etc. If you have to do these things in the morning, you will be off to a miserable start. I detest coming home from work and immediately cleaning out bottles, but if I do it at night I can enjoy my mornings that much more. 
  4. Meal plan. We are still working on this and hope to improve in the coming weeks. Coming home to an easy and healthy meal is essential in the long term. For us, this means weekly grocery store stock-ups on fresh produce and carefully planned meals that rely heavily on the slow cooker and grill. Friday night pizza never hurts either. 
  5. Have updated photos around. I can't tell you how often people ask to see new photos. And I'm happy to oblige. 
  6. Invest in the best pump you can afford. Your pump is going to be your best friend, so choose wisely. While there were many other items I would have preferred to spend $400 on, I don’t regret my purchase. Only one month in and I already feel I’ve gotten my money’s worth. 
  7. Calendar in your pumping sessions. The first thing I did my first day back to the office was to block out pumping time three times a day in my calendar. I pump at 9:30, 12:30 and 3:30. Sometimes I may get off schedule by 30 minutes do to a meeting, but for the most part, people have scheduled meetings around my three 15-minute blocks. 
  8. Reward yourself. Buy yourself a new outfit that makes you feel good. Get a pedicure. Go for coffee or treat yourself to lunch. 
  9. Get things done during your work day. I fit bill paying in during a quick five minute break from work. I run to Target or the library during my lunch break (when I can take a break). I make appointments and fill out school forms all from my office, so that when I’m home, I can relax. Does this take some time away from work? Yes, but I have a hard time focusing on work when I’m thinking of all the things I need to accomplish in my real life anyway. I find it takes five minutes to pay bills online each month, and it frees up my mind so I don’t have to think about it again. 
  10. Know you are doing the right thing. What ever your reason is for returning to work, know that it is the best choice for you. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career and I want my girls to see me as a business woman (did I just refer to myself as that?). While we could survive off one income, our double income provides us the ability to save money, travel and enjoy some "extras." After three years of law school, it's about time we enjoy some extras! 
  11. Be easy on yourself. Don’t try and do anything besides going to work and loving your babe while at home. Cleaning the house, cooking meals, and going to the gym can all wait until you are in a groove with your new schedule. Appreciating time with your baby is all that matters.

    1 comment:

    VLS said...

    Jess, my nursing/pumping guru.