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June 23, 2010

Back To Work Strategy #3--Get Some Help the First Week Back

"Help" can be in the form of your mother, your mother-in-law, your father, a friend, a cleaner that you pay, a nanny, a kid down the street or even...your husband. But I am telling you, having help your first week back will make things so much better for you. Now is not time the time to try to be Supermom.

I have been back at work for three days and things are going well. I am convinced however that they are going well because my mom offered to come here for a few days to assist with my first week back. I told her I would be fine. I told her that I had to get into a routine. She insisted on coming here though and I am so happy that she has been here to help. You see--I am tired now that I am back at work. Really, really tired. I know that that will change once I get into a routine--in fact every day has been easier--but coming home to a clean house and not having to cook dinner has made my first week back a lot easier on me.

So my recommendation is to enlist someone or some people to help you out that first week back so that you can focus on getting yourself to work and spending time with your little one when you are home.

Examples of tasks that can be done by others:
1) Gardening/mowing/snow removal
2) Cooking--have someone cook for you the first night back or order in. You will be tired and hungry and you shouldn't have to cook. Also, get a favourite dessert for your first night. I had a cupcake from my favourite cupcake shop and it was wonderful. (courtesy of my mom)
3) Laundry--not worrying about doing it is a real treat especially after a year of doing more laundry than you have ever had to do in your life. The only clothes you should have to worry about this week are your own.
4) Childcare--here has been the real blessing. My little guy has started daycare. He has gotten sick because it's germ infested. He couldn't go to daycare one day this week due to illness (he is doing better now) and guess what? I didn't have to take time off work during my first week or worry about it all. I had my Mom to take care of him. And that was HUGE. So enlist someone just in case. My friend Isabelle told me that it's Murphy's law and your baby will get sick your first week. She had to take half a week off her first week back to be with her little one. I was so lucky not to have that additional stress.
5) Cleaning. You will stress out if your house is a disaster but you know what? Either have it spotless before you start work or get someone to help you out that first week because you are going to be tired. And sure, you could get it done, but wouldn't you rather spend time with your baby? Once they are in bed you need to be in bed or relaxing--not up cleaning the house. Maybe this would be a good week to get a cleaner as a treat. My mom has done the floors, the bathroom and the kitchen for me and usually I would be embarrassed to have my mom come over and clean but you know what? it was really nice coming home to a clean house.

Finally, Bartenders/Massage Therapists: Have someone prepare you a drink for when your baby is bed and have someone rub your feet. Typically this is someone you are in a relationship with but if you need to, hire it out.

Now is not the time to be supermom--you have years and years ahead of you to try to be that. Right now, focus on yourself and going back to work. If FREE help is offered, accept it. If you need to pay to make your life easier this week, there is nothing wrong with that.

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