Maternity leave is coming to an end, you’re still in denial but you know it’s looming, you’re sick at the prospect of leaving your little one and sicker at the thought of having to engage your brain on a continuous basis every day…
Here are some top tips to make life a bit easier;
1. Shop Online or do one big grocery/meat shop at the start of the month and smaller shops each week. A meal plan ahead of time is a good idea as well, the first few weeks will take time but after that you can look back on previous weeks and mix up different days/weeks. When you do cook at night always cook a little bit more so you can freeze one or two portions or have them for lunch the next day.
2. Batch cook every second weekend so you always have 2-3 meals in the freezer for your little one and yourselves as back up on the night you just cannot face cooking. Soup is a great option for teatime for your little one.
3. Ziplock bags are your saviour, get the largest ones (I got mine in Ikea) and put 10 outfits into 10 bags every Sunday night (usually it’s about six a week because you’ll have leftover ones from the previous week) and then every night you don’t even have to think of an outfit or see if you have a vest without a design to go under that white top or tights to match an outfit.
4. Get yourself an insulated bag, I use this one, so every night I pack it with a bag full of snacks for the next day, main meal, bottles, smoothie etc and put it all ready in the fridge for next morning.
I do this almost the minute I come in the door in the evening so it’s done. If you have a fussy eater, ask your childminder/creche to leave the uneaten food in the container – so you can keep track of what your child has eaten.
5. Buy 3L bottles of milk, you won’t run out as often with this size (this is a big one for me because I don’t drink milk so never had to buy it).
6. Organise your own wardrobe on a Sunday night as well so you don’t have to think about it every single night or morning.
7. Get a cleaner if you can afford it – if you can’t break jobs down into tasks to do during the week. Wednesday night always put on one wash so it doesn’t all pile up for the weekend and the house doesn’t become a laundry on Sat/Sun. Wash your floor on a Tuesday and Friday nights so you feel on top of things when Sunday comes. Keep a bottle of bleach and some Dettol Anti-bacterial wipes in the bathroom so you can so a quick clean up a few times a week and it doesn’t feel manky by the weekend.
8. Teatime in our house is pretty much always quick and easy food like toast and hummus, cheese and fruit, fish fingers and waffles. Make sure you have a stock of easy things and don’t feel guilty about giving fish fingers or sausages or other convenience options, do not allow other mothers or your own conscience to make you feel guilty or ill prepared or a bad mother because you work. Variety is good for them.
9. Get your baby used to playing in their cot in the morning, when they wake up drop some toys and books in and try and get at least 20 minutes every morning so when you go back to work you have that time to get ready and pack up the car before lifting them to be washed, dressed etc. – better still pack up the car the night before if you think of it.
10. Can you give nappies, cereal, milk, wipes on a weekly or monthly basis to the childminder or creche (if you supply them) so you don’t need to think about it every night and it’s not one more thing to remember to put in the bag.
The key things are being organised, a new routine, not beating yourself up over working and having time to spend with your little one when you get home rather than panicking over chores and what to wear the next day and what’s clean and what a mess the bathroom is and so on and so forth.