Getting a handle on being a mommy and working has been challenging. I am constantly evaluating efficiencies. What are better ways of doing things that will make 1) my life easier, 2) give me more time with my son, and 3) give me more time for my hobbies? Here are a few strategies I have come up with so far.
1. Eat Lunch Alone
This is the only alone time I get during the day. I bring my journal along so that I can get writing done. Sometimes I read during this time. I don’t eat lunch alone every day but I make a point to get a couple of lunch hours to myself. The peace of mind knowing I have that one hour for my mind’s eye helps keep me going.
2. Carry Tide To Go Everywhere
I am notoriously messy. I am always spilling my lunch on my shirts. I usually spill a minimum of three things on myself a day. I don’t have time to change much less remember to carry extra shirts with me. Where I work I have to park a million miles away from the office so it isn’t even feasible for me to keep extra clothes in the car. Tide To Go has been an embarressment saver on many a workday.
3. Multiple Diaper Bags
We have two vehicles and keep a diaper bag in each one. It is also a good idea to keep an emergency baby box in each vehicle in addition to the diaper bag. I received an emergency baby box from my husband’s boss’s wife as a shower gift. I thought it was ingenious.
4. Lay out morning necessities
Preparing for the morning always sounds like the logical thing to do, but at 10:00pm this working-mommy butt is exhausted and the last thing I want to do is think about doing it all again tomorrow. The extra step is worth it and I never know what the morning will bring…I overslept, a particularly messy diaper/bed or a sick child. I lay out my clothes so that I don’t have to think about it as I am NOT a morning person. I read recently that putting out breakfast utensils and any other items needed for breakfast is a timesaver. I have to make sure my keys and cell phone are in the proper location so I can grab and go. Nothing slows down a morning than losing my keys after having to contend with a cranky child that didn’t want you to sleep that night. Talk about panic.
5. Ultimate Time-Saver
I dress the kid in the clothes he is going to wear the next day. Granted this is easier right now because he is a baby and can’t squawk about his non-conformist clothes. I don’t know if there is some cardinal rule that says mommies shouldn’t do this, but it definitely is my number one time saver in the mornings. I buy comfortable stretchy outfits that he can wear to bed and to the babysitter’s. I am a genius! Until he has that big morning poopy.
6. Buy Mix’n'Match clothing
I tend to buy clothes for Aden the same way I buy clothes for myself, classic simple pieces that will go with anything else in the wardrobe. So for Aden, I tend to gravitate towards the kaki shorts or pants, navy shorts/pants and jeans. That way any top will match. I mean really, who has the time to shop for perfectly coordinated pieces? I would love to spend hours shopping but these days I usually only get a 5-minute run in. Poor Aden will wonder why he doesn’t get to wear Sponge-Bob outfits. I hope he doesn’t sue me for that.
7. Eat More Protein.
This has been a goal of mine since the pregnancy. I could never get enough protein when I was pregnant and figured I could use the extra protein now for energy. For someone on the go it really helps to maintain the energy levels needed all day long. For protein lovers of the carniverous kind, this is the blog for you, www.meatpaper.com
8. Get Help!
I don’t mean the psychiatric kind, although there are days when I probably need it. I mean the support network needed to make life that much easier. Building a support network isn’t always easy especially if you don’t have supportive relatives nearby. Being partof a support network takes a commitment and so you must give back to it. Kevin and I work hard to maintain our friendships and support network and always try to recipricate.
9. Avoid Pestering Coworkers
I don’t talk about my kid. After all I am a professional! Ha! I always enjoy talking about my son when people ask and I do have a horribly cute picture on my desktop. I don’t like to attack people at work with rounds of photos (unless they ask). My work is contemplating layoffs, just like everywhere else in the country. I don’t want to be seen as the one that should be laid off because I would rather be home. (I would actually, but I would like it to be on my own terms.)
10. Dress Professionally
I take my professional wardrobe seriously. I have to. The workplace dresscode has gotten so much more informal and I want to stand out. Especially here in Florida where just thinking about going outside makes one sweat (there is no perspiring here), the more formal look stands out. Although I would love for Aden to live a life of leisure, more than likely he will have to work somewhere and seeing his parents dress well for work will help teach him workplace values. We hope.
Here are some other strategies from Working Mother magazine.
~Life as Mom