Tips and Advice from Working Mothers...Please

@megs85 (3145)
Australia
March 9, 2007 3:25pm CST
I start a full time job, next wednesday, and am wondering if there are any mothers here that can offer me some advice on how to make the transition from stay at home mum to working mum as smooth as possible. For example, do you cook a weeks worth of dinners and freeze them? What meals freeze wella nd what don't? How did you cope with the feelings of guilt of leaving your child (or am I a nutcase for feeling bad about it lol)? What else helped you? I'm really kinda scared because its been quite awhile since I worked and I know Im gonna miss bubs. But a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, and if anyone can help me out with some tips and advice on how to make it easier I would be so grateful =D
5 people like this
17 responses
@meme0907 (3481)
• United States
10 Mar 07
Hey Megs :D I worked outside the home for years & my son was pretty easy to handle compared to alot of my friends children he has always been pretty self sufficient-I used a dry erase board when he was a kid to help make sure he got all his chores done & gave him stars & checks just like a school teacher would to reward him-that worked pretty well but now I have 2 pt wahj's & they are legit paying jobs so I don't need to stress about going outside the home to work & I can schedule my work around my life instead of visa versa HTH :) +'s 4 U
1 person likes this
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
11 Mar 07
Thanks for sharing your experiences and for the ideas, which I am sure will come in handy once he gets a little older. My son is a pretty good little boy- he sleeps through the night, we have our ups and downs but generally, hes pretty good. I adore him. My main concern is he is going to think I have abandoned him, sounds silly when I write it, but thats how I feel... :S
1 person likes this
@msqtech (15226)
• United States
4 Apr 07
I think life is a good thing if the family works as a team.
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
9 Mar 07
While I don't work full time at any one job (I have two part time jobs), I find that meal planning is paramount! I plan the meals for a week and shop accordingly (hubby is a great help with meal planning/prep). I write down what we are having and if the kids don't like it, tough lol My daughter's do the dishes (they are 10 & 14), so that helps quite a bit too... I do the laundry but every saturday is clean up day where EVERYONE helps out... My 10 year old hurt her knee toganning today while i was at my first job (i work as a receptionist and a freelance author) and i did feel bad that i wasn't home to kiss her boo boo better, but my hubby actually came home for a half an hour to check on her... Guilt is just a normal part of being a mother...you just have to deal with it... good luck!
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
9 Mar 07
I like the idea of meal planning and weekly shopping... Any ideas on recipes that freeze well? I finish at 6pm and wont get home until 7pm, and my partner is the worls worst cook, so if he only has to put something in the oven or microwave that would just about push the limits of his culinary capabilities lol. Nah, he cooks a greatr spag bol, but i dont want spaghetti for dinner every night lol...
@red158 (334)
• Canada
10 Mar 07
Oh and buy a crockpot.
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
Thank you red for the great ideas! My freezer is actually quite small and dodgy so I think you may be onto something when you suggested investing in a freezer. And a crockpot sounds like a good idea. Quick question though, are they really safe to leave on in a house all day whilst noone is home??
@Debs_place (10525)
• United States
10 Mar 07
Planning is paramont. Get a crockpot/slowcooker (at least one). Use menus. Make sure you have everything in the house you need to cook your meals so you do not need to go to the store during the week. Get together a list of your favorite easy recipes. Have a stash of food in the freezer. I make chicken fingers a lot. Chicken, cut in strips, dipped in egg and bread crumbs then pan fried in Pam. Healthy, low in fat. No skin on the chicken. Cook up family size pack on weekend. Meals - Chicken parm, chicken parm sandwiches, chicken sandwiches on whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato and mayo or on a wrap, eat as finger food with raw veggies - everyone loves these. 3 completely different meals. These are also great to pull out of freezer in single serving bag and use for lunch. eat warm or cold. While you are making your dinner using chicken - make up a crockpot meal to start in the morning before you leave for work. The next day you come home, you have a meal ready. When you are cleaning up from dinner, make the next days lunches and organize for breakfast the next day. One more thing before you sit down, get out all clothing for everyone for the next morning. The more you can do at night the easier it will be in the morning. The night you eat the crockpot meal, you know you can plan an easy meal for the next night, get that organized, do your planning for the next day again. I use a huge crockpot and we don't mind eating the samething a few times in a week. For example, last week we made chili, the week before chicken soup, this week it was beef and barley. All of these things freeze well and can be used for future meals. Good luck. I went to work when my son was 8 weeks old, it was rough sometimes, but you get used to it.
