Well mamas, here I am, celebrating the Fiscal New Year 2016 which for me officially started last week. I must acknowledge my complete disappearance from the internet during the 4th quarter of 2015, but it was inevitable: I work in retail. November & December are two short, innocent months that each take years off of my life. This year was no exception: I wrangled a normally two-person job as just one run-down lady and then I spent January mopping up the mess. February, sweet February, is the true new year when everything starts over and I can surface for some fresh air again. Me and the ground hog, we’re on the same schedule.
When reflecting on the last 3 months, all I can think of is being in constant survival mode, from managing work/daycare schedules to planning to spend 10, yes T-E-N, days with family over Christmas. I’m not sure if these are truly words of wisdom, but here are a few things that I did to gain efficiency and/or preserve sanity.
- Pre-think. Never, ever save thinking for in-the-moment. It slows you down and you’ll probably make a poor decision, like eating a 16 oz bag of Sour Patch Kids for breakfast. I gained back a solid 5 minutes per day by looking at the weather and picking out all 5 of my daughters daycare outfits on Sunday night, folding and stacking them in order for the week to come. It’s more likely that her socks actually match AND I gained 25 whole minutes of morning time back! And double that if I can plan my own outfits in advance! Neurotic? A little. Efficient? A lot!
- Along with pre-thinking, pre-prep. I have astonished myself with my new-found fondness for meal planning. I get with Brandon on Saturday afternoon and we negotiate out dinners for the week, me constantly reminding him that Munchery food-delivery is not really that delicious for the price and still requires microwaving. Then we make stuff. It’s meal planning, but it’s also doing things like prepping the 5 bottles of milk for daycare lunches so they are handy in the fridge, ready to go each morning. I also have reduced both thinking AND prepping by planning Sunday-Thursday dinners to be something that makes for a good leftover lunch the following day. Perhaps a tad sad for my toddler who doesn’t get unique school lunches, ever. And if she didn’t like dinner, oh well, maybe she’ll like it better cold during daylight hours? (This has often been the case, specifically when dinner involves melted cheese, which she HATES, because she insists on defying toddler stereotypes) But she generally gets a good square meal, and I get to subtract 5 instances of thinking and prepping from my life!
- Make (fun) commitments. Do you know me personally? Then you know I am the definition of a homebody. Once I’ve crossed the threshold from work to couch, don’t even bother trying to pull me back out. And now that going out involves prepping a toddler? Forget it. I do ostensibly love to do things, of course. And yet, the holidays were so overwhelming with work that I easily could have spent my weekends inside and alone with a book. But I rallied and made commitments with all my favorite friends and we had a blast doing festive things around San Francisco. Putting things on paper and telling my friends I would be there makes it happen. This included friendsgiving at Golden Gate Park, The Nightmare Before Christmas @ the SF Symphony on an impromptu mom-date, a visit to the Dickens Fair (apparently a 30+ year tradition!), hosting an Apres-Ski brunch party at Delancy St., venturing to the Fairmont Hotel to see the life-size ginger bread house, taking the toddler to a family-friendly Symphony Sing-a-long at Davies Hall, and even venturing south for a German Christmas Market. The last 3 months were a blur, but if anything stands out, it was all of those special adventures with friends around the city. (Thank guys!)
- Remember what “vacation” means. Every single year we go home for Christmas and every single year we somehow forget that being home is not a vacation. We love and adore our family, but running around (toddler in tow) seeing everyone, attending parties, navigating multiple feet of mountain snow– this isn’t what “vacations” are made off. This year we even packed in a four-generation family portrait session at the Utah State Capitol (above). Each year we try to come home a couple days early to have some time to ourselves and regroup, but I think next year we can trim our 10-day-trip to 5 or 6, and have 3 or 4 days to really get some R&R at home, or maybe even sneak in a night in Napa!
- Don’t make New Years resolutions. Make fiscal new year resolutions instead! Because you can spend January watching everyone else eat salad and go to the gym while you continue to enjoy cookies and Netflix. Trust me. It’s satisfying.
Copyright 2016 © i am a working mom blog
header photo By micadew from US (Happy New Year 2016) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
all other photos are mine.