Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Working Mom Series | Getting Out the Door in the Morning With a Baby

Thank you all for joining me yesterday for the first installment of my Working Mom Series!  Click here to catch up from yesterday, where I discussed preparing to go back to work after baby. 

Once you've done all the preparing you can do, the first test is that difficult return to work…bright and early. 

A few things you need to know about me: I'm a planner {if you haven't picked up on that already}, and I'm a firm believer in doing everything you can the night before to limit chaos in the morning. So if that's not your thing, you might want to run…now! 

Here are my tips for getting out the door in the mornings now that we have a tiny human:

1. Create an understanding.
Just like in yesterday's post, you need to create an understanding with your spouse/significant other. But this time, the understanding is about who will do what with the baby in the morning. What works for us is that I get up at 5 a.m., eat breakfast, shower and get completely ready {save for wearing clothes; I wear a robe}. Then, I'll get Walker up, change him and feed him. During that time, Brandon is getting ready himself. After Walker has eaten and burped, Brandon will take him while I put my clothes on and get other things ready to leave. He'll then get Walker in the car while I load the car. Which leads me to…

2. Pack everything the night before. 
Like I said, I'm a firm believer in doing as much as you can the night before. Of course I realize there will be some things you can't do the night before, such as put the ice pack in your cooler for the pumped breast milk you'll make the next day. {Obviously.} But think about things you can do the night before and just bite the bullet and do it! 

Once I get home from work with Walker, I'll immediately put the milk I've pumped that day into new bottles. Sometimes I'll pump enough for his two bottles at day care the next day; most days I won't. So, I'll fill them up as far as that pumped milk will take me and then put them in the carrying case in the refrigerator. Then, once he's gone to bed and before I do, I'll pump once more to top the bottles off. If even that doesn't fill them, I'll defrost some milk and finish the bottles before I go to bed. It's so helpful to just grab the carrying case and go in the mornings.

Brandon and I both work in a culture where most people bring their lunch each day. While I have access to a microwave and can heat up leftovers if I want to, Brandon doesn't - so it's either a sandwich or a wrap for him each day. Once Walker has gone to bed, I'll pack our lunches for the next day. Of course I don't do this if Brandon is traveling, or if I have a work lunch the next day. But, just like with Walker's bottles, it's so nice to just grab and go in the mornings, whether it's leftover spaghetti or a PB&J. 

3. Lay out clothes for the week. 
This might be getting a little anal retentive, but on Sunday nights, I lay out both Walker and my clothes for the week. Like with the bottles and lunches, it makes it much easier in the mornings if I know what we're both wearing and can just take it off the hanger as opposed to wasting 10 precious minutes deciding what we'll wear. 

While Brandon is watching the baby, I'll take my phone into my closet on Sunday nights, look at my weather app and my Outlook calendar and decide what I need to wear based on those things. If I have an important meeting on Wednesday, I'll lay out a nicer outfit than the white jeans I can pull off on Fridays. I'll then do the same thing in Walker's room, of course noting that he has physical therapy one day a week, so his outfit needs to be more comfy then, etc. 

4. Make sure your car always has gas. 
Because I drive a little further to work {and drive around for my job, as well}, I usually go through about one tank of gas a week. Therefore, I'll make sure that I fill up on the weekends for the week. There's nothing worse than running a little behind in the morning and turning on your car to find the low-fuel light on. {Not speaking from experience there…ha!} Take the five minutes on a Saturday to fill your car up for the week to ensure you're prepared. I like to fill up at my local grocery store's fuel center because it's a one-stop-shop. Plus, the more I spend at the grocery store, the more cents I get off a gallon of gas at their pump. It's a win-win. 

5. Give yourself grace. 
Those first few days are going to be a challenge. Your husband will forget to put socks on the baby. You'll leave your cell phone next to the bed. You'll check the bottle bag five times to ensure you've given your child enough milk. {Trust me…} 

So give yourself - and your husband - grace. Remember that you've never before gotten yourself, your husband and a baby out the door in the mornings to go to work…and at that early hour, too. Don't beat yourself up when you forget a burp rag, or have to stop to fill the tank up with gas on your way to day care, or if you eat a grilled cheese for dinner that night because you're running a gauntlet between the hours of 5-8 p.m. It happens. 

Do you have any tips on how to get out the door in the morning with a baby?

Be sure to tune in tomorrow. I'll be discussing the always-awkward topic of pumping at work! 

See you then.

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