Working Mom Wednesday

Happy Hump Day! It's a downhill slide to Friday from here, my friends! 

Don't forget Mother's Day this weekend!

There's still time for you to put something special together or order something nice from Amazon, so get on that! 

I do recommend you learn from me and don't send something to your mom that includes something perishable that will melt in the heat...because I live in Florida. And it's hot. Oops.

Today I thought it would be fun to talk about something near and dear to my heart, which is being a working mom. I will be completely honest in that even if I didn't need to work, I would still work. I really enjoy working - seriously! I've been working from way before it was probably legal, starting off as a babysitter for a few years before getting my first official job as a busser at a restaurant when I was 15. I worked at McDonald's for a couple of years in high school, became a server at a number of different restaurants, was in the military, was a bartender and a barista before finally joining Corporate America in June of 2010. 

When I started in my current career, my son and I were transferred from Central Illinois where we had family and friends to Western Massachusetts where we did not know a single person. I'm talking not one person. And I was a single mom, so I didn't really have any help from anyone other than my silly 6 year old. Was it hard? SURE! But I'm a firm believer that it's the hard stuff and how we deal with it that builds our character. And I might be a bit biased, but I have an AWESOME character. 

No matter how much I do enjoy working and the accomplishment I feel after a hard day of work, there are times when it is a struggle to be a working mom. Either the baby kept me up all night long or Justin is being a bunghole and got behind on homework or he's having a teenage meltdown and Jules won't let me make dinner or I just want more than a couple of minutes between when I get home from work and Jason leaves to have a conversation with my husband...I'd be lying if I told you there aren't times I wish I could be home more/all the time. This week with Jules being sick has been one of those times. Poor baby :-(

Still, I wouldn't change my working for anything and thought I'd share my top 3 tips that helps me make it work. Because let's be real, we all need help and ideas to stay afloat sometimes!

My top 3 working mom tips!

MEAL PLAN

I know I've been talking about doing a meal planning post since I started this dang blog and I still haven't done it - SORRY! Here's an abbreviated post on how I do it. 

First and foremost - plan your meals and grocery list. I do this every Saturday/Sunday and while you can use any old notebook to do it, I found this on Amazon and like it because it's a better size to keep in my purse and it's just a bit more organized than a normal notebook. 

I know some people like to do a full week's worth of meals on a Sunday and then eat them the rest of the week, but I personally think that's disgusting and can't do it. I'm sorry if you do that and can get away with it, but I can't stomach eating chicken that was prepped on a Sunday 5 days later - gross! Plus I seem to get food poisoning by just looking at something that's partially spoiled and I can't handle that ish; ain't nobody got time for that!

Instead of prepping all of my meals ahead of time, I make all of our meals as simple as possible and make them either at the time of the meal or a day or two ahead. For example, I always eat my breakfast and dinner the same day I make it (unless we're having leftover spaghetti or something) but I make my lunch the night before I plan on eating it, usually while I'm cleaning up after dinner and doing the dishes. 

I rarely if ever eat out while at work since I always prep my lunches one or two nights beforehand. I also like to try to eat different stuff for lunches since I tend to get sick of eating the same thing every single day. For example, this week I ate pulled BBQ chicken with rice and broccoli on Monday and Tuesday, leftover dinner on Wednesday (honey garlic meatballs, noodles, broccoli), and I'll have chicken sausage, rice and broccoli on Thursday and Friday. I eat a lot of chicken sausage with rice and broccoli, however Trader Joe's, Aldi, and even Walmart have an awesome variety of nitrate-free chicken sausage that doesn't have any nasty shit in it (mostly anyway) and because there's a variety of flavors I don't get sick of eating it on the regular. 

My biggest take away with meal planning is to plan all of your meals on paper and make them as simple as possible. I prefer to make things that don't require a recipe or if they do require a recipe, it's nothing crazy that I'll look at on Wednesday night and be like, NOPE and then order a pizza because I'm effing exhausted. Most Wednesday's and Thursday's we end up eating leftovers or something super easy like...you guessed it; chicken sausage :-)

I save my complicated Pinterest recipes for Sunday night dinner - I love Sunday night dinner!

Moving on to my next tip which is to...

Let shit go

Seriously. You cannot be a working mom and have junior and juniorette in ballet, baseball, basketball, and tumbling, expect them to be on the honor roll to your detriment because you have to help them with homework every night, have a clean house, make a gourmet dinner, provide homemade, organic cupcakes at all school functions, watch all of your stories on tv, drink wine like a boss with your friends, have regular sex with your spouse/SO, exercise and keep yourself fit, etc. 

