Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A tricky balancing act...

Returning to work and wearing the hat of a "working mom" has been much more of a challenge than I expected. When you are home with the baby, there are so many hours in the day for everything - cuddling with the babe, doing dishes, playing with the babe, doing laundry, kissing on the babe, vacuuming, singing to the babe, grocery shopping, etc., etc., etc. (whether I *did* those chores when I was at home is a TOTALLY different question!) :)

But when you're working... those hours... practically disappear. My "waking" hours at home number about 5-6. In this time I need to shower, dress and get ready for work. Pack my lunch, pack my pump, and squeeze in an early morning breakfast for Andrew. (Luckily I don't have to pack Andrew up yet... but I'll be adding that to my list soon too!) In the evening I need to make dinner, feed Andrew, and make time for my husband. All of that AND get to bed at at decent hour since Andrew will inevitably be needing a "midnight snack" somewhere around 3 a.m.

WHEN am I supposed to shop, clean, cook, etc?!?!? Oh wait... and get some ME time. The past three weeks have been QUITE an adjustment for me. Things I'm learning...
- Dinner can wait. With only about an hour and half of Andrew's time when I get home, before he goes to sleep... dinner... is NOT a priority.
- Shop at odd times. Nap time on Sunday works well for grocery shopping. As does errands/shopping during my work lunch hour. I'm even considering hitting the grocery store one day this week after Andrew goes to sleep.
- Stay up later on occasion. The lack of sleep one night may suck, but catching up/spending time with the husband is well worth it.
- Make use of the time on BART. The days of begging for a seat are over. Now I treasure the quiet. Its practically the only time in my week where no one - not Andrew, not Brandyn, not work is asking something of me.
- Mornings can be productive. I am not a morning person. I've been known to roll out of bed about 30 min before I leave the house. But lately I've been getting up 2 hours before I need to leave. The quiet mornings with Andrew still sleeping are great for dishes, bill paying, or just plain old relaxing!

PLEASE share any other balancing act techniques!!


Danae said...

No tricks here...our fridge is totally empty right now! (Too bad it hasn't helped with weight loss. Perhaps we shouldn't have had chips for dinner?)

I will say, it gets easier. Sophie still wakes up a minimum of once per night and it just seems like the routine. (Though this past Fri, Sat, and Sun she was up every 3 hours and I was in not happy...grrr!)

Amber said...

And this is what really freaks me out about becoming a mom.....

The only tips I can give are cooking. I'm so damn tired when I get home, the last thing I want to do is cook. So, we've gotten pretty good at the last minute meals:
1) The crockpot is your friend
2) Make things that can be used as leftovers throughout the week; ie casseroles, enchiladas (our fave), soups, etc. All you gotta do is reheat!
3)For dishes that need defrosting, pull it out in the morning. That way, when you get home, it's ready to cook. Or, put the meat in a ziplock bag, fill the sink with warm water and submerge. Instant defrost!
4) Pre-cut veggies. Every Sunday, we slice up carrots, celery, radishes, onions, etc. Then when we need them for a recipe - voila! It's already done.

I'm not a mom yet, but I'm pretty sure that skipping dinner because there's no time is BAD! =0) Hang in there! You'll get used to your new schedule soon!

SmartAssMom said...

1) Utilize online and delivery services!
-safeway.com...I haven't set foot in a grocery store since they started delivering in my area - and there are always free delivery coupons. Haven't paid for delivery once. I place my order online while at work (on my lunch of course, cough cough).
-diapers.com - free overnight delivery on orders over $50, and that's not hard to do.
-drugstore.com - it's worth the minimal shipping charge to avoid Target (and spending way too much $)
2) Dinners - plan for leftovers twice a week..it not only saves money, but saves time. Plan meals during the week that take minimal time. 30 minute meals, Cooking LIght has lots of 20 minute recipes, Kraft's Food and Family has even more 30 min, 20 min or less recipes. Utilize semi-homemade stuff as often as possible. Pre-cut and washed veggies, etc. May cost a litle more, but saves a lot of time.
3) Pack everything the night before if you're rushed in the morning.
4) Take a chunk of time (often during a nap) on Sunday to prep for the week. I pre-make all of Sabrina's lunches on Sunday.
5) Pack your lunch the night before if you can.

That's just a bit for now, but it does get easier when they are eating with you at the table...it saves time in that respect.

And most important - helpful, contributing 50%, husband! And knowing you don't have to do it all...and everyone will be fine.

Harris said...

Sounds like you are getting it down. It gets easier, but then again it doesn't. I've decided that its okay that my house is a mess. I'd rather play with the girls than make sure all the dishes are done each night. It stresses me out to look at it, but its better to spend time with them.

Shopping after bedtime is a routine in our house. Also, when Andrew gets older, you might like shopping with him - good together time while also being productive. We try to do a mix of both.

I also suggest picking one night of the week for "me" time. And just make it happen. Even if you just go for a walk or a cup of coffee...get out and enjoy the quiet!

janessa said...

For grocery shopping: I either take J after picking her up from day care or go after she goes to bed. I used to try to go on the weekends, but I feel like that cuts into family time.

Meal planning is a must! We do dinner once J's down for bed. It helps tremendously, and allows me to roll around on the floor with her for a bit.

I gave up on a clean house long ago. I do what's needed to get the house sanitary and safe, but clutter I could care less about.

Lay out your clothes for the next day the night before. Not thinking in the morning helps tremendously! Actually, lay out your clothes, your pump supplies, your lunch... basically make morning your grab and go! (I do unload the dishwasher in the morning, otherwise I get flustered trying to cook that night...)

In the end, you'll figure out what works for you, ways to include Andrew in some necessary tasks, and ways to take advantage of his early bedtime.