Sunday, April 11, 2010

New Working Mom Attitude

When I started studying for the California bar exam I felt a lot of emotions. I was afraid, nervous, anxious, overwhelmed, excited; somedays I wanted to cry and hide, somedays I felt like I could take on the whole world. As I approach motherhood I am feeling a lot of these emotions again. At the time, taking and passing the bar exam seemed like the most difficult thing in the world. And now, figuring out how to be a mom, a working mom, seems like the most difficult thing in the world.

In order to avoid completely cracking under the pressure, I developed a very specific attitude about the bar exam. I told myself that I was going to pass it, no matter what. Failure was not an option. I knew that I could not put myself through taking that exam a second time, I knew the work that had to be done, and I gritted my teeth and got it done. It was hard, it was stressful, it was exhausting, but I devoted myself entirely to it and I passed! I didn't allow myself to get caught up in the anxiety of the task at hand, I just did it.

I've decided to take this attitude towards my new role as a working mom. Yes, I have lots of emotions regarding working full time and raising a child. I know it is going to be a lot of hard work and will be down right exhausting at times. But I am not going to dwell on all that. I am not going to stress myself out prematurely with worrying about how I will feel when I drop the baby off at daycare or how I will feel if I should happen to work late one day. Instead I am focusing on telling myself that I will be a good working mom, a darn good working mom. Failure is not an option. I know what work has to be done (I need to care for my child, love my husband, be a productive employee, and keep my household in a functioning state) and I am just going to do it.

This new attitude has put me in planning mode, which I love. I'm already creating schedules in my head. For example, I plan on grocery shopping on Saturday night after the baby is asleep. Have you ever been to the grocery store at 10 o'clock on a Saturday night? I have and it's amazing! Yes, it is not the most glamorous way to spend a Saturday night but it is so nice to be able to shop freely without all the crowds. And I can always come home with a bottle of wine and a movie from Redbox and that makes for a pretty nice date night with the husband.

Since I have some time before Baby Brady's arrival, I am using it to try techniques that could save me time. Today I tried my first time saving technique, the freezer meal. The idea is to make a bunch of food at once, freeze it, and then you will have home cooked food that just needs to be re-heated. Sounds great for busy week nights.

For my first freezer meal I made gnocchi with spinach and white beans. This recipe is really good, pretty healthy, and really easy (I use jarred spaghetti sauce). So I cooked it all up.

While I was cooking this, I made a tomato and beef with a polenta crust casserole. It's a new recipe so we shall see if it's any good. My goal right now is to cook two big meals on Sunday. I'll freeze one meal and one will be for Sunday night dinner. I always cook a lot of food at a time so that we have lots of leftovers. So two big meals should cover us for four days of dinner and then we can have something quick and easy (like soup and grilled cheese) to fill in the gaps.

I make such a mess when I cook. And that wallpaper border is so ugly! It was there when we moved in and I've been meaning to get rid of it. It's been a year. Maybe someday it will be gone.

After everything was cooked, I divided the recipe into 2 gallon size freezer bags. Each bag should feed Brady and me for dinner (unless we are really, really hungry). I laid them out on a cookie sheet and stuck them in the freezer. I have heard that laying the food flat like this allows it to defrost quicker.

So far, so good. I'll have to see how this thaws out. Cooking the gnocchi and preparing the casserole only took about 2 hours. I think 2 hours of cooking on a Sunday in order to avoid cooking during the week is totally worth it. Hopefully this all works! And if it doesn't, there is always Del Taco down the street and the pizza place is on speed dial.

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