Monday, November 13, 2006

Work/Family Balancing Tips, Y'all?

So, I'm about to start my second week at my new job, after being a full-time SAHD for my babygirl's first two years of life. I didn't even work a whole week last week, and I'm already tired. Heh. [And it's not like sitting in front of a computer all day burns more calories than chasing a toddler, so I don't know what's up. Hey, Henri, if my eyes feel at 7:30 p.m. like they usually do at 11 p.m., am I just tired or is it staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day?]

But it's all good... Right? I'm basically reading and writing blogs for a living, for our local newspaper's website, which is cool. Leaving a crying daughter at the nice daycare lady's house? Not so much. It'll get better, right?

So, all you working moms and dads out there, especially those of you who transitioned from being at home full-time, any tips for me? I mean, we just got back from a long-weekend trip and there's nothing in the fridge to cook for this week and I don't know when I'm gonna be able to go to the store, which The Pumpkin and I used to visit like three times a week in the middle of the day... And then there's the laundry... Heh. Anyway, the wisdom of your experience is much appreciated.


Susan said...

I feel your pain! Re the food thing, see if you can find one of these places in your area, where you can prepare 9 full meals in an hour. It's saved my sanity. (I don't know how to do links in comments, so scroll to the post called "Cooking in Hyperspeed")

eliaday said...

sigh. isn't it fun?

here's my advice:
- stop folding laundry - with a toddler, it seems to build up faster than i can fold it.
- make sure you insist on taking a lunch break and go grocery shopping - it's amazing to go sans kids.
- pack your bags (yours and hers) at night so the morning can purely be babygirl time - with no running around the house looking for keys, wallets and whatever else you need for the day.
- don't be afraid to go to sleep. i can't tell you how many times i've fallen asleep fully dressed in the toddler bed with tae. but, i will tell you that i feel amazingly refreshed in the morning.

graceful said...

I just went back to work last October after being a SAHM for 5 years. My son was almost 3 and he cried the first week. We created a Good-bye ritual that we do every morning that gives us both comfort. As for dinners? Create a regular schedule so you know what's going to be made each night. For us, Spaghetti Mondays, Baked Chicken Tuesdays, Lasagna Wednesdays, etc.

The Newbie Dad said...

Try to prepare as much as you can the night before. Get your clothes, underwear, socks, shoes, briefcase, etc. all ready to go. I put my clothes for the next day in the bathroom. I also store my keys, wallet and cell phone in my jacket or the front pocket of my briefcase. I charge my cell phone in the car and at work. I park my briefcase in front of the door. Pre-pack baby gear, bags, food, the stroller, the car, etc.

It's definitely a challenge after a loooong day, but it makes things much smoother trying to get out the door first thing in the morning.

Mama Nabi said...

(So we're not the only ones who stash our work clothes in the bathroom the night before!) Our situation is a bit different since PN and I have different work schedules, i.e. evening vs. day. We have 3 basic errands (groceries, other shopping/Costco/Target, and laundry) that we spread out between the time we have off together. Then, I schedule my sister in for other errands (clothes shopping or Korean grocery store or whatever) so that she can "visit" with LN while we shop or do errands together. Any other free time we get is a blessing...
You guys will soon find a rhythm for getting things done - and like eliaday says, certain rituals such as folding laundry can take a hiatus until Pumpkin is old enough to help out. Seeing that she IS a genius, that should be, what, tomorrow? :-D

Anonymous said...

here are some things that i've tried and they seem to work (for my family . . . don't worry, you'll find your groove, too!):

1. groceries either during the night (after the kid's asleep) or on the way home.

2. laundry blows, but it has to be done. set up a fixed schedule and stick to it. (more than once a week is better 'cause then it's not a huge pile - just a small pile. she can also help "put" things away - underwear and socks do NOT need to be folded, just throw it in the drawer. (oh, and a basket of socks near where to shoes are stored will save a lot of time in the mornings . . .)

3. take the time to cook like 3 days worth of meals on a weekend day. the "big girl" can help (my kids have been 'cooking' since they were about 3 . . .) they can dump, squeeze, tear apart and mix (with supervision) all they want. dinner may not look great, but 1. it'll taste good, 2. you won't have to make it later in the week and 3. you're building a) memories, b) confidence in their abilities and c) giving them a sense of being a participating member of the family.

4. crock pots rule!

5. she'll stop crying soon. i promise. i thought my heart was being torn out of my chest every time my youngest cried and now he barely has time to 'kiss, kiss" in the morning!

papa2hapa said...

I'm a teacher, and I bring home a lot. This makes for long nights. So I generally try to sacrifice my time at home in order to fix the Noodle dinner, play with her a bit, and then once she calms down, do my own stuff. Sometimes this means being up until 1am, but my feeling is that I'll get a chance to catch up on sleep during the summer.

Laundry sucks. Do it when you can. Throw in a load before you leave for work, and dry it when you get home. Don't fold it, especially the little one's clothes. Just put them in the drawer.

Cooking sucks. Sometimes the crock pot, other times go out or bring in. Do the shopping when you can, and try to remember, this is all part of life.

Jae Ran said...

My tips are all the same. I started back to work in September. Ouch! What happened to all my energy?!? Oh, yeah. I'm giving it all to "the man."

Best advice here I'd follow- even if you're tired, make the lunches, set out the clothes, get everything ready the night before. It may seem like it only takes 5 minutes to put together lunch in the morning, but that 5 minutes at 6 am. is a pain.

As for dinner, the crockpot has become my friend. And find out if there's a grocery store with a good deli on the route home. I'll often pick up something there with the bread and milk or whatever else we need.

Last, figure out a way to let go of the guilty feelings for being exhausted and having a more chaotic household. I'm still working on that one.

thisislarry said...

I figured out a couple years back why my parents were so boring, it was because WE KIDS MADE THEM BORING!!!!

Yes, we turned them from happy- go- lucky, spontaneous young adults into schedule driven zombies who had the family's lunches made the night before.

And, lo, my kids have helped me see that, by turning us into those zombies.

Welcome to boring parent zombie world, it really isnt that bad, once you get used to it :)

Jackie L said...

This is the first and probably last time I'll write here but as you know, we are proud of you and your new job at the paper (took a peek at their website already and all the stuff you already posted). From now on, it's going to be about prioritization and cutting out the fat!
Panda Express does a great Family Meal for just $28.