In 5 weeks I'll be going back to work, after a year's maternity leave (thank you Canadian taxes!). My then 11 month old daughter will join her 5 year old brother at their sitter's place (DS there for before and after school only). DH works full-time as well. I'll be pumping, at least for the first few months.
My transition to work with DS was very gradual. I worked 2 days/week for 2 months then went to 4 days per week for the rest of that year. This time I'm going back full-time.
Knowing we'll have to get into a new routine of making lunches (for all but DH), preparing pumped bottles/ cleaning pump parts, drop-offs, pick-ups, supper, bedtime, etc all while I'm still awake a couple times per night bf my DD... I'm wondering what you think is most important for me to try to do in advance, with the time I have remaining.
Relax and enjoy every minute with DD? Sleep, sleep and more sleep? Stock the freezer? Try to clean up and organize/declutter esp in kitchen and our clothes closets? Make lists of lunch ideas? Learn to mealplan and grocery shop once/week? All of the above?
Thanks in advance!
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Married to overworked DH since 2003, happily mama to DD (01/09) and DS (4/12)
I think I'd work on strategizing a routine for getting that all done in the morning. For example, thinking of which things can be done the night before and where your 'launch pad' is going to be to make sure it all goes out. Then I'd have a routine for coming in the door and making sure everything is getting washed and ready again. I think you'll also need a routine for menu planning and shopping and for delegating those tasks that you can to another (DP).
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I'm preparing for Maternity Leave #3, I took the full year both times with my last 2 DSs and faced similar questions/reservations about how to manage returning to work.
The thing I found the work the best for my family? Take it day by day. Planning to 'do this' or have 'that evening routine' just flew out the window once I was actually back to work full time. With DS1, evenings were easy and fun, I found I ended up having much more energy then I thought I was going to have and was able to accomplish much more then I had 'planned'. So much so that I actually was able to paint my nails once in a while...LOL
After returning to work when DS2 was 12 months, things are completely different. DS2 is VERY clingy and cranky when I get home at night, so cooking supper is a challenge. Both boys have dropped a nap (DS1 doesn't anymore, and DS2 is down to one), so they are tired and testy from the time I get home to bedtime lately. Plus there are now two little guys to clean up after, bathe, cuddle and chat with, so everything takes just a little longer. However, mornings are a blast. We just breeze through our morning routine, so lunches and picking outfits and such are done in the mornings since it now works better for us. I never would have thought things would work better this way for us when I was still on mat leave with DS2. I returned to work trying to get everything done at night, and it was making all of us cranky and tired. Who knows how long this will last - things might settle down quite a bit in the evenings when the boys get used to their new nap/ no nap schedules. If so, we'll re-evaluate and change things up when the time comes.
Definitely I'd suggest taking care of anything that might help down the road (organizing the house, freezing meals, etc). But (and just from my experience) making plans for how things would run once I was back to work were useless - meal plans, shopping schedules, etc... those still change as we evolve with the kids.
Happy wife of Mr. Rabbit; proud momma to DS1 (07.07.09), DS2 (02.11.11) and expecting baby #3 01.27.13.
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