If you’ve been following along in my new mommy journey, you likely know that my maternity leave ended last week, and I started back to work. If you missed that post, feel free to catch up on it here. For those of you that are up to date, lets dig right into it! Today I’m talking about my new morning and new working mommy routine. The goal of this post is to hopefully help any struggling working mom’s out there to find balance in their new normal.
Let me start by saying that a working mom’s routine is going to look different for everyone. What works for me, might not work for you. BUT, please know you are doing a GREAT job. I know you needed to hear that.
So.. my routine… any part of my morning routine is greatly affected by my nighttime routine from each night before. So let’s start there! Every night we follow the same routine with our son, Archer. Once he gets home from daycare, we give him a bath, he eats dinner, we have a little play time, we read books as a family, and he goes to sleep (and we cross our fingers that he stays asleep haha!)
Once he’s down for the night, that is our time to prep for the next day. I make sure we have everything together for daycare. So, if he needs more dipes, wipes, clothes, bed sheets, etc. I make sure to take care of that the night before so I’m not scrambling the next morning, forgetting things as we’re out the door. I wash all of his bottles, and update his reusable bottle labels to reflect the next days date/time, and I lay out his breakfast utensils and food on the table. The last thing I do at night to prepare for the next day is make a list. I create a list of things that HAVE to get done. If I have to mail something, pay a bill, do laundry, pick up groceries, get my hair done, etc. I make a list! If it’s on the list, it WILL get done. If it’s not on the list, who knows if I’ll even remember I needed to do it.
Here’s the best tip I can give you to set you up for success the next morning though… go to bed at a reasonable time! For me, that means I want to be in bed and asleep by 9pm. The earlier, the better. I am a human that requires a full 8+ hours of sleep to function at my best the next day. My husband lives off of like 4+ hours a night, and I just can’t even imagine that life.
Here’s where it gets good though: the morning routine! The first thing I do in the morning is get out of bed and make myself some breakfast. I do not (I repeat.. DO NOT) get on my phone and check social media and my email first thing in the morning (try it.. I promise you won’t regret it)! After I eat, I workout for a half hour to an hour, and then shower and get ready for the day. I NEED to have “me” time, or I will go crazy in the chaos. So, this is my “me” time.
Once my person is ready, I head downstairs and start making Archer’s bottles for the day while I wait for my coffee to brew, and the dogs chow down on their breakfast. Honestly, I would make his bottles the night before, but they’re only good for 24 hours, so I just do it in the morning. Then, once everything is prepared, I start working, and do that until Archer wakes up!
Once he’s up, I let him hangout for about 10 minutes in his crib by himself (or until he gets fussy), and then head upstairs and change his dipe, and feed him his bottle. Once he’s done with that, we head downstairs together, and I already have laying out from the night before, his breakfast. He eats, we give him all of his different daily medicines, and change his clothes for the day and dipe, and then head out the door!
In the evening while I’m wrapping up at work and starting dinner, my husband picks up Archer from daycare. As soon as they walk in the door (after hugs and kisses of course), we give the little nugget a bath to get all of his daycare germs washed away. I have this all prepped so that when they walk in, all we have to do is undress him and go for it. For us, this looks like a little infant tub in the kitchen sink, with a heater set up, and his towel in the dryer. Spoiled? Yes, yes he is.
After bath time, we head upstairs with the bottle we prepared, put on a dipe and lotion, and he eats. Then we feed him some solids. Depending on his mood (AKA how exhausted he is from the day), we will either play on the floor some, or head right into the rest of his nighttime routine, which includes reading books as a family on the recliner in his room, putting on his pajamas, a sleep sack, and his Owlet Sock, him and daddy say goodnight to the room and his things, and then Archer and I cuddle a little bit before I lay him down.
Something I want to point out here – communication and tag-teaming is key. This is going to look different for everyone, but you have to do this together, mom and dad, so that neither of you get burnt out or feel resentful. You both created this child, and therefor you are both equally responsible for his or her well-being. We are no longer in a world where mom’s are the sole caretakers. So men… man up! Help your lady out.
To give you an idea of our schedule: Steven wakes up around 2:30-3am; I wake up around 4-5am; Archer wakes up around 7-8am; I drop Archer at school around 9am; Steven picks Archer up around 4-5pm; and Archer’s in bed around 7:30pm. It sounds like a lot. And it is! BUT.. I think a routine is super important. Archer is more likely to be better rested knowing what lies ahead in his day, so that he’s ready to rise and shine the next day. And just as important – Steven and I get some time to ourselves in the evening. With Archer in bed by 7:30pm, we have time to plan the next day, tidy up, reconnect with each other, and even relax a little bit.
We don’t get a lot of time with Archer during the week, sadly. But, instead of focusing on that, I try to remind myself that the quality of time we are spending with him can be just as important as the quantity of time. This is why we disconnect from electronics when Archer is with us, so that we can be actively engaged.
As for other house chores? Well, I like to do something I call delegating! HA! Towards the end of my pregnancy when I was on bedrest we decided to budget for a cleaning service. So, every other week we have cleaning ladies come and clean our house. This greatly eliminates stress for me, and also gives me so much time back to spend with my family! Of course, we have dogs, and they shed like crazy, so there is some light housekeeping in between, but it’s nothing compared to life before a cleaning service.
As for groceries – I like to do a little something called ordering online, and picking up in the drive thru! It’s the easiest thing in the world, and I can’t imagine life without it anymore. It saves so much time in the grocery store, and it makes life with a baby that much easier. Also, it’s free! So, win-win! I also make lists during the week (lots and lots of lists) of things I run out of or need to order, and I just add that to my grocery list.
For meal planning, I like to go through Pinterest or my recipe cards and create a menu for the week so that I can place my grocery order all at one time and save trips to the store. I pick 3-4 meals for the week, because we are a family that eats leftovers, and I write it out on the chalkboard in our “command center” at home. That way I already know what day we are eating what, and it requires zero thinking on my part during the week. I’m not sure if you know.. but I do NOT like cooking! So, anything to make that go quicker, and I’m all about it.
For baby products, I like to do Target’s order online for pick-up in the store. I do this when they have deals going on. For instance, yesterday they had a deal where you buy $100 worth of baby essentials, and you get a $20 gift card, so long as you pick it up in store. Easy peasy! You go to guest services and they have your order waiting for you, and then your gift card is delivered directly to your phone or email. That’s when I stock up on formula. We have a stock of diapers, otherwise I’d be stocking up on them too!
Lastly, less social media. I know… WHAT?! But for real. Do you know how much time you probably waste each day scrolling endlessly to learn what your buddy ate for dinner last night? It’s mind numbing. You could instead be spending that time relaxing, or preparing for the next day. I’ve been practicing less social media for some time now and I’m so much better for it! The only reason I even still have Instagram and Facebook is because I own a business. BUT, something I do take advantage of are the various tools they have for business owners where you can PLAN AHEAD for social media! Meaning, I take a chunk of time, on a single day, and write out my social media posts for the week. They automatically post for me, and I don’t have to take a single second to worry about it when I could be doing much more productive things. I also never post in real time. This makes being present with my family much easier, and again, focuses on quality over quantity. Lastly, I highly encourage you to turn OFF your notifications. I haven’t had my social media notifications on for two years now, and it’s like a breath of fresh air. I dare you to try it!
Basically, our new routine is made easier by planning ahead. If you can plan it in advance, you should. We even have things like our dog food on a bi-weekly automatic ordering system via Chewy. Every two weeks, their food is delivered right to our front door. We use Amazon Prime for items like baby Dreft detergent. It’s cheaper and it can be delivered in a single day. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of things that are there to make your life easier?