September has always meant back to something...school, routines, new Fall programs ( on and off t.v!) and for many new moms...back to work! Heading off on that big yellow ( or red and white!) bus comes with it a whole backpack ( or purse!) full of emotions whether you are big or a little. For me it has always been about new beginnings, the promises of a tidier desk, better grades and the bestest friendships ever!! It was scary but the thought of creating a better me was exciting!
Staying home often means being able to create your own schedule and that has often included making lots of healthy choices for you and your growing family. ( On the days after you have had a solid 5 hours of several sleep interruptions!!) Perhaps that has included several of my mom and baby fitness classes per week ( yeah!!), or an exercise routine that has better served you ( still yeah!) and dedicating more time in the kitchen preparing fresh and healthy meals. ( heck you were up anyway!) Going back to work doesn't mean that has to stop but it does require planning.
It is super natural to want it all and sister even more natural to feel overwhelmed when that doesn't happen, and it won't happen, really it won't. Just do yourself a favor and skip over the part where you try to prove me wrong and use that time to reward yourself with a hot bath, massage or girls only weekend somewhere fabulous with women who have decided to give no f**ks about having it all! Don't be mad at me for telling you the truth but here it is...you know all that stuff you were doing for your family while you were on mat leave? Well you are still going to have to do it PLUS your career.
I have been both a stay at home pinterest fail before pinterest was even thing mom to a "Start the car!" after I drop her off at daycare career gal and I can tell you they are both hella hard and super fabulous ( never at the same time but sometimes in the same day!) After observing smarty pants women for 15 years making the transition as successfully as possible ( considering occasionally EVERYONE ugly cries at drop off!) I have some tips to keep you at the top of the glass ( or at least out of the treat drawer ( or LCBO) until noon!)
Everything GREAT started with a PLAN!
PLAY! You have spent a whole year exercising and eating right ( hey everyone deserves Starbucks now and then!) Don't give that up just because you are back to work. Now is the time to get creative! Figure out what absolutely will not work for you! If you know that you will never ever ever work out after work ( and be honest...you haven't seen your family ( or your comfy couch) all day are you really going to leave them shortly after you get home?) then figure out the best plan for you. Perhaps you want to take advantage of the company gym situation...if you have been working out with me you know you can get a killer workout in 20 mins and that leaves plenty of time to eat that energizing luch you packed last night! See what I did there?
Here is one of my favorite back to work workouts! Quick, effective and can be done anywhere! Click HERE
The freshwoman 15 has been replaced by its nastier older sister the Office 10! Nastier because it is sneakier! Not only are we typically moving around less once we go back to work ( unless you bring your child with you and then really just be glad you are surviving!) our eating habits become shall we say more convenient. And the hard truth is that even though the cafeteria, cute sandwich shop or Sushi shack look like food we would make at home, it is guaranteed larger, saltier, fattier and loaded with more preservatives and chemicals. Master making your own delicious lunch and you are 80% more likely to keep your energy and your muscles up and your weight creep down.
CHEW ON THIS! Not every meal has to be a party or a food parade, it should be an opportunity for you to do something excellent for yourself. I am not suggesting that you need to give up meat or doughnuts if that is your thing, just ask yourself what is important to you and how you can best achieve that goal.
Baby steps....( we all need them!)
- Instead of having several snack and coffee breaks throughout the day, have one that really does it for you preferably in the morning. Grab whatever you like from the ( insert fav coffee house) and enjoy it. When that 3 pm slump comes around offer yourself a large glass of cold water, a piece of fruit and some nuts. You can hold on until dinner I promise.
- If making your lunch is a no go then at least try to pack some snacks and condiments that will help keep your sodium and fat level down. Try having your sandwich made and put your own better choice toppings such as low fat mayo or Dijon mustard from home or say goodbye to store bought salad dressings and ask your foodie friends for some fab great for you, great tasting options. It is what Rubbermaid was designed for. Check out my fav salad dressing here!
- Don't turn your office space or more specifically your top drawer into a Mac's Milk! O.k pretend you don't know what I mean! Make sure you are "treating yourself well! Research proves that when sweets were moved from on top of the desk, people ate 100 fewer calories a day ( which is the equivalent of not gaining 6 pounds in 1 year!) Oh now I have your attention!
- If you find yourself in a restaurant for lunch ( especially around the holiday season!) Enjoy! just have a nice light supper full of fresh greens and 4 oz of fish, chicken or vegetarian options!
- Every time you bring your lunch from home stick $ 15 in a clear jar on your desk! As you watch the cash pile up things of things that will feel way better than a stale cruller or a 3rd Espresso....and the go and get it! Guilt free..if your toddler can have $100 dollar shoes...you get where I am going with this...
- If all else fails, picture how you feel in a few months when it is time to rip up the Christmas party circuit..."treat yourself right" and forget the little black dress, you my friend will be showing up in your bathing suit...just make sure you grab a jacket!
Announce: or just talk about your concerns and goals with other like minded friends. If you are worried about leaving your child at daycare, gaining all the post baby weight back, afraid you have forgotten everything required of you at your job....do not keep it to yourself. If you are not comfortable reaching out then peruse the trillion FB groups that are filled with fabulous, rocket scientist smart women who are feeling the same way and learn from them. You are not alone ( even and especially if it feels like it!) Try to focus on the smallest little pleasures that work life brings, reconnecting with your colleagues, going to the bathroom by yourself, I mean ALL BY YOURSELF, not kissing off your lipstick immediately after application, unless that is how you are reconnecting with your colleagues JEALOUS! and that crazy, indescribably delicious invigorating going a second cause the first date was so incredible type feeling that can only happen when you are greeted at daycare by your biggest fan....
NEGOTIATE with yourself, your guilt, your partner or your support circle. There are going to be great days, but who the h*ll needs help through great? During the tough times or thoughts just remember that you do have choices and I think most of us forget that. If the house is untidy...fail, dinner comes from a box with a large K on it...fail, only things in the fridge ketchup and tequila...fail ( depending on how much tequila) It is time to negotiate! What are the things you can give up? You are raising a family ( yeah you!), have a career ( double yeah!) and you didn't yummly dinner.....SO WHAT! Try to imagine your best friend is feeling horrible about all those things...what would you say to her? You would say...SO WHAT? There are even mugs that say Friends don't care how messy your house is they are there to see you! So listen to your demands for sure, then negotiate what will work for you and what you need to let go. Even the hard core criminals sometimes give up the plane ride out of the country for a slice of pizza
For all of you going back or thinking about going back, remember it is really forward. I hope you make a PLAN to see me soon!