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I'll start by apologizing because this is long, and a half-vent, half-asking for advice post.
On May 6th, I'm going back to work after a year of maternity leave, and I need the help, advice or tips from the other experienced WOTHMs here.
I am not extatic about going back to work, but it is what it is. DH and I decided that I will give it a year and we'll reevaluate the situation in May 2014.
Anyhow, there are several aspects to my anxiety about going back to work
-Spending all day away from DD, she will be in daycare from 7:30 to 4:30. ( She is already going part time, so we could get used to it, and loves her daycare)
-Juggling home chores, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and working 35h a week, DH helps some but works long hours, so most of this is my responsibility
-Getting myself and Mini ready on time by myself (DH leaves for work before 5AM), then rushing from work to go pick up Mini on time.
-Work related anxieties: will I be able to do my job again? I have this crazy fear that my mind has been completely erased, an that I won't be good at anything once I go back... I'm an HR counselor.

So far, here is what I've done or planned on doing to make my life easier.
-I've started cooking meals and putting in freezer for quick dinners during the week. I want to do more of this, but not sure what to prepare. We eat non-processed food most of the time and I have a picky meat eating husband and a picky Mini who doesn't eat a lot of meat! Also, I bring my lunch to work because the cafeteria is horrendous and pricey.
-Decluttered as much as possible to simplify cleaning when I'm back at work
-Spoke to my boss about the stress I'm under, and she told me she would meet with me on my first day to get me up to speed on what happened during the last year
-On my last week of maternity leave, I will do a full house cleaning, and a huge grocery shopping so I can put these two things off for as long as possible once I'm at work.

So, it's your turn, what are your best tips? Any advice for me? Anything else I could be doing to ease the transition?

Thank you ladies!
 

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I'm not a WOTHM but a few tips I'd like to share:
* meal plan: batch cook (soups, sauces, casseroles etc), cook once - eat twice, consider freezer cooking etc. If you have things that can be pulled and defrosted/reheated quickly, it will help you save yourself from spending $ by ordering last minute take out
* assign a specific day/night to doing one big chore thats important to you - bill paying, laundry, grocery shopping, QT with yourself to unwind, cleaning certain areas, another night of cleaning other area's etc. Focus on what's important to YOU.
* lay out clothes in advance. Some choose a week's worth of outfits in advance, some do a few days, some do it nightly before bed.

Congrats on deciding to go back to work :) Remember, everyone's idea of balance will differ from yours.
 
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I am a WOTHM. Here's what advice I can offer.

*Pack up stuff the night before. If daycare needs more diapers, or you need to bring a folder into work, whatever. Set it all up the night before and even put it in your car if you can.
*Take advantage of your lunch hour (if you get on). I use my to go to the grocery store, stop by the drug store, etc. Less stress on weekends.
*Make a big list of contact info to take with you at work for your child. Doctor's office, SSN, etc so that if something comes up you have all the info you need right there and you're not chasing it down.
*See what you can do for "home stuff" online or through email. I know you can't do everything that way, but I can order prescription refills online, we subscribe to Amazon Mom diaper subscription, I pay bills online. Not only can I do this stuff late at night, but I can also fire off a quick email while I'm at work.
*Not sure about where you fall on the clean house line, but pick your battles and relax your standards. For me I make sure dishes and laundry get done, but I don't stress about dusting or changing the sheets on my bed weekly.
 

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What Libby said. ETA. And telephus. Cross post
And wake up an hour earlier to start a load of laundry. Fold at night.

Get your clothes picked out for the week. I still do that.

Get a hairstyle that does not require fussing. I brush and spray.

Eliminate makeup. I go without.

Have lunches packed the night before

Have that husband of yours get the bath and bedtime done or do night chores like dinner or dishes or both. If he is asking you to return to work he needs to pick up the slack.

Forget having a super clean house

Shower at night. So the morning is easy. Believe me, I thought I couldn't start a day without a shower. Try it.

Have coffee pot ready the night before.

Have bags packed the night before.

No more TV time for you and hubby.

Cook a couple of meals during the weekend and have left overs. Better yet, cook all your meals once a week while hubby takes care of child.

