We all know that moms are multi-taskers, but going back to work after having a baby is a difficult task for even those who excel at doing it all. So how do you juggle all your roles and find some time for yourself?
Here are 13 life hacks and sanity savers for making parenting and working seem manageable when baby enters the picture:
- Set up a command station at home to store all of baby’s medical records, appointments and other important papers in one place.
- Sure there are dozens of calendar apps available, but there’s nothing like having everyone in your life see everything all in one place, right in your kitchen. Use a chalk or white board on a daily basis to make notes of feedings, diaper changes, schedulingissues, medicine taken and other reminders so you, sitter, partner, grandparents and other caregivers are all on the same page and can update each other.
- Prep at night for work the next day. Lay out your clothes, papers, lunch, etc. Mornings with baby can be hectic and you don’t want to forget anything.
- If you drop baby at daycare on your way to work, be sure to restock the diaper bag every night so you have a clean supply of all the essentials ready to grab and go in the morning.
- Once you’re dressed, throw on a robe or old, oversized shirt as a protective shield from baby messes before you head out the door. There’s no reason to forgo the last minute sticky hugs and sloppy kisses as long as you are prepared.
- Always have some spare clothing at the office in case you arrive and look down and realize your sweater is covered with sparkles from the latest kiddy art project or you have syrup-finger stains on your silk blouse.
- Instead of checking social media when you have down time at work, do your grocery shopping online. No reason to run out of toilet paper if you buy in bulk and have it delivered. Some sites will even send you a reminder when you’re about to run out orset up automatic reorders for staples like diapers and dishwashing soap.
- Build in a little transition time before going home. Make sure you get a little “me time” before leaving the office pressures behind and jumping right into dinner/bath/bedtime routines at home. Take a short walk, grab a cup of coffee or read a bookfor ten minutes. Also, make sure the sitter doesn’t rush out the door the minute you arrive so you have time to change your clothes and take a deep breath.
- Plan a week of meals so you can shop for everything at once. That way you’re never wondering, “What are we going to eat tonight?” Remove the stress by planning ahead.
- Make meals in batches and freeze extras for the days you don’t have time to cook. One large roast chicken can work in many ways. Chop fruit and veggies and bag in batches to save time later on. Make a big batch of rice or salad that will last for days.
- Your crockpot can be your savior. Throw in the good stuff before leaving for work and voila! When you return, dinner is hot and ready. Add a salad and you’re good to go. Much cheaper and healthier than take-out.
- Work at home? Give in to the fact that your baby will dictate your work schedule and be flexible. Try to get up before baby for some uninterrupted quiet time to send emails and plan your day. Use nap time to make phone calls. When baby is up, dedicateyour undivided attention to baby.
- With a toddler, set up a play corner in your office so baby can amuse him or herself while you work (at least for a short period of time). Rotate toys to keep them interesting or get child-sized versions of mommy’s work tools (play phone, toy computer, paper and washable markers) so the little one can be just like mom.