You need to prioritize the stuff that is important to you and let some of that other stuff go. I refuse to have Justin in more than 1 extracurricular activity at a time - it doesn't benefit him or me to be running around from sport to activity to home for dinner at 8pm and still having 3 hours of homework to do and a messy house and I haven't even sat down yet and I'm going to lose my marbles...NOPE. I also don't try to stress myself out about cleaning because it will always be there and it will get taken care of eventually (...my effing bathroom mirror is still dirty...). I always take time for myself to get my workout in before going to work so I don't lose my mind and I try to take an hour after the kids are in bed or occupied to watch something on tv that I want to watch in complete silence. 

You may have heard this before, but you know when you're on a plane and they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before helping anyone else? This is so applicable in every day life. Take care of yourself and then worry about everyone else - in doing so you'll be better able to take care of everyone else, I promise. 

And my last and final tip...

Get new-ish clothes

I am going to include some affiliate links here, but hear me out...I'm not just trying to get you to subscribe so I get paid. I use Le Tote myself and have used it regularly since I became pregnant, and it has been a lifesaver for me. 

Full disclosure - these links are affiliate links for Le Tote. What that means to you is if you click on them and decide to subscribe, I will get a small financial thank you from Le Tote for the recommendation. I would never recommend anything to you that I myself do not use and I have been a member of Le Tote for almost 2 years now so it's obviously worth the recommendation!

I love having a pretty new outfit to wear into work. That may seem super materialistic, but the fact of the matter is, I feel better when I look better and I'm pretty sure most of you are the same way. As a manager in Corporate America, I've always made it a point to dress the part of the position I want, not the position I have. Meaning I might be a middle manager, but I like to dress like I'm a VP #respectmyauthoritah

When I found out I was pregnant with Jules and then started looking at how freaking expensive maternity clothes are, I was like...shit...leggings and tunics it is (which is totally fine if that's your deal - it's just not mine). Then I remembered reading about Le Tote and how awesome their maternity clothes were, so I decided to give them a shot.

There are 3 different options for maternity boxes:

  • 3 clothing items & 2 accessories for $69/month
  • 4 clothing items for $69/month
  • 2 clothing items & 1 accessory for $49/month 

I chose the 4 clothing items box starting when I was about 6 months pregnant, since I could no longer squeeze myself in my tight dresses and it was getting embarrassing for me and everyone else. I always got 4 dresses in each box and loved every single dress I was ever sent. Seriously, when you're huge and pregnant and get something new you can wear whenever you want, it makes a huge difference in how you feel while waddling into work while 38 weeks pregnant and miserable. 

How does it work?

You can click on the link above for a complete FAQ on the website, or read below for more from how my brain interprets it.

You sign up and fill out a style/size profile and then you are also able to go through all of the clothing available and like items you'd like to have sent to you. Next you get a text/email stating your box is ready to be styled. If you don't like what they picked for you, you can trade those items out for a different item - I would always trade out any shirts/pants/skirts for dresses since I hate wearing pants pretty much all the time, but I especially LOATHE wearing pants while pregnant. I have found that I will typically only get 1 or two of my "liked" items per tote, but some of my favorite items have actually been things that I didn't "like" - trust the process.

You'll receive your box a couple of days after it's shipped and the items are already washed and ready for you to wear! Once you're sick of wearing those items, you send them back in a bag they include in your box and then wait for your next tote. What's SUPER cool is if you really love something, you can just keep it and purchase it at a discounted price (compared to retail price).  

After having Jules I put my account on hold until I went back to work and realized I was for sure not fitting in any of my pre-baby clothes. Once I faced that harsh reality, I signed up for the classic subscription which is a bit cheaper than the maternity membership. 

  • 3 clothing items & 2 accessories for $59/month
  • 4 clothing items for $59/month
  • 2 clothing items & 1 accessory for $39/month

The past couple of totes I've gotten have included items that I never would have picked myself, other than the 1 or 2 items I had "liked", and those have ended up being some of my favorite pieces. I've branched out from just work dresses to shirts and casual dresses and I've even kept a couple of them. 

So why am I recommending you subscribe to a $60/month clothing subscription service? Because it has helped this 16 month postpartum mama who goes to work full-time, likes to look like I have my shit together, and is still between sizes feel good about herself. And that's really saying something because we all know how hard it can be sometimes to feel good about yourself, espsecially when the house is a disaster and/or the baby won't eat/sleep and/or the teenager keeps locking himself in the bathroom for way too long and you just can't even. 

Le Tote

Have any of you tried Le Tote or any of the other subscription services? I tried StitchFix a few years ago, but wasn't overly impressed. The clothes weren't great quality and were expensive for the quality (I went with the cheap box and could have gotten better stuff at Forever21, in my opinion). 

Do you have any tried and true tips for me to help me out? I'm always up for more ways to make my life easier!

See ya tomorrow!