@Debs_place (10525)
• United States
10 Mar 07
I forgot, don't stress out about leaving your child with a sitter. Get a good sitter you are happy with, if you are stressed your little one will sense it in you and it will make it harder for both of you. My son loved his sitters and day care, he had wonderful experiences and made many friends. He loved meeting new people, right now he is an outgoing, friendly young man. day care did not hurt him a bit. One thing, your little one will get colds and sniffles more now, but that is ok, they get them now or get them when they start school. My guy had perfect attendence in school for several years because he got the things when he was little.
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
All I have to say is WOW, and a BIG BIG BIG Thank You! :D I have been a little stressed about it all and Ive noticed he's picked up on t already- he isnt sleeping all that well (he is teething and has a cold though, so they are all factors) I LOVE LOVE LOVE the chicekn fingers idea. I will definitely be using that recipe. So versatile! I have started ,y weekly meal plan and weekly shopping list for this first coming week. I'm looking for recipes at the moment. I will be getting a crockpot/slow cooker with my first paycheck- are they safe to leave on, when noone is home? Thank you so much, I dont know what else to say. This whole post has been a huge help, both inspiring me with ideas and advice, as well as lifting my spirits about the whole thing.
@crazynurse (7489)
• United States
10 Mar 07
Hi Megs. You can do it..be strong! I too am a working mom. I do a lot of cooking and prepping for the upcoming week's meals on the weekends! It is not unusual to come into my house on Sat/Sun and see two crockpots going and the oven on! I will make a crockpot of spaghetti sauce as well as a crockpot of chili or veggie soup! I will bake several things (at the same time of course!) I will bake a meatloaf and some type of casserole. All of these aforementioned are frozen for the following week! Each night, I get out what is for the next day and put it in the fridge to thaw while I am at work. If I am going to have something that requires browned ground beef (tacos or something) I will go ahead and brown the ground beef, pour it into a strainer and drain the fat...allow it to cool a bit and put into a large baggie and freeze it! When I come home from work tire, I only have to throw it into the pan with the seasoning mix! I wash and chop vegetables that will be needed and put into tupper containers. (For instance with the meatloaf I always have brocolli...it will be cut and washed and stored in tupper containers) If I need chicken strips (say for chicken wraps or for a chef salad ) I cook them on Sun afternoon and freeze them. Whatever you can get done...will only make coming home and cooking much easier! Everything I have mentioned freezes and thaws well! Other things to make ahead and freeze are: beef stew, baked mac and cheese, lasagna, chicken/rice casserole..the list is endless! Enjoy your new job!
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
11 Mar 07
WOW! Thank you so much. I think I need to get some tupperware containers! And a BIG decent freezer, my little in fridge one is ridiculous and keeps frosting over *groan* I love Tacos, so the idea of browning mince meat and freezing it (we use it a lot in spaghetti, lasagne, chow mein, cottage pie...lots of things) is really practical for me! How long does it keep for in the freezer? The idea of preparing the vegies is also a great one, even if I only do it the night before, each night it will still be a HUGE timesaver the next day. Like for mashed potatoes I can peel and cut them and when my other half gets home he could boil the water and pop them in. Even he couldnt stuff that up...lol... I dont think. Anyhow, thanks so much! :D
@wawaww (69)
• Indonesia
10 Mar 07
How much time will you need in my kitchen? With my personal chef service, I'm typically in your home for approximately 5-7 hours, depending on the menu. For dinner parties, I will need 2-6 hours of advance food preparation time (the greater number of guests, the longer I'll need), in addition to the length of time for the dinner and cleanup. For cooking classes, I typically need approximately 2 hours of prep time prior to the start of class.
