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Working Mothers: Organizing Your Life

Transitioning from Work to Home
  • Prepare yourself, mentally and physically, for your arrival home—Make a list of work tasks for your next day in order to free your mind from them. Plan ahead to finish at work that which can't wait until the next day before you leave the office. You'll be more emotionally available for your family when you're at home. Cultivate a work-free zone in your mind, so when your workday is over, your mind is free. You'll be more fun to be with, plus you'll feel more refreshed to tackle your work when you return to the office.
  • Ease your daily reunion—Avoid coming into your child's day-care center in a big hurry. You're changing the demeanor of calm that's been established all day. You've been gone all day, and now all of a sudden you're rushing her.
  • On the ride home yield to your child's preferred style—Some like to chat or chatter, but don't push. You might bring a light snack in the car, let your child pick the music, or talk about what's up for the evening.
  • Schedule the most demanding activities during the time of day when you have the greatest energy—Whether it's a high-pressure sales call or attending a "Mommy & Me" class with your baby, make sure you are up for the challenge. Try to leave at least 10 percent of your schedule open each day to accommodate "emergencies" such as pulling together a last-minute presentation or taking your sick baby to the doctor.
  • Make a master list—Not just a "To do" list, but a list that notes every single task and appointment—from the names and numbers of people to call to the status of current work projects to taking your baby in for a doctor's appointment to dropping off dry cleaning—that will use up the time in your day. Ask yourself what is the most important thing you need to do now and do it. And then check off your list. Pinpoint the time wasters: Things you don't really need to do at all, things you can put off, things other people can do for you.
  • Say No—It's nice to be needed but your time is at a premium now. Recognize when and to whom you can say no and practice exercising that option as often as possible.
  • Keep a sense of humor—It will help you like nothing else to enjoy the good moments and weather the bad.
  • Once through the front door, take it slow and easy—Sudden dramatic shifts can discombobulate young children. Give at least a tiny amount of full attention to your baby right away—if he wants it. But then take care of yourself for a few minutes. Plan for a drink, a snack, checking the mail, and a brief snuggle on the couch.
  • Continue to breast-feed—After you've returned to work, breast-feeding helps you transition from your working day to your family time.
  • Soak away stress—Move bath time to evening transition time. Taking a bath with your baby will work wonders and free up the after-dinner hour for other activities.
  • Get casual—Change into something comfortable when you get home so that you become a cuddly mom rather than a uptight businesswoman. It will help your kids feel secure that you're in for the night. Ask your baby for help choosing your "play clothes."
  • Designate a particular activity for transition hour every day—Set up a game, a puzzle, or a craft. Or have the whole family take a short de-stressing walk before dinner.


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© 2005 by Marla Schram Schwartz. Excerpted from The Working Woman's Baby Planner with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon.com.


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