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June 24, 2010

Back To Work Strategy #4--Morning Wake-Up

There are only so many hours in a day and if you are like me, you are going to want to maximize the time you can spend with your little one. Now here is the issue--you need to plan your day REALISTICALLY so that you aren't let down when your day gets eaten up by things you didn't plan on.

#1: Practice your Route...
DURING RUSH HOUR! You can't practice your route during the day when you are on mat leave and expect it to reflect the realities of your day. So before you go back to work, preferably one week before--do your commute at the actual time when you need to go to work. Even if you are returning to the same job at the same location, do the route anyway. Why? Because you may have forgotten how far it actually is and things may have changed--like construction or other factors. By the way--your route includes dropping off your little one at daycare if that is something you need to do.

#2: Actually Leave your Kid
In order to do the morning wake-up exercise properly, you really should practice leaving your child with your caregiver. There is a lot involved in dropping off your child including giving instructions to the caregiver, providing food/diapers/clothing and hugging your little one and saying good-bye. Although this will get easier over time, it's a good idea to get an idea of how long it CAN take. (even once you have the dropping off routine down pat, something can happen where you need to give more instructions so you should time it at the beginning and factor in that time as how long it will take in the morning). This also includes packing the stuff they will need for the day and organizing all of that!

#3: Get Ready
That's right--you also need to look good because you are actually leaving the house. Who is going to watch your little one while you shower or put on your makeup? Is it best to take a shower in the morning or the night before? When are you going to iron? This is a tricky one. You and your partner need to coordinate this. And... what about the baby??? They need to get dressed too!

#4: Eat!
When I was on mat leave I would eat my breakfast during my little one's morning nap. That can't happen anymore! So plan breakfast time carefully. Your little one needs to eat a healthy breakfast and so do you! And if you need a coffee--figure out when you can make it (and drink it).

Now here is the tricky part--you have to work your way up to doing this all together. It won't come together without a plan. Be realistic. Time everything and allow for that time when you plan your wake-ups. If you give this some serious consideration and practice it all, you will feel a lot less stressed when you have to do it for real!

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