A few months ago, I started developing an excel spreadsheet (yes, seriously) to manage my back to work transition. I've created several master spreadsheets like this to manage my earnings and savings, household budget, wedding planning and even baby preparations. The file is a work in progress, but includes our childcare schedule, meal planning and even an inventory of work appropriate outfits to choose from. In addition to my excel workbook, here's how I'm managing my back to work transition....
Childcare -- Greg and I both work as policy directors with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, which means we're both in our offices at least 40 hours a week, we check our Blackberries in the evenings and on the weekends, we often work through lunch and we occasionally travel for business. This all amounts to the need for reliable, quality childcare. This was one of the first things we secured early this spring. It's a relief to have a childcare arrangement that sees Thomas being cared for by people he knows and in an environment where we are comfortable. He'll be staying with my cousin and her 1 year old.
Weaning -- I'm in the process of day weaning Thomas from breast milk to whole milk. We'll continue to nurse in the morning before work, in the evening and throughout the night, but he will take a few sippy cups of milk in the day while I'm at the office. Thomas has never reliably taken a bottle, so for quite awhile I was nervous about how he'd be sustained while I was at work. We started by introducing whole milk in a sippy cup without a valve. This made quite a mess, but was essential in training Thomas to use the cup. He now uses a Nuk sippy cup, which I highly recommend for breastfed babies.
So once we had milk down pat, it was time for us to try to do something about the fact that Thomas really doesn't consistently eat food. About three weeks ago, Thomas started to refuse to eat any purees. He literally would only eat cheerios and rice crackers. It was as if he was telling us that he wanted to do baby led weaning, so that's what we started. It has been amazing. If your little one hasn't been taking to purees, this might be the solution for you, like it has been for us. We started by giving Thomas toast and waffles, and then moved to fruits, vegetables, meat and cheese. After only one week of consistently using this method, he's feeding himself and showing a far greater interest in food, and new tastes and textures than ever before.
My next frontier in the food scene is trying to get him to eat yogurt. I think it would be convenient to send him to his sitter's with yogurt as a snack, but because he thinks it is a puree and I have to feed it to him, he's presently resisting. Greg and I decided to try sharing our morning yogurts with him from now on, in hopes that he will accept because he sees mommy and daddy eating it too.
Meal Planning -- Our childcare arrangement sees us adding to our daily car commute significantly (going from a short 5 minute drive to probably 40 minutes). For this reason, we're a bit nervous about getting a nutritious meal on the table each evening before Thomas' bedtime (between 7 and 8 pm). We're preparing by arming ourselves with the mastery of some basic recipes, acceptance that we'll dine at the Rocket Bakery once a week on our way home and a weekly order from Red House Soups.
Wardrobe -- We recently took a two week trip to visit family in Calgary and Vancouver. Prior to leaving, I took an inventory of my closet -- what fit, what needed altering, what could be donated or sold, and what was needed. While on holiday, I took advantage of a wider range of shops to fill in the gaps in my wardrobe. I decided that work dresses (like this one, a recent purchase) were the perfect solution for a working mom - 1 piece that automatically looks polished. What could be more simple in the morning than that? Once home, I tried on all my new (and previously owned) dresses and skirts, and matched them up with sweaters, blazers, jewelery and shoes. I then itemized each outfit and added it to my spreadsheet. The logic is that I can choose an outfit without even needing to think about it each evening for the next morning. I'm hoping this will help avoid the "I have nothing to wear" feeling that often causes me to try on 5 ensembles before settling on one for the office.
I also refreshed my jewelry collection at a Lia Sophia party, updated some of my outerwear (a new trench and rain boots) and bought a few new blazers (Zara and Madewell) and a new pair of Friday jeans. Greg and Thomas also kindly gave me a beautiful new bag for back to work as a Mother's Day present. I'm still debating buying a few new pairs of shoes too. Before I head back to work, I also intend to buy a whole season's worth of hose and stockings (the days of running out quickly to the drug store for a pair at 9 pm, are long gone), and some new make up. It might seem silly, but preparing to look professional (once again) after a year of jeans and cardigans has been a huge part of mentally preparing for the change in my daily routine.
Naps -- This is my huge to-do. I nurse Thomas to sleep for naps, and am thinking he'll still need one nap per day come September. Here's to hoping we can find a peaceful way to teach him to sleep without Mama before then! Any suggestions are very much welcomed!
Trial Run -- I'm heading to a conference for a few days in late August, when I'm hoping the day weaning and napping without Mom will be solidified (he'll be staying with my mom while I'm at the event). Thomas is also starting to spend some time solo at his sitter's this week, in hopes that the transition to being there is a smooth one (I anticipate it will be, as my cousin has two dogs, and Thomas loves dogs more than anything, so I doubt he'll even notice that neither of his parents are around).
Any other tips and advice on preparing to go back to work? Image above of me in one of my "itemized" outfits.