Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Working Mom's Survival Guide

Being a mom is a full time job. That is the conclusion I have reached in my brief stint as a parent. It's a full time job, with no monetary pay, a sometimes unappreciative and always demanding boss, and no time off (unless your business partner - a.k.a. Daddy - is up for a stand-in). That's why the term "working mom" holds a lot of weight for me. Not only am I at work, busting butt for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, but I'm not off duty when I arrive home either.

By the way, I'm convinced that single mothers must be super heroes. BIG TIME respect for those of you tackling both the parenting and working worlds on your own!

If you've read some of my posts lamenting being a working mom, you know that this isn't a title I hold completely willingly. Again, I am incredibly lucky to have a job that I LOVE, but it's very hard for me to be apart from my daughter as much as I am. However, I've found a few things that make this challenge a bit easier and I wanted to share those things here:

1. Make a meal plan and stick to it. Nothing kills time after the work day like trying to figure out what you're going to make for dinner after you get home. We set a meal plan at the beginning of the week and many nights after Anna goes to bed I prepare the meal (or as much of it as I can) for the next day.

2. Embrace the crock pot. I have tons of AWESOME crock pot recipes that I'd be happy to share. It's great having dinner ready and waiting for you when you get home!

3. Housework waits until after bedtime. If your kid(s) are anything like Anna, you only have an hour and a half to two hours after the work day before bedtime. Do the dishes later. Build the towers and read the stories now. I doubt in 10 years any of us will look back and say, "Man, I wish I would have been better at doing the dishes when Junior was little."

4. Get everything ready for the next day before you go to bed. I pack my lunch, my gym bag, my purse, Anna's daycare bag and any other important items before I hit the hay. That both frees up time in the morning for any unforeseen catastrophes (Anna deciding that pants are so last year and taking 30 minutes to get dressed) and minimizes forgetting or losing items (my lunch or my sanity).

5. Keep a calendar. I have ours in the kitchen so it's prominent. We keep track of daycare parties, things I have going on, and things on Hubby's docket so that our schedules are coordinated ahead of time and we're not frantically trying to coordinate a last minute pickup for Anna because we forgot about a meeting someplace.

Those are the biggest things we do to keep this "working mom" sane! Got any other tips or tricks?

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