My First Job… As a Mom

0

After 22 years in the workforce, sometimes working two or three jobs at a time, I quit collecting a paycheck cold turkey and took up full-time humanitarian work – as a mom.

Long after I got the hang of blowout diapers and perfecting the Mombie look, the bereft feelings of losing my identity as a working woman remained. To add self-inflicted insult to injury, I felt like I had to justify all spending to my husband since I didn’t earn actual money. Meanwhile, he gritted his teeth and reassured me repeatedly that I did not have to report every dime to him.

Even though I was told that it was admirable and I should feel proud, I sometimes felt sheepish telling people that I was a stay-at-home-mom.

I loved being with my daughter but missed my job. I knew I wasn’t alone. A fellow blogger even wrote of her need to go back to work in this post.

job

So, you’d think I would have jumped at the chance to work again, right? And I did. But, I also really loved the new life and routine I’d created. Could you really blame me for loving my morning schedule of coffee, PJ’s and play?

Before the first day began, I thought through possible complications of going back to work – even part-time – and got some advice from other friends who had already made the transition. I made a plan and changed my perspective about “things that needed to be done every day.” If you find yourself prepping to go back to work, here are my strategies to make the new schedule easier:

Plan Your Wardrobe

My work clothes were approximately 10 years old and 15 pounds ago; my clothes budget was $0. A friend of mine suggested second-hand stores, and I hit the thrift stores with hope and trepidation. Four hours and $35 later, I had enough new pieces to get me through every week. I tried on and planned each outfit so that the morning wasn’t eaten up by frantic outfit changes and closet trauma. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Meal Plan

I. Hate. Meal. Planning. But it does help. I don’t always do it. I don’t always do it well. But when I do, the week goes better. Meal planning with crock pots and instant pots is even better. Before my working days, the crockpot was my friend; now we are the best of friends.

Make a Schedule

See above about planning. I don’t enjoy it. I like to have a vague idea of what the day will bring and change my mind 875 times about our plans. However, I find now that our best days happen when I map out – even mentally – what I expect to happen during the day and give myself a broad timeline. One of my biggest concerns was making sure I still had quality time with my daughter. If I make that time a priority and do it first after work, both of us are fulfilled and less frazzled.

Leave Room for Crummy Days

Some days are going to be hard, even with a schedule and a crockpot. I’m learning to not let these days rule my perspective.

Don’t Give Up on Hobbies

One of the biggest changes for me was less time to exercise and to make play dates with my friends – er, my daughter’s friends. I know, I know… first world problems. However, both of those are pretty important to my mental health. It seems obvious to say that it’s ok to make these activities happen when my schedule allows. And to not stress when life is too busy for them. But, the concept was apparently revolutionary to me. Thankfully, I’ve embraced it.

How was your experience transitioning from SAH to the workplace?