I remember dreading going back to work after having Avalon, I was working part-time (every other day during the school week) — but had no idea how I would balance raising two kids + my job as a teacher. Fast forward to now, I am teaching, full-time, with a six + three year old, and a baby girl who turns six months this weekend. And making it work. It’s funny because I feel like as a mother, you always are certain that you are at the highest point of your crazy + it is impossible to handle one little bit more, but then you add another kid or another job or whatever, and of course, you do. And then you look back at before + laugh that you ever thought you had a lot going on then.
I thought I would share some tips that have helped me since going back to work this time around, of course I am no expert at all but through trial + (lots of) error have learned some shortcuts to making life a little bit easier.
A solid routine. I feel like this is SO IMPORTANT with kids in general, we literally would not survive during the school week without a good routine + we all really rely on it. I will also be the first to admit that we are always open to switching things around though, especially as the girls grow and change — we recently added a short show before the big girls go to bed at night to help them unwind and it has made the biggest difference and way less stress in getting them to fall asleep.
Accept help. It is important to me to be a hands on mom and I really want to do all the things, but I also have learned along the way that I physically cannot do all the things. My husband + I divide almost everything up, pretty much year-round, but especially during the school months when I am working. We are lucky to have a lot of family nearby, so if someone offers help or wants to take one of the girls to do something, we make it happen. They get excited to have a change of scenery and it gives us a chance to have one-on-one time with one of the other kids.
Treat yourself. Mornings can get pretty chaotic, my husband leaves for work super early (before the rest of us are even awake) so it’s just me getting all four of us girls ready. We survive, some days it’s prettier than others 😉 — but regardless of the morning, I always go through the drive-through and get myself an iced coffee on the way to work to reward myself afterwards. I look forward to it and it’s a few minutes of me time I get each day.
Take off for the special things. I will never forget, when Waverly was just a few months old + I was back to work, an older woman told me to never feel bad about taking off for the things I wanted to be at with her, and it has stuck with me all these years later. Anytime the girls have a class party, a doctor’s appointment I couldn’t make late enough in the day, or even just a lunch at school — I take the hour (or what I need) off. I feel like I still stay connected with their teachers and know their little friends in class, which is really important for me — and I won’t ever apologize for making my family a priority above my work.
Laundry everyday. I do a load of laundry a day during the summer too, but this is one chore I MUST keep up with every day or we will be swimming in clothes. I wake up early to put a load in each morning, take five minutes to switch it over when I get home in the afternoons, and then fold/put away when the girls are watching a show each night. I don’t know if it’s because we have girls, but the laundry is never, ever ending over here.
Making the most out of your time. The one thing we always struggle with is having enough time on the weekends, to do everything we want to do just for fun, and everything we need to do to make the week happen (like cleaning and grocery shopping). A couple of months ago we started doing dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant every Friday night, it’s right next door to Trader Joe’s so we do our grocery shopping afterwards. It has been the best thing ever — we knock out shopping after margaritas (which happens to be so much more fun!), it’s always empty in the store which makes it way easier, and it is such a fun way to kick off the weekend.
Pick out the positives. If you have been following here for a while you know that I have done it all (full-time, part-time, work from home, and then summers off), so I have experienced all the situations well-enough to know that no one is perfect and there are challenges and wonderful things within them all. I used to really struggle with being a working mom when Waverly was little, and then again after I had Avalon, thinking that there was so much I was missing out on and wishing that I was in a different situation. And then I was, and I quickly realized that the grass is not always greener. I really believe that you have to find what works best for you + your family, own it, and find the positive in it. Of course there are days that I wish I was able to be home during the school year more, but I really have made an effort to focus on what there is to be thankful for — my holidays, summers off + good hours, that I am able to provide for my girls and give them a good life, and not for nothing, that I am able to have some time off “momm-ing” while I am at school to be able to recharge and focus on them when I am home. Whatever your situation is, find your happiness in it. The older I get, the more I realize that there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
Happiest weekend, friends! XO