Whether you’re already a working mum, expecting a baby or planning to get pregnant you’ll probably find the following points to be relevant to you. For myself personally it was a case of “if I only I had this information before I had my first baby”. But like most in life you live and learn and hopefully this information makes your life clearer.
#1 Choose a childcare centre/s
It probably sounds crazy but best to do this when you find out your pregnant (or at the 12 week mark). That is how huge the waiting lists are at the more reputable centers.
Even if you don’t expect to go back to work for a while, circumstances do change and you may not even get a call till your bub is nearly two anyway. You can always decline the offer if you feel the time isn’t right (just keep in mind that you may not get a second offer from them at a later date when you are ready).
Research the centers in your area, talk to the director, ask for a tour. Talk to other mothers in your area of their child care centre experiences, find out which are the best ones.
Also, some centers may give preference to mothers that are definitely going back to work or to single mothers. It doesn’t hurt to state your case and let the director know of your circumstances.
#2 Decide if you definitely plan to come back to your current employer post maternity leave
Are you happy with your current job? Will it be flexible to your needs once you finish maternity leave? These are questions you need to ponder before you have to return to work.You may already have another career choice in mind, so best to research what you need to do to get into that career before you start maternity leave. So if you need to add to your skill set or do a course to qualify you for that career best to do it before bub arrives (like in the evenings or on weekends, a lot of courses you can do online from home). Believe me, there will be very little time to do so after the baby arrives.
If you’re not sure, talk to someone you know and/or trust or even enlist the help of a career coach.
#3 Plan, Plan, Plan
For those of you who are already working mums, I’m sure would know by now how important planning ahead is.
Weekly or monthly meal plans will save you so much time and angst in deciding what to cook for dinner.
Prepare what clothes you and your children will wear for the next day, the night before.
Online there are so many sites that help with planning when you’re a mum. One that I’ve discovered via a search engine is a fantastic Australian website www.planningwithkids.com. It has sample meal plans, all sorts of family friendly recipes, shopping list ideas for the fridge, pantry etc and the list goes on. Well worth a look!
#4 Family Planner Calendar
These are great to keep track of what every member of the family has coming. I got mine from Kikki K but you could design your own and print it out. Basically, down one side of the page your have the days of the month and across the top you have each family members name in its own column. I found it a great tool to clear my head and not be stressed about forgetting any important events.
#5 Write Lists
Like a shopping list is great for not forgetting any important items while at the supermarket, keeping a checklist of your daily chores is too. It can also give you a sense of satisfaction as you cross off what you’ve completed one by one.
#6 Home Help
If you can budget it, hire a cleaner. Doesn’t have to be every week, fortnightly or monthly would work wonders.There’s nothing like coming home to a clean house after a hard day at work.
Keep an area (preferably near the front door) to store things like school bags, handbags, shoes, jackets, keys etc that every member of the household needs before walking out the door. I use a wall unit purchased from Ikea that has 6 compartments each with a basket/tub inserted into it that is dedicated to every member of my family. The 2 extra baskets I use for extras and/or for shoving things in when I need to tidy up the house in a hurry!
#8 Morning Routine
Set your alarm to wake you up with enough time to get yourself ready (ie showered, dressed etc) before your kids wake up. Then you can concentrate on their morning routine before you all leave the house.
Or you can devise a plan together with your other half where you both share the morning routine responsibility.
If you are the only one available to carry out the morning routine or have children that wake up really early, then I suggest perhaps having your shower the night before leaving as little as possible to get yourself ready in the morning and also, if possible, get your children doing activities like drawing, playing with toys, eating breakfast (or even watching TV.) while you finish getting ready.
Also pack school lunches the night before.
#9 Me Time
Make sure you do the things you enjoy at least once a month like a facial, lunch with friends, dinner with your other half, anything really!
#10 Ask for help if you need to
Do you have supportive family members that live nearby? A spouse or partner that can chip in? Friendly and trustworthy neighbors? Other friendly and trustworthy school or day care mums? Maybe they can help by babysitting, school pick up/drop offs, even cooking a meal.
Hopefully the above tips shed some light on making your life that little bit easier or maybe you’ve already tried them. If you have any other tips then please share them in the comments below.
Till next time