For the majority of my 16 years of parenting, I have been a stay at home mom. I never liked the label because when I introduced myself in conversations during cocktail parties and the like, the response would be, “Oh that’s nice,” implying I didn’t have two brain cells to rub together.
It also never really fit because nine of those sixteen years were spent working as a free lance writer from home.Somehow, however, that never really seemed to qualify me as a “working mom” since my particular career afforded me the luxury of working side by side with my three kids all day as they argued, threw tantrums, and rolled around in the house.
Let me tell you the impression they made while I conducted interviews with them in the background hollering. 🙂
Most days I could be found perched at the kitchen counter where I had the perfect view of the house, frontyard and back. I was also easily accessible for my kids, whether or not I was on deadline.
Now that my kids are older, (soon to be seven, nine, and ALMOST 16) it was the right time to venture back into the workforce. I’m currently working five days a week and I absolutely LOVE my new job. It has however given me a whole new respect for women who raise families while working.
While I’m still learning how to groove to a new rhythm my family and I are creating, we are all still wading through this transition. I’ve learned five things I want to share with you to make the transition back to the workforce a little less brutal. 🙂
When I was home, I had a routine and organized activities, chores, meals and a life in general around that routine. When I announced to my friends I was going back to work after more than a decade of being a stay at home, they congratulated me with tongue in cheek and began to sing to tune of Frozen, “Honey, let go of all your expectations for the first few months. Just let it go.”
At first I didn’t understand until the mental and emotional exhaustion set in, I found myself singing “Let it go,” as cobwebs appeared, laundry piled up, and kids clung to me in the evenings after work. Their advice was wise. I found I didn’t have the same energy and time to bake or clean (like OCD clean), work out, or really do much of anything but snuggle with my kids the first few weeks.
By letting go of my expectations I began to see a new routine and rhythm unfolding in our little Riggleman Crew.
Quality Child Care
Molly, our daycare provider is everything I’m not. She is the daycare provider I wished I had found 16 years ago. She is flexible, dependable, and most of all, cares for my children as if they are her own. I can call her any time of day and know how my kids are doing, at the same time it feels like I’m talking with a good friend who prays over my kids and directs them to scripture for their corresponding crime spree.
Finding quality childcare gave me the confidence I could actually be a working mom. Don’t leave this critical component until the last minute. Begin asking friends and family. Don’t be afraid to interview them, investigate the home or center where your child will be spending his day. Ask for references and go with your gut.
Sweet mom, home is the place were memories are made. It’s our place of comfort and yet, keeping it organized and clean can become your biggest battle. My advice?? Organize and delegate. Working families function best with a schedule and routine. This is particularly crucial if your family is accustomed to having you available to care for their needs without a moment’s notice.
Start with simple schedule like planning a few easy meals that can either be prepared in advance or easily made on those nights you are working. If your children are older, communicate your work schedule clearly with them so they will know your availability and can plan ahead for rides home from after school activities.
I now plan my meals ahead of time, I write meals on the calendar along with everyone’s schedules.
I also delegated age appropriate chores for the kids. This is where singing “Let it go” comes in handy. 🙂 My oldest may not fold and fluff laundry the way I do but it helps immensely she is getting the loads through the wash.
Ease into it with a Trial Run
A couple of weeks before I started work, I started my day earlier to get used to the schedule. I also did a mock trial for a week with my kids as if they were going to daycare and I was going to work. We got up, got ready, and headed to grandma’s. This helped my kids and I get used to the new routine and helped us work out unforeseen issues. For example, all my kids now set out their clothes the night before.
I set out breakfast items the night before too (I can NEVER find my keys, seriously!).
The first moments of your day are the most important. I don’t have the time to linger in the mornings like I used to and love the new First5 App by Proverbs 31 Ministries. Every morning, I grab my phone and dive into God’s word. It has been the most important tip I can give any working mom–get into His Word. It centers my focus on having a Christ like attitude which affects how I interact with my children and how I conduct myself at work. You can download the App at First5.org.
What tips do you have for moms getting ready to work for the first time? I would love to hear your tips.
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