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
Sounds perfect ;) Think we'll just book you round the clock. Hope you don't mind cooking three different meals for each sitting (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Oh, and preparing all our snacks and beverages, and taking it to each of us at our various locations ;) lol, it would be great if we could afford a cook/cleaner but this is to make more money so we can buy a home, provide that stability for our son, and ourselves as well, and give him everythign he wants and needs.
@KrisNY (7592)
• United States
10 Mar 07
I think you need to make the transition smooth for your children. Are they in school, going to a new daycare, what?? Make sure that they are ok-- At first it will be hard-- Crying and such- but it gets better- I don't cook a weeks worth of meals and freeze them- You didn't say what hours you'd be working- I make dinner after we get home- Some meals are quick crockpot meals (basketball practice nights).. some meals I might get around the night before- whip up a meatloaf and refridge so its ready to go in oven the next night- I find getting things ready the night before-- school bags, daycare bags, work stuff-- my lunch makes the mornings so much smoother-- good luck at your new job!
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
Thanks for the good luck, I think Im gonan need it :) My son is an only child, ten months old and it will be his first time in a daycare centre. My hours are 8am-6pm Monday to Friday. But zI'll need to leave the house at 6.30 am to drop him off at 6.45am, and I'll get home probably around 7pm each night. My other half will be picking him up from childcare. I've never cooked meatloaf before... Any good tips/recipes? How long will it keep in the fridge?
• United States
10 Mar 07
If you must work, then you must, and you have nothing to feel guilty about sugar. I know you will miss your child, and it hurts, but you have to work. So, perhaps when you are home, you can read to your child at night time, or spend some quality time to make up for it. Also, it is a good experience for a child to separate from mom at a certain age. It's harder on mom's.:) As far as meals, it may be a good suggesting that on your day off, to cook lots of meals that you can just heat in the micro. You will be tired when you get home. Some good things to freeze are rice and pasta plain. You can take out what you need and add butter or sauce with it. You cam make batches of meatballs and chicken fried or baked and freeze. And cassoroles. Good luck on your new job. I hope all works out well for you and the family. Blessings, M&M
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
Thank you for the ideas, luck and good wishes :) I love the meatball, and fried chicken idea... I am going to look up some fried chicken recipes today (like authentic south american fried chicken (hope i got that geographical guess right lol). I din't know you could freeze plain rice and pasta so thanks for letting me know. That helps, because one of my cocnerns was in making anything with pasta and rice when I got home, I'd have to wait for the water to boil, then for the pasta/rice to cook *groan* I think it is going to be harder on me then the little fella. He will LOVE playing with all the kids, but Im gonna miss him like crazy!
• Philippines
10 Mar 07
I know for the start it's really hard to adjust, but i know that you're only doing that to help your family & being practical. I believe that you're also doing that b'coz of them, for their own good, why? because I'm also a working mom. But i make sure that I'll prepare everything they need before I go to the office. I'll make sure also that I have time to my daughter & spend the whole day with them when rest day comes. Goodluck to your new job...
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
Thank you! I think the first few weeks are going to be really tough, and it is an adjustment as you suggested. I'll certainly be making the most of my weekends with my son. And my evenings (the little time I will have with him on those!)
@thebestmom (1105)
• Philippines
10 Mar 07
How many children do you have? What I do is I leave my children with my mother before I go to work, and fetch him again when I come home. We have a cook at home, but there was a time when we have none. When that happens we just eat very simple dishes. and make good lunch on sundays.
