If you have taken time off to stay home with your kids, then you may be a little overwhelmed at the thought of returning to work. It will definitely be a time of adjustment for everyone in the family, but don’t worry it’s totally normal for everyone to take time to get used to a new way of life.
- Make arrangements for the kiddos.
Childcare is easily one of the most important aspects of returning to work. Finding a childcare provider that you trust and feel confident leaving your children with will make you more productive at work.
Take time to interview daycare teachers, daycare directors, in-home daycare providers, nannies, etc.
You will want to know about the policies and procedures of the childcare provider you choose. These are some good points to clarify as you make your decision:
- Check to see that the hours you need to be available for work match the availability of the daycare.
- Ask about the childcare policies of communicating with you throughout the day about how your child is doing.
- Discipline procedures the childcare provider uses.
- Sick days
If your kids are older then what will they do when they get home from school? How should they reach you? How will you communicate expectations?
“I recently went back and my daughter’s teacher takes pictures and sends them to me while I’m at work. I love seeing her in her classroom! It just makes me feel better to be able to check-in on her. I also can text her teacher at any time for an update.” – Marna, Atlanta GA
Create a schedule for your family
Sharing a family calendar will help you and your spouse stay on the same page when it comes to busy nights. Whether you have a meeting with clients over happy hour, kids in sports, or a million other extracurricular activities; a calendar will help you all stay on the same page.
There are many ways to manage your calendar digitally. You can use iCalendar with iPhones, Google calendar, or Cozi just to name a few!
A physical calendar station in your kitchen or another general hub for your family is also helpful so that your kids can see what is on the calendar.
Organize where everyone will keep their gear
Kids have all kinds of necessary gear from the day they are born, whether it’s bottles, burp cloths, and diapers or shoes, backpacks, and lunch boxes, every thing needs to have a place. Organizing your entryway or mud closet will help you be able to keep track of the things every person needs on a daily basis. Hopefully you won’t be running around looking for your 3 year old’s shoes if there is a place for him to put them when he comes in the door. That’s the goal anyway 😉
Having organization for papers like school folders, homework, mail, and other important paper documents is helpful, too. Giving everything a home will help declutter your space and keep you more organized during the morning rush.
Create a meal plan for dinner time
Meal planning is a great way to save time and money on groceries. You can start by creating a list of your go to meals that your family loves to eat. Then from there add in a few other meals that are quick and easy. You can get ideas for frugal family meals from friends or do a search on Pinterest!
You can also take advantage of meal plan memberships that are as cheap as $10 per month and they do all the work for you. After a couple of months, you will probably have a good amount of meals that you know your family likes and you can cancel your membership. Check out sites like 5 Dollar Dinners or eMeals.
I highly recommend investing in a crock pot. There is seriously nothing better than walking into your home with dinner already cooked! You can also save time by making Freezer Meals that you put together, freeze, and then set them out in the morning and by the evening you can cook dinner in 20 minutes or less.
Here’s what a week’s worth of meal planning might look like:
Sunday: Grilled Chicken and steamed veggies
Monday: Slow Cooker Meal/ Parent’s meeting at school
Thursday: Dinner out/ Ball practice at 6:30/Gymnastics at 7:00
Friday: Pizza night (We always have a pizza night 🙂
Saturday: Chicken Stir Fry
Take advantage of online shopping and grocery pick-up
Don’t waste your precious time on chores like shopping for common household necessities or groceries when you could be spending that time with your kids. Online shopping is seriously a dream come true that you can have almost anything delivered to your front door.
Now many grocery stores and even Walmart will let you order your groceries online and they will bring them to your car. It will totally save you time and money when you shop for your groceries online.
Divide the daily household chores between your spouse and kids (they are old enough)
If you have been a stay at home mom for a few years, your family is probably used to you doing all (or at least most) of the chores. This can sometimes be hard for your spouse when you return to work because they didn’t realize how much you were actually doing!
Divide up the chores like cleaning up the kitchen, washing and folding laundry, picking up Zones (one of my favorite ways to have everybody clean up), sweeping and mopping, packing lunches, laying out clothes for the next day, etc.
Start practicing routines at home before you return to work
Life is about to change in a big way as you prepare to go back to work. Take some time to practice your schedule with the family. You can even hire a babysitter, so that the kids can be used to being separated from you. You might want to start daycare a few days earlier to give them time to ease into a new setting.
It will take some practice getting used to a new schedule. Leaving the house on time with all the things everyone needs for the day. Practicing bed times and morning routines will help make a smoother transition for everyone.
This is a transition for the family not just for mom.
Basically, prepare and organize as much as possible before you return to work. This will help you and your family ease into the transition more smoothly. You can go ahead and accept that there will be a few tears along the way, but that doesn’t mean your return to work is hurting your family. It’s just a time for adjustment. Give yourself some grace and be patient with your family as you all get used to a new routine.