Making Your New Schedule: for new moms heading back to work

Making Your New SchedulePT.png

By Jennifer Mayer

The thing about being a new mom is you still acutely remember what life was like before your baby was born. Like really remember it. What it was to sleep in, and not be awoken every 45-60 minutes though the night. {Side note: parents of newborns truly understand how sleep deprivation is a torture tactic.} You remember eating with both hands, and having a meal at the same time as your partner. Completing tasks is another thing you remember being able to do; one because you didn't have a little person to interrupt you, and two you didn't forget what you were doing while you were doing it.

The flow and cadence of your pre-baby life is fresh in memory. There's perhaps a longing for those comforts to return. You may be wishing to return to the "old you" as quickly as possibly, or you are counting down the days you have left on maternity leave before you need to return to work and resume the "old you". I’m here to tell you, that while you may miss the “old you”, but you won’t want to go back, even if you could.

It really wasn't that long ago- perhaps a few weeks or months before you became a parent. You can still feel what it used to be like before your cute, yet demanding baby joined your family. It's right there- the memory slightly out of your periphery. Part of you wishes to quickly adjust your new life to make it feel like your old life. But there's a deeper part of you who knows you need to go further into the future, into the new you- an evolving identity that isn't quite formed yet. A new mother of an infant you're in your metamorphosis into parenthood- quickly adapting and changing to the new responsibility cooing in your lap.

It’s from this place of understanding that I coach my clients. For many moms I work with, there is an intense longing and pressure around returning to their pre-baby schedule. When I coach moms returning to work, there is always a wall that is hit. It’s the schedule wall. How will I possibly manage and fit it all in? All the demands- breastfeeding, pumping, feeding the baby, getting us all ready for the day, settling the nanny in or doing to daycare drop off, making it to work on time, pumping again, getting lunch in, pumping once again, exercise, after work meetings or drinks, preparing dinner, getting the baby down for the night, and then sex! It’s a lot- and totally overwhelming and impossible to fit a baby into your previous schedule and cadence.

So my advice, for those who ask, “how am I going to fit it all in?”

You’re not.

For many mom's, there's an internal pressure to not let motherhood change us. I know, because I've been there. It’s hard when you want to be who you always were at your job. And who you always were as a partner and friend.  But this is a chance to clear the chalkboard and write a new script. Here are my steps for creating your new daily schedule, as a mom:

  1. Wipe your hypothetical calendar clean- we are starting over!
  2. Schedule in the MUSTS: Time to arrive at work, time to leave. Daycare pick up and drop off times will be built around your work schedule. If you’re partnered, don’t forget to include them on these duties too!
  3. Next we are going to schedule sleep. Sleep is QUEEN. Is your baby getting up a fair amount during the night? If so, you’ll need to put yourself to bed earlier. This part, I can promise- won’t be this intense forever. You will get some leisure evening time back again!
  4. Then we will schedule your wake up time, but first you need to determine how much time you need in the morning to get out the door, work backwards.
  5. Next add in chores that make your life move forward: laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, etc. Perhaps you’ll want to out source a few of these- even for the time being.
  6. Now you’ll have a good look at where you and your partner can spend time together, perhaps meet up with a friend on the weekend, or schedule an exercise class or better yet a quick workout at home off YouTube- just being realistic ;)

When you’re finished I know your schedule will look substantially different than what life was like before having a baby. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how motherhood has changed your life- the good, the bad, the happy, the ugly. For me personally, becoming a mother has simplified so much in my life. I need to be home a lot more, and this naturally slows down the pace of life. I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit I must say. I have taken to ordering groceries- it saves me time and makes meal planning a breeze. Occasionally I’ll miss being able to walk outside late on Sunday morning and stroll to brunch responsibility free, or meeting up with friends on Friday night for an impromptu gathering. Those things still happen… but with so much planning ahead of time ;)

Jen Mayer