Some of the smartest and most successful women I know did something that most other women would gawk over. They took time off from their careers to stay home with their babies. When my kids were little and finances got tight, I contemplated going back to work and each time a mentor or another seasoned mom would remind me of the reasons why I put my career on hold in the first place:

You can start a career anytime but you don’t have all the time in the world to raise kids. Your kids are only little once.  

And now that my kids are mostly school age, it’s time to go back to work and life around the Riggleman homestead has been,  shall we say insane. Two days before my kids started school, I started a new job, working part-time in the evenings at Nebraska TV as a Production Assistant. This means I’m a mom and writer by day and a camera chick at night, hardly leaving anytime real down time.  But I’ve learned a few tips along the way and thought I would pass them on to you, keep in mind to pray your way through your first fews months of transitioning! 

1. Assess Thyself

Whether you’ve been home two or ten years, it’s going to be a big transition to head back to work–not only for your family but also for you.  Take the time to know what it is you are looking for in a job.  What is most important to you: responsibilities, flexibility, income or experience? 

Because I still have one child in preschool and all the daycares had waiting lists, I needed to find a job that not only got my feet wet but also had flexibility.

My new career path allows room for growth and experience into the world of news and television while still allowing me to be home during the day to be with Tori-Grace, do the school runs, and prep supper. 

2. Get Organized

Ahhh yes, I am so NOT organized. I prefer to wake up in the mornings and let the day take me away. However as a working mom, I don’t have all day to figure out what to do for supper. Begin by using an organziational system that works for you. 

Each Sunday night, I review everyone’s schedules and create a visual calendar for Riggleman Crew to see in the kitchen. On this 7 day schedule, I add the details like “Elijah needs to wear a navy polo on Tuesday for the Veteran’s Day Program.” 

This list also includes what will be made for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.  

This helps my husband prep breakfast and make lunches and helps me prep supper or other tasks.  If you’re a paper girl, you can check out Jenny Sulpizio’s “Get Organized” pack of printables she created to go with the launch of her new book, Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe

Or you can use Apps like CoziFamily (more on Apps tomorrow!). 

3.  Set Your Own Boundaries

No one will ever look at you in a meeting and say, “Oh my gosh–Heather–it’s 3:15, don’t you need to pick up your kids?”  Instead, you will need to set your own boundaries at work, making it clear you will need to leave at certain times  but also be clear on that you will go above the expectations for your job.  Work smartly and efficiently.  Make it clear what is okay and not okay with your boss and co-workers. For example, you will not respond to emails, phone calls or text messages before 8 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. 

4. Be a focused mom

When you pick child up from daycare or just arrived home–squash the urge to check the mail,  thumb through your phone,  and put the running to-do list in your head on hold.  Focus on your kids, ask about their day and really listen to what it is they are saying. This shows your kids they are important to you and prevents meltdowns later from hearing, “Just a minute, oh that’s nice.” And helps you re-connect with your kids. 

5.  Be Flexible

I’ve asked numerous times for tips on my Facebook Page about tips to balance the work mom–home life thing. Time and again experienced working moms (and dads) chimed in to BE Flexible.  You won’t have the work thing down to a science all at once. It make take 3 to 4 months before a real routine is established and you feel like you can actually do the whole working mom scene. 

These 5 tips should make your transition to working life a little easier. Stay tuned tomorrow for some of the best apps I’ve found to get organized and if you have any tips on balancing work and home–PLEASE SHARE!!

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