A First-Time Mum’s Guide to Returning to Work

A First-Time Mum’s Guide to Returning to Work

Becoming a mother is a life-altering experience filled with immense joy, love, and a fair share of challenges. Some of us embrace mum life as our “full time work” and others of us have to balance going back to an employer, in a full-time or part-time capacity or even running your own business in some capacity.  

As the day approaches when you need to step back into the workforce, it's natural to feel a whirlwind of emotions.  When my firstborn was 9 months old, I stepped back into the workforce in a full-time capacity and when she was 18 months old, I launched Baby Ball.

Yes, you read that correctly...I was working full-time in the corporate world and running my own business on the side. To say I was busy, was an understatement. 

How did I do it? I get asked this a lot and whilst I’m not perfect, and I don’t have the magic key, or all the answers, I do have some tips. Here are my top tips for a first-time mum preparing to return to the workforce, in whatever capacity that may be: 

Trying to work out what to put on the dinner table for the adults in your household is hard enough, lets not make it harder with cooking children’s meals fresh every night. 

My TOP tip would be to make your child’s meals in bulk and freeze them into 2-3 portion lots. My go to bulk meals for my daughter were: 

  • Pasta Bolognese: Cook the pasta sauce in bulk and freeze. It takes 15 mins to boil some pasta and there you go.. dinner done. And don’t forget to add veggies into the pasta sauce… we all do it, right?!
  • Fried Rice: Make it bulk, portion out and freeze. Too easy. My top tip here is to use chicken mince, its doesn’t dry out as much as diced chicken would. 
  • Chicken and Veggie Soup: make it in bulk and freeze in smaller portions. Grab some microwave rice, heat and add the two together and dinner is served. The rice makes it less of a soup, which I find is easier for a toddler anyway. 
  • Cottage Pie: make it in bulk, portion out and freeze. Its really that simple.
  • Porridge: whatever flavours you like. My go to flavours are blueberry and strawberry + banana. I make it in bulk, and freeze it in portions. Defrost when ready and just add a bit more milk till it’s a good consistency, and you’re good to go. Breakfast for dinner… that’s ok, surely?!
  • Stuffed Zuchinnis: for a bit of a Lebanese influence. My husband comes from Lebanese heritage, so my mother-in-law taught me this one. We make stuffed zucchinis in a tomato broth/sauce and freeze them in smaller portions (about 1 -2 zucchinis) and my daughter loves them. 

I always freeze my portions in enough for at least 2-3 meals. That way, if my daughter was super hungry, I would always get her more if she wanted it. And if not, I had dinner for 2 nights ready to go. 

This not only ensures your little one gets homemade goodness but also saves precious time during hectic workdays. Just thaw, heat, and voila, a healthy meal is ready!

Organization is your secret weapon. I cannot stress this enough. If you’re not a naturally organized person, then consider investing in a planner or use smartphone app to keep track of important dates, meetings, and baby appointments. 

My husband and I both have an iphone, so we have a shared iphone calendar and we put everything in there. Appointments, Plans, swimming lessons, Days Off, If Ava is at daycare, or if a grandparent is looking after her, if someone has to work late, or is out for dinner… you get the point. Everything goes into the calendar, for him, for our daughter and for me. 

Do whatever you need to do, because I’m 100% serious, organization is KEY. Create to-do lists, set reminders, and sync your schedules with your partner. Knowing what lies ahead helps you face challenges with confidence and ensures that nothing important slips through the cracks.

Organisation also stretches to outfits, and bag packing. We always pack the daycare bags the night before, get the kids clothes out the night before… know what you’re wearing the night before. All of this helps a hectic morning, run just a little smoother. 

In the world of working motherhood, organization is your trusty sidekick.

Amidst the chaos of managing work and family, don't forget to schedule time for yourself. It could be as simple as a leisurely bath, some exercise, reading a chapter of your favorite book, or enjoying a hot cup of tea in peace (emphasis on the hot, IYKYK). Taking care of your mental and physical well-being is paramount. A happy, relaxed mum is better equipped to handle the demands of both work and motherhood.

I personally LOVE a hot bath, and have baths at least 3 nights a week. Try it ;)

Back to the kitchen… But I promise the more organised your meals are, the better your weeks will run! Meal prepping isn’t just for baby food; it’s for your meals too.

Plan your family’s dinners for the week and prep as much as you can during the weekend. I am a really simple cook.. Meat and Veg, Meat and Salad are my go to’s. I try and choose meat options that can go in the oven and take less than an hour.. so as soon as I get home, I put it in the oven and forget about it. My focus shifts to feeding kids, baths and getting them ready for bed. By the time that’s done, voila, my dinner is ready and I just need to throw a salad together, or grill some veg! Simple, but effective. Another idea is to pre-chop vegetables, marinate proteins, and store them in the fridge. Having prepped ingredients makes cooking a breeze, saving you time and energy on busy work nights.

Remember, you are doing an incredible job. Balancing work and family is challenging, and there will be days when things don’t go as planned. Be kind to yourself. Don’t be too hard on your perceived shortcomings; instead, celebrate your victories, no matter how small they seem. Every effort you make, every cuddle you give, and every smile you share with your little one is a triumph.

You are the world to your little one and they think you’re just simply amazing. Remember that!

Returning to work as a first-time mum is undoubtedly a challenge, but it’s also a rewarding journey filled with personal and professional growth. By embracing the power of preparation, being kind to yourself, and staying organized, you can navigate this chapter with grace and confidence. Remember, you are not alone in this journey; there’s a community of mums out there, cheering you on. I’m one of them!!  You’ve got this!

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