I hear a lot from working mamas about how packed their days are. Every minute is accounted for, it seems. And in the early days of working parenthood, I felt this lack of margin acutely, too.
“How do I fit it all in? You know, all those things I should be (and want to be!) doing, like exercise, seeing friends, professional development?” we ask ourselves. “All that stuff I had time for before baby that seems to have fallen off the edge of my bandwidth? ”
My answer? We can “fit it all in” as working mamas…but not all on the same day. Or even the same month. Or sometimes even the same year.
Trust me, new mamas, that things get easier over time, as our babies gain more independence. (I can’t believe mine can both dress themselves in the morning now…it’s glorious!) But for now, you’re in a really, really tough (though beautiful) season of life. I hear you. And I do have some tips:
3 Key Strategies for “Fitting it All In”
- Plan, mama, plan. If something’s not on the calendar, it just doesn’t happen in my house. And I find I can be much more present and in-the-moment with my family and at work, if I do the thoughtful, mindful planning in advance that frees up my brain.
- Weekly Meeting: Consider scheduling a weekly meeting with your significant other, during which time you can consolidate admin chaos and put things like date nights and unscheduled time on the calendar. Check out what my husband and I do here:
- Longer-Term Strategic Planning: The first year we had 2 kids, my husband and I realized we had been traveling WAY to much for our sanity. Taking the time to look out across a year and plan what felt right was a much better approach. Check out more about our annual retreat days here:
- If You’re Pregnant or On Leave Now: There are many things you can do on the planning front to set yourself up for success before, during, and after your maternity leave. Check out my series, “Using Maternity Leave to Advance(!) Your Career”:
- Before you go no leave: What to Do While You’re Pregnant
- While you’re still home: What to Do While You’re Out on Maternity Leave
- After you go back to work: What to Do When You’re Back at the Office
- Fit Things Into Your Existing Routines: If you already do something regularly, can you adjust that routine slightly to accommodate things you’ve been wanting to do? If you already take your little ones to the pool on weekends, for example, consider taking turns with another adult while you’re there. One grown up watches the kiddos while the other swims laps, and then you switch. If you have a commute to work, can you stop for 5 minutes before you enter the office to sit and breathe? Check out:
- Breathe Deeply Into that Baby Pace of Life: Yes, this is the acceptance part. This season too shall pass. You can fight against it, or you can sink deep into it and savor the messy, beautiful juiciness of it all. And you can KNOW deep down that it’s okay to choose a path that’s different from the one you previously imagined. Check out:
I know I just loaded you up with a ton of resources here, but this is a big question. Take your time, and go through these posts one-by-one. And trust, deep down, that you already have it “all”. Whatever “all” is.
Want support and a community of awesome working mamas, as you return to work after maternity leave? Check out the Mindful Return E-Course here. New sessions start soon.