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
I only have one son, who is ten months old. My mother is too busy caring for my grandmother to look after my son, and my mother in law lives too far away or she would look after him. Unfortunately this means he has to go to daycare, which i suppose will be good for him in a way, as it will teach him independence, socialising and so on and so forth. I'm trying to stay really positive, We won't be getting a cook, and funnily enough I really enjoy cooking anyway...but the idea of cooking simple dishes throughout the week and special dishes on the weekend is a great idea so thank you!
@Fishish (697)
• India
10 Mar 07
i think u should nto bother so much. initially it will take you time but then u will get used to it and learn how to manage time. prepare lunch adn dinner early in the ,morning, not for a week as it is not hygenic. u can get up early and cook two things at a time. try multi tasking , it will not take u more than 1 1/2 hrs to make lunch, dinner and breakfast. and if it is a light type of food then u will finish earlier than that. dont feel guilty about leaving kids, they haev to grow up and u have to live your life. dotn spend too much time on cleaning adn just do the needful thru the week, keep max things for weekends...all the best
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
I think the idea of leaving all the major cleaning til the weekend is a really practical idea! If I got up to cook dinner, etc each morning I'd have to get up at 2.30-3.00am so it isnt really practical for me, but thanks for the idea. I think that there are certain foods and meals that can be frozen hygienically and safely, but thanks for the concern. I'm also now considering the idea of preparing simple meals when I get hoem from work as another poster suggested.
@earthsong (589)
• United States
10 Mar 07
Find childcare you trust completely, and don't be afraid or ashamed to pop in on them unexpected to see how the work while parents aren't around. The first daycare I ever used was awful, but I had no idea until I walked in early one day and saw the owner dragging a boy across the room by his elbow while screaming at him. Thankfully I was leaving my job to stay home for a while again since I was pregnant with my last child. When I did go back to work several years later the daycare I used closed, it was a private run, in-home daycare that I adored. The place I had chosen turned out to be run like a bunch of teenagers were in charge. Now I no longer need daycare since we pay my oldest to sit when we have to work and they don't have school, and we have one of my sisters sit with them when my daughter has plans. But having trustworthy daycare is a major help in transitioning back to work. Secon, you need to appreciate the contact with other adults and know that your child is socializing, which will help when they are in a school scenerio. It will still be hard, but don't feel ashamed. If you need to work you need to work, whether its for financial reasons or for personal need. Just be sure to spend plenty of quality time with you kiddo(s) when you are home so they don't feel like you don't want to be with them.
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
Thanks for sharign your experience, and for your kind words :) I really like the childcare centre Ive chosen, the staff there are fantastic and my son really seemed to like them. I can't believe what the owner did- thats disgusting! I know that in the long run this will be good for him,a nd his development... still gonna miss him though :( Thats just part of it I guess, for ANy working mother.
@disvachic (10123)
• United States
10 Mar 07
I have children but i have always worked and i work overnights so its not that hard for me,really.I feel ya when you say you gotta do what you gotta do.My kids are old enough now to pick out there own clothes but be when they were younger i would pick out clothes for the the whole week and iron them,sometimes the night before.Far as cooking i didnt do the freezing thing.I would cook sometimes to have leftovers for the next day,sometimes daily,something quick.I would braid my girls hair and i still do that because nobody has to worry about doing hair.I know you are going to miss your child but you are doing it to help survive
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
Thatnks for your input, it is greatly appreciated. Just a quick question, what meals did you find are really quick and easy to cook? At the moment I'm thinking things like chicken schnitzels with oven baked chips/wedges and salad. And spaghetti bolognese (its the only thing my other half can cook lol)
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
10 Mar 07
I actually went back to work when my son was 6 weeks. I had a real great boss and was allowed to take him with me to work for about 3-4 months and then I had a baby sitter as well as the father in law, take care of him after that. I only worked 10 mins away from home, so I would prepare everything for him early in the morning, making sure his bottles where done, food was prepared and so forth. I would always leave instructions for the babysitter and if they were to go anywhere, to call me first. She was really good and I had no problems with her. My son was a happy baby and enjoyed being with his Papa. Any spare time I had which was mostly during the lunch hour, i would pop on home to check on him. My babysitter cooked a lot of our meals and my husband helped from time to time. The cleaning got done in the weekends (not all the time though). I always felt guilty leaving him at home, but I knew he was being cared for very well at home. As long as I checked on him everyday, it got better. Now that we have moved to USA, I stay at home fulltime. When he starts school later in the year, i will probably look for some part time work to keep me occupied/busy.
