Since becoming a mom of two, the morning juggle has become something of an art form. I went back to work part-time at around four months postpartum. I found a great nanny who watches my son at her home, so that means that a few days a week, my husband and I have to hustle in the morning to get everyone ready and out the door before 8 a.m.
One thing that usually causes stress for new moms is preparing to go back to work with a new baby. Having done this with my daughter before, I felt more confident about this transition, but it was still something I was nervous about. One big part of it was having my son take a bottle. Luckily, right from birth, he was excellent at breastfeeding. Taking a bottle, however, was another story. I started to feel that nagging mommy guilt about making my son take a bottle so I could go back to work. Would he ever take it? Once he did, would he ever want to breastfeed again? There are so many fears and worries that can happen when you have to sort out juggling work and motherhood. Thankfully, Baby Breeza’s breast-like nipples are great at transitioning the baby to the bottle. Plus, I love that they come in both glass and plastic and are super simple to clean. I really dislike when bottles come with a ton of parts. I need things that are straightforward and save me time. Even though it did take a little while, my son now takes the bottle and continues to breastfeed.
Once I felt confident with my son taking a bottle, I knew that going back to work was something I could handle. Now it was more about how to structure our weekly routine and tackle those busy mornings.
Let’s be real, most mornings look nothing like these photos. However, showing you what I really look like most mornings is something no one needs to see. These look more like a weekend morning or a day where I’m meeting friends for a playdate. The other days, I’m lucky if I’ve showered before 4 p.m. Showered or not, I have found a handful of things that help make my morning routine easier with two kiddos under the age of 4.
1. Divide And Conquer
For me, having someone to split up the tasks with is majorly helpful. My husband usually takes on most things when it comes to my daughter. He gets up with her, feeds her breakfast and plays with her until I get up. Normally, that’s only about 15 minutes later, but if the baby and I’ve had a super long night or I did a feeding with him around 4:30 a.m., it’s nice for us to get a few extra minutes of rest. Then I start a similar routine with the baby while watching my daughter. At this time, my husband gets ready and prepares lunches. Then, while the baby has some playtime, I will usually get my daughter dressed and groomed for school. I’m working on changing it to having her get dressed with my husband before she even comes downstairs for breakfast, but that’s still a work in progress. I also lay out all her stuff by the front door, so it’s super easy for my husband to grab on his way out. Most days, my husband will take our daughter to school and I take our son to his care. One huge time saver for us is that I don’t really get ready. I know that would be another complicated piece of the puzzle, but working from home means I don’t have to take too much time sprucing myself up.
2. Do It The Night Before
This is something I’m trying to do more often. Some nights, if there is enough time and energy left after the bedtime routines, I will make sure to have planned out my daughter’s outfit for school the next day and my son’s milk, bottles, food, etc. We tend not to make our daughter’s lunch the night before because it’s not typically as appetizing for her when we do that. I make sure that any of the things she needs for school are washed and ready and that my son has everything packed in his bag that his nanny may need. It’s sometimes painful to do this at night when I’m exhausted, but it does make life easier when we’re rushing in the morning.
Also, because I am not back at work full-time, the days I watch my son, I can take things a little slower and prep. I typically give him at least one bottle of milk on the days he’s just with me to keep him used to it. I also will make him baby food because he recently started solids. Baby Brezza’s One Step Food Maker is my favorite. I didn’t make a ton of baby food for my daughter and it was something I really wanted to do this time around. This device has made it so easy and quick for me. My favorite thing about it is it steams and chops the food. Usually, I can quickly dice up the food and it’s ready to go in about 20 minutes.
Love that some of the Baby Breeza bottles have these funny sayings.
3. Make Mornings Fun
My kids are early risers. We call 7 a.m. “sleeping in.” Most days we are awake by around 5:45 a.m. This can be pretty painful, especially because many nights we are still waking up one to two times with my son. However, it does allow for us to have more time to get things done in the morning before we have to be out the door at 8 a.m. Having a toddler means I have to find ways to get her to follow a routine. I think that is one of the biggest challenges in the morning. We’ve found that allowing her time to adjust to waking up and giving her some solid attention make the tasks we need to get done easier and allows for more success. Breakfast is always pretty simple. Typically, we do oatmeal or toast and fresh fruit. I also allow her to pick how she wants to do her hair or maybe what shirt she wants to wear. When it comes to my son, I make sure he gets some quality “mom time,” too, before he has to be away from me for part of the day. I think this is pretty crucial for me as well, and helps me feel less guilt about working and being away from them.
4. Stay Calm
Staying calm and connected can be very challenging for parents. There are always things that can go wrong or slow down your routine and cause everyone to get tense. However, one thing I’m really learning through this journey is that my attitude really affects my children. If I am even the slightest bit stressed or upset, they usually have a harder time adjusting to their daily routines. It’s definitely a snowball effect. So, when my son is fussy or my daughter refuses to put her shoes on for the 100th time, my husband and I have to stay cool. This helps us move forward and get out faster, but it’s an on-going process that we’re learning to be better at.
5. Make Weekends Special
I don’t think it’s a great idea to stray too far off from your weekly schedule on the weekends, but finding little ways to make it feel a bit more special can be energizing for your kids (and let’s be honest, for you, too!). For example, my family usually wakes at the same time on the weekends (big sigh) mostly because it’s just what our kids are used to. Even if my son was up at 4 a.m., he won’t sleep past 6 a.m. cause he doesn’t want to miss out on the family fun. On the weekends, we usually make a special pancake breakfast and go to the farmers’ market. My son is now big enough to sit facing forward next to his big sister in the double stroller and it makes our weekend outings so fun for both of them. These family activities on the weekends help to re-energize all of us when it comes back to that weekly grind.
Having these helpful tips in place and knowing that I have things like the Baby Breeza bottles and food maker have really helped me get back to work without too much guilt and stress. And let’s face it, anything that eases mommy guilt and makes life easier is worth its weight in gold.