Tips for a good working mum routine
Returning to work after you have had a baby? Then you’ll be looking for tips on how you can get yourself and the baby out of the door (and back again) in one piece. Here are 10 practical things you can do to get your working mum routine under control in no time.
Prepare the night before
You might not think it takes long in the morning to sort out everyone’s bags, clothes, shoes etc. but all of those ‘it only takes 5 minutes’ moments soon add up to one great big rushed morning.
Pack the baby’s bag with everything they need for their day. Double-check anything they might be out of at nursery such as nappies or wipes. Put the bag by the door or if there is nothing else last minute to add, put it in the car. Layout their clothes, nappy and anything else they need for the next morning.
Organise your own bag. Make your lunch if you take it. Layout your own clothes. Prioritising yourself is such an important thing. If you arrive at work looking and feeling like you just got out of bed, you aren’t giving yourself the best possible chance to have a good day.
If you have a teething baby who doesn’t sleep well, this step is even more important in case you have a bad night with them.
Check what is covered in your nursery fee
If you have the option of paying for some extras in your childcare costs – could these make your working mum routine easier? For example, if you have to pay a few pounds extra for food or nappies to be included, would this actually make your life easier? Remember you are probably paying a similar amount to supply these things yourself and they are adding extra time and hassle to your day.
When my eldest was at nursery, the rate already included an early drop off and breakfast. Once I started to make the effort for him to use this facility, we actually saved time by getting him there earlier. I’d leave his PJ’s on and he would have breakfast and get dressed there. Note that doing things like this does not make you a bad Mum!
This meant I got to work before I needed to, which then helped me start the day better and less stressed.
If you want to look and feel the part for your working day, there comes a point when you have to prioritise yourself. So what do I mean by that? Take the time to do your hair and makeup. Wear clothes that make you feel good. Go to bed early. Get up before everyone else. Do whatever you need to do to have the confidence in yourself to go and face the day.
All of these things don’t have to take hours. Look on Pinterest for some quick hairstyles. Watch some YouTube videos on how to quickly do your makeup.
Create a capsule wardrobe. This is where all of your clothes actually go together. You know they look good (and fit). If your pre-baby clothes are a bit snug, prioritise getting yourself some work clothes that are going to make you smile.
Do whatever you need to do to make yourself happy and confident.
I can hear you now “but I can’t afford new clothes or makeup?” – don’t worry I have it covered all in this post.
Batch cooking is high in my top tips for helping establish a working mum routine. You might think but I batch cook now and I don’t like eating the same thing over and over again. This is what I thought batch cooking was too.
That is until I discovered The Batch Lady. That’s right, someone has made a career from teaching us how to batch cook properly. I guarantee you that you won’t be bored by following her methods. Check out her website for loads of recipes or you can buy one of her books on Amazon.
Don’t overcomit yourself
I remember when my eldest was first at nursery (he was 5 months old) and one of the other Mums asked me “what clubs does your son do?”. I was a little taken aback as you can imagine. Why would a 5-month-old do a club? Then my mind started to race – should he be doing a club? What is he missing out on? Have I missed something? How would I fit that in (and afford to pay for it)?
It’s really tempting to try and cram all of those activities you did on Maternity Leave, into your days off. Be realistic with yourself. You now have work to throw into that limited amount of time too.
There are only 168 hours in a week. You can only do so much. Your baby is not missing out if they aren’t ‘busy’ all of the time. That one Mum you know might be filling their diary but you don’t have to.
Prioritise your time
Most mums with babies are nervous about how they are going to fit everything in when they go back to work. Sit down and write out your week.
How many hours are spent at work? How long do you need to commute each day? What time do you have left over for everything else?
Don’t be shocked if you only have your weekends free. Don’t forget about those household admin jobs like cleaning, washing, cooking and food shopping.
If you can afford it, look at what things you can outsource. Can you free up some time by hiring a cleaner? Could you get your shopping delivered? Have you considered a meal delivery service like Gusto? Think about what is more important – your free time with your family or cleaning?
If you can’t afford a cleaner, look at methods like TOMM. This breaks down your cleaning routine into small tasks each day, rather than one big all day cleaning session.
Set clear boundaries at work
Pre-baby you might have had the time to be the last one out of the office each night. It can come as a rude shock to you and your team when you go back to work that your days of working in that way are over.
You need to be clear to yourself and them that you have other priorities now and working until midnight each day is not one of them. Work smarter and not harder. If you are getting nothing done in your working day because you spend all day in meetings or replying to emails – it’s time to look at ways to improve your working routine.
If you feel that you are being forced into this working pattern, make sure you do something about it. Unless you are contracted to work in this way, nobody can force you to do it. If you have an unsupportive employer, perhaps it’s time to have a serious think about finding a new one.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is the only place to work. If you look hard enough there are other employers out there.
Make time for yourself in your working mum routine
It’s easy to be sucked into the whirlwind of home and work. Rinse, repeat. It’s like being stuck on a rollercoaster that never stops.
Make sure you make time to do something for yourself once a week which isn’t related to work or your baby. This might be lunch with a friend or doing an exercise class.
Remember that tip above about prioritising your time? Find space for this as a priority!
It takes a village to raise a child. Give yourself permission to accept help. That might mean paid help. Not everyone has a queue of free childcare options, and that’s ok.
If you have put your baby into a childcare setting, trust that they are doing a good job. Don’t sit in the carpark watching them ‘do it all wrong’. If you have concerns raise them with the manager. It won’t be perfect on day 1 and it will take some time for you both to settle into this new life.
Take your partner (and any backup contact names) to see the setting too. It’s important that you know they can do pickup/drop off if you can’t.
Give yourself a break
The last one of my tips for working mums with babies is to give yourself a break
You won’t discover a perfect routine on day 1 of being back at work. It takes someone 21 times to learn a new habit.
Instead of expecting each day to be perfect, take 5 minutes to think about what went well for you. Keep doing those things. Then take 5 minutes to think about what didn’t go so well. Think about how you can make these parts of your routine work.
Remember you didn’t learn your job (you know the one you studied for years and was trained to do) in a day. You won’t learn how to be a working mum in a day either.
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