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
Thanks for sharing your experience! Six weeks, wow, I have a lot of respect for women that can do it! Another useful suggestion about making sure I leave clear instructions and have everythign well prepared thank you!
• United States
9 Mar 07
I really don't know what to say. I guess just think about the money that you are going to make that will help pay bills and buy stuff for your family and etc. After I had my baby I went back to work 6 weeks after he was born. I was about to go crazy coz I can hear a baby crying. What I did is I call at home and check on the baby. Actually my husband does most of the cooking, so I don't have a problem in that area.
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
Oh wow! Six weeks! You poor thing! Yeah I am trying to keep in mind how much this will help my family, in particular my son. I'd probably feel better if he was with a family member rather than a daycare/childcare centre, but I spose we do what we gotta do... I'm a young mum, and it really gets my goat up when people talk about young mothers only having children for the australian governments baby bonus- this may seem unrelated to the original discussion but its not!- because I knwo how expensive it is to have a child, and if you use the money to buy the cot, and pram, and change table and car seat, and nappies and wipes and clothes and socks and singlets, then I dont understand how people can "blow it so to speak". I would do anything to provide for my son, and people still look at me like, oh another young mum, betcha shes on welfare etc etc. I just wish there was some way of educating these people and breaking the stereotype of the young mum...
@SageMother (2277)
• United States
9 Mar 07
When I was a single parent I would cook on the weekends and freeze meals. I was very strict about schedules and really didn't go out too much. Finding free entertainment was important because I wasn't about to spend all of my money on fun but fleeting things. We took lots of walks to interesting place, though. My boys were in daycare and that was difficult at first. luckily they are twins so they had each other and I didn't feel too bad. I don't know how I would have felt otherwise. Your kids will do fine with the change though. It will be a new adventure for them and they will have lots of great stories to tell you about their day!
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
10 Mar 07
The fact he's only ten months old (and an only child) makes me more nervous then I would be if he was a bit older. I'm trying to keep in mind that by doing this I can afford all the things we normally couldnt for him. We dont have to stress out about where his next tin of formula is coming from, or whether we can scrape together enough for nappies. Between my income, and my partners new income, we will all be better off.
9 Mar 07
The most important thing for me was to know that my daughter was happy. I really built her up for the experience saying it would be so great for her if I was at work as she would get to stay with her Grannie all day who she really loved and she would have fun with her. And then when I got home I would be able to take her out sometimes and buy her nice stuff because I would be earning extra money. I must admit she is a lot happier now I'm a Stay at Home Mum but there are lots of other factors that are making her happier too such as I have ended the difficult relationship with her father and the job I was in was stressful so not making me feel great and be a good mother. That is important that you don't take the stresses of your job home with you, make sure you enjoy the limited time you do have with your daughter. Also and most importantly don't stress too much about the housework, it isn't that important to have all the jobs done.
@megs85 (3145)
• Australia
9 Mar 07
Thanks for sharing your experience! Myy son is only ten months old, and is going through the attachment phase/separation anxiety at the moment which makes it difficult- as I can't explain it to him rationally. I KNOW i am doing the right thing by him by working- it doesnt alleviate the guilt though at 'leaving' him. I have to put him in a child care centre as my family wont look after him for me which makes it even harder. But ive done my research and i really like the place and staff at the child care centre which helps. I'll be making sure the housework is done between both myself and my other half so thanks!
@msqtech (15226)
• United States
4 Apr 07
I think having prepared stuff ready to reheat is the way to go.