Well you guys, I’m officially back to work full time. Today was my first day back in 13 glorious months home, 11 of which were with my little man. This past year of Maternity Leave has gone by so so fast! Every single cliché about new motherhood flying by is so true. I don’t know where the time went!
It’s only been one day and already I have a list of advice for my future self about how to stay (aka GET) organized enough to have my day run smoothly. Particularly when Chris is working or in school away from home and I’m solo parenting a baby and a puppy, while trying to work full time and still maintain my sanity and somewhat of a social life. Mostly my goal in life right now is not to burn out, and to find a routine that is manageable and realistic. There are a few things that I know I need to force myself to do in order to make this happen, and unfortunately it doesn’t include watching Teen Mom and the Bachelor all night after work. Essentially these are things that I know make a huge difference in my ability to get through the week, but even so are things I have to force myself to actually do.
1. Dedicate time to meal prep on the weekend. This means making a meal plan, going grocery shopping and chopping and pre-making as much as I possibly can on Sundays so that I don’t need to think about what to make and eat all week. Not only does this save me time overall, but it also helps make sure I eat healthy since healthy options are easily accessible and already prepared. At the moment, I’m following an 8 week meal plan designed by Tone It Up, with some modifications. Once the 8 week plan is over, I’m hoping to follow a similar structure with our own healthy family favorites.
2. Pack everything the night before! The last thing I usually want to do after a day of work, dinner and getting Max to bed is make my lunch and snacks and pack my work bag and the diaper bag but it makes such a huge difference! It literally takes 10 minutes, but it’s something I always put off until the morning, at which point I’m running around like a crazy person trying to find everything we need to get out the door. I only get a half hour for lunch and spend that time rushing home to take Penny for a walk so having my lunch made means I’ll actually have time to eat! It also means I don’t get stuck buying my lunch from the cafeteria, which also saves me money (another of my resolutions!). It’s an extra bonus if I can get my breakfast made the night before too, especially if it’s something both me and Max can enjoy like protein pancakes, eggs or smoothies.
3. Wake up the FIRST time my alarm goes off. This was a total fail this morning. Max was up a few times overnight so I justified getting a bit of extra sleep. Well, 45 minutes after my first alarm went off, I finally dragged my butt out of bed and didn’t have time to wash my hair. I’ve contemplated showering at night before bed but that just isn’t how I roll and my hair would be ridiculously unmanageable the next morning.
4. Keep a well-stocked desk / office space. This means keeping everything I need daily at my desk and not bringing it home every night so that I can’t forget it the next day. Some of my desk essentials include a water bottle, a coffee mug with Keurig pods and tea bags, trail mix, gym shoes, gym clothes (ok these I bring home, but keeping a few sets helps buffer my forgetfulness), a picture of my family, and a cell phone charger. A bonus item would be head phones for the gym – I need to get a second pair for my desk! Having the gym in my building makes it much easier to get there every day after work.
What I need to keep telling myself for extra motivation to do these things is that the more organized and time efficient I am, the more time I have to spend with Max! It was a sad realization that in the span of a week, he spends more hours at daycare then he does awake at home with me. Getting prepared for my day the night before means that I get 20 minutes to play with Max in the mornings instead of running around. It means spending less time cooking after work and more time hanging out with him before bed. It’s definitely not going to be easy, and until I get used to it, it will probably feel like I’ve run a marathon at the end of each day but soon enough it’ll be a new routine that will benefit the whole family.
It takes 21 days to create a habit…1 down, 20 to go!