Monday, April 25, 2016
Making the Most of Each Day as a Full-time Working Mom
A big part of the reason I have made much less of an appearance on the blog since becoming a mom is because I also work full-time. When I get home from work, I rarely spend any time on my phone until my toddler is in bed for the night. Most evenings there are still things that need to be accomplished once he goes to bed and I want to spend the remainder of the night hanging out with my husband. These days I’m ready for bed by 9 or 10, so the weeknights fly.
Life is different now than it was when Sage was a baby. When he was a baby, I’d bring him inside and he’d happily play on his mat (before he was mobile), sit in his vibrating chair and swat at the hanging toys, or I’d have him right in the kitchen with me in his rock n’ play while I cooked dinner. These days as my baby approaches two (ok, not for four months but still!), he’s got much more of a say in how the night goes. Now that the weather is nice the last thing he wants to do when we get home is go inside. He wants to play outside basically until bedtime and my getting dinner on the table is much more of a challenge. Luckily most nights my husband and Sage play outside while I work on the things that need to happen inside the house, but then I’m torn between wanting to make a nice dinner (something I do take pride in and also enjoy) and being outside. Also, I want my house to be clean, but I don’t want to spend the night after a long workday cleaning. Do you see what I mean? It’s about making choices. Here are few things that I focus on to make the most of the work days:
I try to have at least a few meals planned for the week. I never have five weekday meals planned. On the weekend we grocery shop and stock the house with food so that for a few meals during the week we are set. I expect to get takeout or go out 1-2 times a week. It just simplifies dinner. There will be a pizza or Mexican food night, or something of the sort, and I’m totally ok with that. We’ll probably do quesadillas one night, Italian one night, and breakfast for dinner another. I’m so happy that it has become grill weather because that simplifies dinner a ton and there are so many more options with grilling. I also just placed by first Blue Apron order for next weekend and I'm really excited about that! It's supposed to be three meals that will feed my husband and I, and I'm hoping Sage too. I'll definitely keep you posted on how the Blue Apron meals go.
My house will never be super clean…like ever. Some days it will probably look like a disaster. My husband and I will catch up on laundry and get the kitchen in order and then it might look a little better. I don’t (and truly cannot) sweat this. If I worried about how clean my house was it would take up so much unnecessary space in my mind. It’s just not worth it. My family will be well fed and we’ll enjoy each other’s company and have fun, but we’ll do so with dog fur that needs to be vacuumed on of the rug, dishes that are never ending, and piles of laundry that never seem to go away.
I pack my son’s bag for the sitter the night BEFORE. Oh my gosh does this make a big difference in the morning! I always get mad at myself in the morning when I haven’t taken care of Sage’s diaper bag. We cloth diaper and that requires a little extra effort to make sure diapers are clean. At this point I’m washing diapers every 2-3 days which is no big deal (but I know that will be changing soon with baby boy #2 on the way). I pack breakfast, lunch and snacks for my son each day so making his meals the night before takes so much pressure off my morning. It just takes a little thought and it is so worth it. Otherwise in the morning I’m rummaging through the cupboards and refrigerator trying to pull something together for him and it just doesn’t make me feel good.
I read something a while ago when I was going back to work when Sage was 4.5 months old. (It was hard at first and I wondered how I’d make it all work). I read that it’s not necessarily the amount of time you spend with your child, but the quality of the time together. I think of that every single day. When my husband and I get Sage out of bed in the morning, even though we often don’t get more than 20 minutes with him before it is time to go, we make that time count. We greet him in bed together and give him lots of hugs and kisses. We get him dressed for the day and offer him a little breakfast. Sometimes there is time to read him a book or play. It’s an important moment each workday. After work we devote our attention to him. It might not be both of us exclusively focusing on him, but we give Sage as much love and attention as we can. Following his bedtime routine is also very important to us. We do bath every other night and then we follow the rest of our routine. We end the night with book time, cuddles in his rocking chair, and he gets a sippy cup of milk in his rocking chair while sitting with either my husband or I. We talk and joke with him before he goes to bed. This is another special time each day.
I’m not hard on myself, or I try not to be. I think as a parent you sort of have to lower your standards for certain things. I don't mean that in a bad way by any means. I just mean that we aren't all superheroes and getting everything accomplished is tough. I just try to focus on the important stuff - my family. There are never enough hours in the day to get everything I could possibly want to get done, so I’m not going to try. I’ll just do my very best. I also try not to make comparisons between myself and other moms because that’s not fair to me (or them) either. By being kind to myself, I’m a better mom.
What are some of your tricks for getting through the workweek?