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>Do I love my girls enough to wear a watch & other returning to work tips

>This morning instead of mooching about in my PJs and slowly getting up with the girls, I’m going to be up early, putting on my power suit and heels and heading out back into the working world!

In case you’re about to do the same thing, here are a few tips I accumulated from my two previous returns off maternity leave.

1. Don’t make any hasty decisions about how its going.

It will be horrid at first.  Things will go terribly wrong such as First Capital Connect not running any trains north at all my first day back with Major.  But it does gradually get better.  You do get things to a place where it all sort of works.

If you want to give up, give yourself a couple of months (I’m making any decision at Christmas) and see how it is then.  Chances are you’ll either really hate it or things will be ok but at least you can say you tried it all out and didn’t make a knee jerk reaction.

2. Wear a watch.

My biggest problem is getting out of the office on time.  It seems that most of my (mostly male) colleagues wake up and start working about 5pm just as I’m starting to finish things up for the day.  They also always seem to want to have a ‘quick word’ just as I start putting my coat on.

I stopped wearing a watch before I got married and haven’t since but having one on means I do keep track of the time better and a quick look at your watch works wonders reminding people you have to leave.

3. Your non-work time is precious, treat it as such.

If you’re not being paid to work then try not to work (ok this bit isn’t really very easy).  They don’t own you completely and you need to give them clear boundaries (someone suggested working on this as you would with a toddler…).  Leave when you have to except in extremis, don’t take calls on your off days unless you really, really, really need to and make it clear that time away is time away and not just you juggling children and their work at home.

4. Meal plan and order groceries online.

Yes its a bit uber organised but we meal plan (starting to do it for two weeks so we get less stuck in a rut of food) and it means I know what is coming up, what leftovers there’ll be for the girls to eat and what needs to be bought.

I then order everything online so I don’t waste money on impulse buys at the supermarket and don’t have to drag the small people around the supermarket.

We’ve a white board on the fridge where the menu plan goes with a bit where people can write what we’re running out of and then those get added into the order.

5. Decide what is really important to you and what you won’t worry about.

Something has to give.  Decide what you absolutely need to fret about (clean loos, what the children wear, what they eat) and then shelve everything else.

6. Be organised.

Get a family calendar so that everyone knows where everyone else has to be and you have advanced warning of birthdays.  Put out your clothes the night before.  Pack your bag before you go to bed and leave it (and anything else you need to take) by the back door.  Write EVERYTHING down or you will forget it.

7. Have fun.

Don’t get totally caught up in the rat race.  Find a way to enjoy a bit of time on your own to read a book or go shopping.  Find a way to get a night out with friends or your husband.  Find a way to rediscover the you that existed before babies arrived and it all changed.

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9 comments to >Do I love my girls enough to wear a watch & other returning to work tips

  • PantsWithNames

    >Good luck! Thinking of you today, hoping it all goes well.

    PS I'm always amazed by how many life situations can be dealt with effectively if you imagine you are dealing with toddlers. Always entertained me that they finally stopped the fighting in Bosnia when they said if you can't agree on who will have this bit of land then none of you will. I've used that phrase a LOT in my time!

  • liveotherwise

    >Hope it goes well. Good set of tips.

  • JulieB

    >Excellent tips – hope it is going well today!

  • Notes to self plus two

    >thinking of you. looking forward to to first day post.

    great set of tips, i laughed as i have just started wearing a watch and i have convinced myself meal planning is the secret to returning to work, well and a well-organised to do list on my ipad xxx

  • London City Mum

    >Hooray for you – have been thinking of you today as well.

    My own personal tip was telling colleagues, boss, clients, etc NOT to phone or request me on conference calls between 5.30pm and 7.30pm on week days unless they particularly wanted "audience participation".

    It worked.

    LCM x

  • TheMadHouse

    >Have a great day, all the best

  • Modern Dilemma

    >A very sensible and helpful list. Mine looks very similar and I'm kicking myself that I've been visiting the supermarket whilst being a SAHM rather than doing it online like I used to. The return of Mr Ocado to our house has been nothing short of miraculous.

    MD xx

  • Michelle

    >A fab list and a great reminder for me – something has to give!! Mich x

  • Gemma

    >Great advice! hope it is going well x

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