returning to work… three weeks on

it’s been three weeks. three weeks of working full time, of M working full time and Pip attending nursery full time. from 8am until 6pm Pip is looked after by an amazing team of professional childcare providers and M and I rush to work, work and rush home again to collect her. and so far, going to work is far, far easier than being at home with her full time ever was. the weekends are also much happier as it is a pleasure to be all together, and I no longer feel full of dread on a Sunday for the week ahead.

clearly, after three weeks, I’m no expert, but I also have found some things which have helped us manage. after all, being out of the house a collective 50 hours a week, minimum, means that there is a lot more to fit into the small number of hours we are not sleeping. so, here goes.

- organisation is key. we have attempted to synchronise diaries and keep our household calendar up to date. we literally have to have a weekly planning meeting to make sure we know who is collecting Pip on which days, and what events and activities we have to prepare for. (this week alone, M has been out to one social engagement and two work related events, one this coming Saturday where he will be out 7.30am until 11pm. if we forget something, we are screwed)

- on the subject of organisation, mornings can be a logistical nightmare. I haven’t shared a bathroom getting ready for work since 2009 (when I was working in Somerset, M was in London so I had our whole cottage to myself – the only thing I had to do was to feed Delilah) so it’s been a bit of shock scheduling bathroom time and having to stick to it or risk going out the door with dirty hair. add to that the baby needs of time to drink milk, time to eat breakfast and getting dressed etc, it’s one long rush from the first cry. thankfully(?) Pip has started waking up at around 6am.

- leading on from that, organise as much as possible the night before. I make lunches, sometimes pack our breakfasts, put on the dishwasher and washing machine overnight, lay out all clothes where possible and make sure bags are packed and so on. on days when I don’t do this, our morning routine is off and we are late.

- obviously, organising things the night before means that the evening is shorter than ever. I’ve also started going to bed hugely early (for me) often being asleep at 10.30pm to manage the new early 6am starts. to that end, I’ve started staying away from a screen, only watching selected tv and trying to spend time outside in the garden to relax. I’ve also prioritised nice things, such as clean bed linen, candles, flowers by my bedside and so on. little luxury items that make me pleased to be in bed rather than doing something else.

- saying no to things. the last time I worked, I didn’t have any dependants, so I could just go to drinks or social engagements as I pleased. now, I have had to learn to say no. yes, I would like in theory to go to your leaving drinks, but, if I let the routine slip, we will all suffer. so, for the moment, unless it’s work related and essential, I’m saying no.

- making sure I get enough sleep, drink enough water, eat enough food. sounds obvious but even doing this so far as I have been able, I’ve still had a mouth full of ulcers all week and been feeling run down.

- leave work on time.

I’d love to hear any other tips to make things run smoothly. we are hoping to start organising a weekly food delivery in addition to our veg box, so we don’t have to factor in shopping to our weekend plans and I am sure there are loads of things I haven’t thought of, so please share!

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