I don't know if any of you get Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP email newsletter. While they often make me roll my eyes, it's sort of one of those things that I can't look away from. GP is the "expert" on a variety of subjects - somtimes there are fashion tips, recipes, hotel recommendations, etc. The life wisdom emails are the ones that I really get rolling about. I found it funny that last week, right after I posted about my return to work, GOOP popped into my mailbox and what was the topic: “finding a good balance between having a career and being a mom".
This I gotta read.
My cynical thoughts aside (i.e. anyone could find balance with a personal chef and live-in nanny), I actually found myself agreeing with some of the recommendations, or at least saying, "I do that". So using Juliet de Baubigny's template, here are my comments:
Early Bird. There is a funny episode of Modern Family where Claire, the mom, talks about how she gets up before everyone else. Phil, the dad, doesn't believe her. Thinking back to growing up, my mom also got up before all of us to get ready and then make our lunches, etc. I think this is the first initiation into motherhood - getting up early. Since returning to work, I get up at 5:30, get myself ready and then wake up Maggie. 5:30 is freakin' early. But there are several things that help me. 1) I pack my lunch the night before and put it in the fridge. 2) I lay out my clothes the night before. I think this is seriously the thing that helps me the most. I don't know why I didn't do this pre-Maggie. 3) Blow outs (that is further down Juliet's list). 4) Minimal makeup (again this is further down Juliet's list). 5) Having my bags all ready to go - I seriously have turned into a pack mule. I have my regular bag/purse, my lunch bag, my pump bag and a cooler with me every day.
Breakfast. I must eat breakfast. MUST. I have always eaten my breakfast at work and that has not changed. However, in the morning I often am so hungry that I feel lightheaded so I put a carnation instant breakfast in a nalgene and drink that on the way to work and eat my 2nd breakfast of oatmeal when I get there.
Hair. Juliet recommends a weekly blow out. Ok. I do not get weekly salon blowouts (I wish!). But I do find that if I wash and blow out my hair at home at the beginning of the week, I can make it to the end of the week with good hair and not having to re-wash my hair. SAVES a lot of time in the morning. Daily Candy has a tutorial on a salon-quality blow out at home. I asked my MIL to get me two things for Christmas to assist me in this process: 1) A Revlon Hair Dryer/Round Brush in one tool which i am obsessed with and 2) The Garnier Blow Dry Perfector Kit. I haven't tried this blow-dry perfector thing but I will let you know how it goes when I do. I think not washing my hair so frequently has improved the quality of my hair as well. I am lucky that I tend to have dry hair so I don't really have to worry about the grease factor. That said, I did sort of have to "train" my hair. I started only washing my hair every other day a few years ago and since then have lengthened the time between washes. Now I wash my hair every 4th day. I also decided to grow out my hair a bit. I do not think having short hair is easier than long hair. With long hair, you can always default to putting it back. With short hair, you HAVE to style it. At least in my case you do, lest you look like a man.
Makeup. I am the queen of makeup. I LOVE IT. However, I'm not about to get up 15 minutes earlier just to put make up on. While I was pregnant, I actually cut back on my makeup a lot because my skin was going wack-a-doo. So instead of using foundation, concealor, powder, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara and lip product, I now use 4 things: bronzer/powder, blush, concealor and eye shadow. I generally tend to use high-end makeup because I think the quality is better and I think it lasts longer than cheap makeup, therefore rendering it more cost effective. However, my favorite bronzer is like $4. I started using the Laura Mercier (ie expensive) bronzer. When that ran out, I bought this NYC powder from Target to fill in until I could get to Blush in the 3rd ward to restock. Turns out I like the NYC one a lot better. I currently have the Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder in Translucent Glow. I use Nars blush. It is the best blush ever - and blush is one of my favorite make-up things. I use Bobbi Brown under-eye concealor. (I have been pretty much sold on this one since getting a birthday makeover with CD (then CS) at Saks in Atlanta like six years ago. I totally was hungover and we had these Origins facials scheduled and I puked right outside the Saks 5th Avenue entrance to Phipps Plaza. The Bobbi Brown makeup lady was so glamourous. I had a mini-crush on her.) I have a fun Smashbox palette of eye shadow and that's it. Sometimes I'll step it up and add mascara in. (Dior Show - best mascara).
Work. Juliet has a bunch of tips re: time management and work. I am at work from 6:45 AM until 5:00 PM four days a week. Most of this time, I am working solo so I don't really have this rush from meeting to meeting, etc. And for the most part, this has made pumping pretty easy. I blocked off 3 half hour time slots on my outlook calendar (which is visible to all of my coworkers) so that people don't schedule meetings for me during that time. However, if a meeting does get scheduled, it is pretty easy just to move my pumping time a bit. It isn't too often that I will have to pump in a church basement or Walmart parking lot (as mentioned in my back to work post). I have my own office with a door too, so that helps. I emailed a lot of my working mom friends to figure out a system for pumping prior to going back to work and that really helped me. Another thing that I do differently at work is pay for parking. For the first 3 1/2 years here, I parked in the free lot, that was 1/2 mile away. I never minded this because 1) I'm cheap and 2) I got a mile of walking in everyday. However, it was time consuming and so now to save time I pay for parking in the lot by my office. This saves me about 30 minutes a day and actually cuts down on my commute time too.
Dinner. I have yet to figure this part out. (Tips, suggestions welcome!) The first week back to work, Nate took on a lot of the dinner making. In the past, it didn't really matter what time we ate and if we didn't have an ingredient, one of us just ran to the grocery store. That is difficult to do now particularly because Maggie's bedtime routine usually starts when she gets crabby, around 6:45-7 PM. We either have to eat around 6 PM or wait until 8 PM. I am starving when I get home so 8 PM isn't going to cut it. The second week went a little better. I spent some time this past weekend planning meals and then going grocery shopping to make sure we had all the stuff for the meals. I think this might be a bit easier than thinking "what are we going to have for dinner" every night. While I realize we won't be making as many elaborate meals anymore, I'm not about to subject us to frozen tv dinners at night either.
Exercise. Juliet did her exercise in the morning. I cannot do that right now because I don't want to get up an hour earlier and my sports bras fit better at night. The go to the Y after Maggie's in bed plan worked really well last week. I'm going to try to do that 3-4 times a week. I think this will be even easier when the weather is nicer and it is light outside longer because then I can just run outside.
So I guess the short story is pre-planning goes a long way and in the long run, saves you a lot of time. Pretty no-brainer suggestions, but I needed to have a baby to figure this out!
If you want to read the entire GOOP newsletter, click here. I bet you $100 that you will roll your eyes at least once. :)