I’ve done the maternity-leave-and-return thing 2x, and I’ve been a working mama for almost 5 years (2021 update: 10+ years!). I’ve heard the experiences of 100+ working mamas (2017 update: 1,300+ mamas!) through the Mindful Return e-course. And I’ve learned a few things. Have a few tricks up my sleeve. And have managed to bring (some) calm to my own days and success to my career, while having wonderful relationships with my husband and two cuddly little redheads.
I want to give back – by sharing my tips with you – in a way that’s not overwhelming for either of us. What does this mean? No big long e-mail rants for you to read, and no big long blog posts for me to write.
The Mindful Return Saturday Secrets Newsletter
If you don’t already get your weekly dose of calm and helpful information from Mindful Return, sign up here for the Saturday Secrets newsletter. You can expect a SHORT Q&A from me delivered to your e-mail inbox every Saturday morning. The Question will be a issue a new working mama has faced, and the Answer will be something I’ve learned along the way that’s helped me or others tackle that problem.
You want an example? Here goes. This was the content from my very first-ever Saturday Secrets newsletter. It covers a concept I talk about all the time. Intentional, weekly planning, and consolidating the week’s chaos:
Question from New Mamas: My days are so so so scattered. I can’t seem to find a chunk of time to collect my thoughts in the evenings. Between packing milk and lunches, paying bills, ordering diapers, filling out daycare forms, and scheduling appointments…how do I get some sanity back?
Mindful Return Secret: Consolidate. At our house, we have what we refer to as a “Saturday Basket” that sits on top of our microwave in the kitchen. (Yes, the photo posted here is of our actual, real-life, Saturday Basket.) Into the basket goes: bills, birth announcements that need responding to, forms to fill out, lists of things we need to order, retirement info that needs reviewing, a list of meals for the week. You name it.
Mundane, frequent, and annoying tasks seem to take up WAY less of my emotional energy when they go into the basket. And I love that they are temporarily checked off my to-do list during the week. Keeps them from spiraling around my head!
Then, every Saturday evening, my husband and I have the hottest date ever: what we call our Saturday Meeting. After the kiddos are in bed, we take out the basket, tackle what’s inside in one big swoop, and go through a checklist that includes:
- Bills and money
- Anything we need to order
- Planning out our week (including who could take kids if they get sick)
- Scheduling weekend activities (and preserving a few weekend days per month with NO commitments)
- Getting our parents’ helper on the books
- Scheduling a monthly date night
- Carving out time for exercise during the week
- Making sure each of us is getting time with friends and alone
- Reviewing our respective business goals
Do we make it through the entire list every week? Nope. But the meeting is always still worth it. Stay tuned for next week’s tip! (And if you have a question you’d like to see covered in a future Saturday Secrets, post it below or send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!)
Want more practical tips on working parenthood? Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave