Things I’ve Learned Since Returning to Work

So, I’ve been working outside the home for almost 6 months now. It’s definitely one of those weird time paradigms because it seems like I just started but I also can’t imagine my days/life without this job.

Things are going extremely well. I’ve settled into a good routine and I whole-heartedly enjoy what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis. I’m excited to start and build a career here. And it’s more than just a job for me now – it’s a social experience, too, which makes going to work enjoyable and even fun.

I wanted to share some of my thoughts – things I’m loving and not loving – about working.

Eliminate or cut back on the time sucks. This isn’t a nice to do, it’s a must do. I’ve cut back tremendously on the things that suck time out of my day – especially in the mornings when I’m rushing around and in the evening when I’m home and spending uninterrupted time with my boys. Prepping things like work and running clothes, coffee, lunch bags for the boys, lunch for me all save my husband and I a great amount of time in the mornings. I also don’t check social media or do much of anything on my phone until I am on the bus. It’s so easy to plan to check one thing and then 15 minutes later, the phone is still in your hand.

Be in the moment. I often keep my cell phone in my purse when I walk in the door. If it’s not too late, we have dinner as a family which is often followed (at least the last few weeks!) by family games – Uno, Go Fish, Zinko, Kids Monopoly are the favorites at the moment. I love my Garmin Vivoactive because I get notifications when I get a text, call or email – so I can quickly glance down and see who it is. 99% of the time it’s not urgent and my time can be spent entirely on my little guys without the distraction of the cell phone.

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Dry Shampoo is a life saver. I like having long(ish) hair. I tried going short when I was in high school and it was a huge disaster. One of my biggest worries with returning to work was how I was going to manage the hair situation. After 10 years in the Army and West Point, I got very comfortable with the shower->bun hair style because I had no other choice. It made the morning prep minimal. One of the best inventions was dry shampoo. I wash my hair ~3x/week – and dry shampoo allows me to get from one wash to the next while still looking presentable for work!

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I need at least 30 minutes in morning before I run. I guess technically I don’t “need” 30 minutes, but I like my pre-run routine to be relaxing and calm. No rushing or frantically trying to do things. The rest of the morning is like that and so I love the quietness of the morning. I will happily set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier – or cut my run short – in order to have an extra 10-15 minutes to sit on the couch with my husband.

Mondays are my make or break day. This is the most important day of the week for me. If I start Monday off already in the “red” with sleep, the rest of the week is going to be a struggle. The best weeks – sleep, running, eating – coincide with quiet Sunday evenings where I’m in bed early and get a solid night of sleep. I’ve learned to be very defensive of my Sunday afternoons and evenings so that the week starts off with a bang.

I’m sleeping when I can. I don’t do much on my phone on the bus these days. I throw on some easy listening music on Pandora and close my eyes. Even if I can get 15-20 minutes in each direction, that’s a good amount of sleep to add to my nighttime hours. Sleep trumps all during the commute.

I have to constantly take a step back and view the big picture. There are plenty of mornings where I find myself longing for those lazy days during the week – wake up when I want, get boys off to school and then have the day to run, blog, respond to social media comments, cook, clean. Or when it takes 2.5 hours to commute home at night and all I want to do is cry from exhaustion. But, I have the desire to have a successful career in this industry – and the dreams and visions I have of myself 5, 10, 15 years down the road always help me get out of bed and get the day going.

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My husband is the glue holding this all together. Honestly, life would be a million and a half more crazy right now if my husband wasn’t amazing. He has taken on a TON of the duties I had done – from getting the boys off to school, to cooking dinner, food shopping…And the truly most incredible part of all of this is that he not only does it, but he does it with such joy and happiness. Although it’s not easy, I think he truly loves and enjoys having more responsibility with the boys and the home.

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Celebrate the small victories. It’s SO easy to feel stressed or overwhelmed with how much has to happen each week or each day. The weeks my husband are gone are chaotic. I’ve learned to treat it a lot like a marathon – focus on small pieces at a time and celebrate each milestone. I do a small celebratory dance on my way back to the car after I drop the boys off at my sister’s. Boys dressed and ready for school, a run, shower, hair and makeup for me and all out of the house before 7 IS a victory and something to celebrate and feel proud of.

Hope you are having a wonderful week! Good Luck to everyone racing this weekend =)

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    11 thoughts on “Things I’ve Learned Since Returning to Work

    1. I love this! I’ve also learned many of these lessons since becoming a mom of 2 and teaching/coaching. While my commute is MUCH shorter than yours, it is still spent in a car, but I actually enjoy it because it helps me prepare for the day and then unwind after a long day of work. I would love to see another day in the life for you just to see how you fit in running on those busy mornings. I have to wake up at 3:45 AM to get a run in or else it doesn’t happen. And yes, Sunday nights/Monday mornings certainly make or break my level of exhaustion by Thursday!

      • We have talked about it and it’s definitely not out of the question.

        Right now, however, it makes more sense for us to stay where we are for a bunch of reasons…one of which is that my parents live within 20 min right now and are able to help watch my boys (which saves a ton of $ on childcare).

        But even if we move to NJ (where my sister lives), the commute would still be about 70-75 min. The commute is just brutal around here if you don’t live directly in the city (which we don’t want to do nor can we afford to!).
        nycrunningmama recently posted..1:28:10 Half Marathon PR!My Profile

    2. I love these lessons you’ve learned. It really does put thing into perspective doesn’t it? I’m so happy that you’ve found a great job that suits you and have found a routine that works for you and your family. I feel the same way about my husband – he definitely is a big reason why our family is able to function the way it does! xo

    3. Mondays are make or break for me too – they really do set the tone for the week, whichever way they happen to go. Fair play to you for getting so much in to your week AND being able to keep a great perspective on everything, sounds like you’re on top of it all.
      Fiona recently posted..Happy St. Patrick’s Day!My Profile

    4. Love your attitude. I’m glad you are creating and savoring those board game times with the boys along with everything else. Your husband sounds wonderful, you two make a good team!

    5. Love this!!!! So glad things are going so well for you. I am so with you on the dry shampoo and only washing hair a few times a week. ITS WONDERFUL!!!!

    6. Love this post! Your hair always looks great. Which dry shampoo do you use and do you use it after a run?