Your not in this alone. He has a responsibility too.

:hugz: it's such a nerve wracking thing to return to work after a leave. Don't worry, your job memory will come back. The same thing happened to me. I forgot my job and I had nightmares about it.
 
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Whenever I increase/decrease my work hours, my partner and sit down to discuss what changes will need to be implemented at home. I absolutely refuse to work the equivalent of two+ full-time jobs (I don't expect him to either), and I'm amazed that so many women still accept this type of domestic servitude. My approach is to reallocate household responsibilities and utilize paid help/conveniences (housekeeping, lawn service, take out nights, etc) as needed. We also have family meetings every Sunday evening where we discuss priorities for the week, school pick-up/drop-off and practice schedules, meal planning. Weekly calendars, chore lists and menus are posted in the kitchen. Most household tasks are completed as a family so that they can be completed quickly including dinner clean up, folding laundry (usually done while watching television together), the pre-bedtime "10-minute tidy", and weekend speed cleaning. Our house is organized so that everyone knows where things belong and it's easier to keep clean.
 

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You have gotten some great advice. I went back to work after being a SAHM for five years. I was scared that I wouldn't be up with the changes in my field, but it all comes back to you. Be flexible with as much as you can at home and don't worry about the small things, everything will get done. Be sure to take a little time for yourself (I use to take a bubble bath every Saturday afternoon while DH watched the DD's). I found that DH was much more willing to help if I just let him do things his own way. Soon it didn't matter if he didn't fold the towels the same way I did, it meant that we had more family time.
 

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I am just learning this after 2 years back at work, but make a plan and stick to a plan to get out of the house and it's distractions with your family. It's so easy to start trying to get things done, "hang on sweetie, just let me get this laundry folded!" I feel like I was constantly telling my 2.5 DD to hang on and doing chores instead of really plugging in with her.

We took a swim class this winter, it got us out of the house and we had a great time, no distractions. Now that the weather is warmer, we are taking walks in the woods. It makes SUCH a difference to have 2 undistracted hours to just really connect without a buzzer or phone going off. Then, we sweat out the weekend chores while DD naps or can play happily by herself.

And remember, every working mom had a first day back and a transition period. Cut yourself some slack, and don't forget to take care of yourself (I'm still working on this!).
 

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This is a great post and all the info above is awesome! Really the only thing I can add is take a decluttering day before you go back. Also do you have a household binder? To keep all info in one spot and with you at all times. I love my household binder. I keep everything in there from bills, budget, gifts I bought for future holidays( like when the kids get invited to a b-day party), birthdays, future household needs (filet r's for furnace in 2 months, oil changes ect. You get the point. My binder helps keep everything in one spot and I can see where we stand on just about everything at a glance.
 

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Thank you everyone for your input!
I just realised that my initial post made it sound as if my DH doesn't lift a finger around the house, which isn't true... However, reality is that he can be gone from 4:30 AM to 7PM several days a week... so, while he does run the vaccum and take care of dishes when he is there... he isn't always there ;)

I also realised that I do a lot of these things already, like prepping coffee and food the night before. I'll really need to be disciplined and organised to keep my sanity.

It is a priority to spend QT with Mini once I start working again... I have a feeling that being organised will allow me to do so.

And, thinking about it, I am coming to terms with going back to work. Once I find my groove it will be easier I'm sure. And it will be nice to A) have adult conversations, B) have a salary coming in... not that DH can't provide for us, however, I feel "safer" with my own money coming in!

Anyways, thank you all again for your input!
 
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I always got myself completely ready in the mornings before getting my children up. That way I was able to concentrate on helping them get ready. It saved time in the long run.
There were many Saturdays when I would go to Walmart and the grocery store early, like 6:30 a.m. early. Since I've always been an early riser, it worked for me. My family would sleep in and by the time they got up I had things bought and put away for another week.
Menu planning also worked for me. I would base our meals on what was on sale, then write down everything we would have for a meal, then refer to it during the week so I would remember when to take things out of the freezer, etc.
You'll do fine once you get back into a routine.
 
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