Going back to work after mat leave was tough for me for so many reasons:
1. I hated being away from Grace and guilty for having to do that;
2. Less hours in the day to do household things; and
3. Getting a healthy dinner on the table for Grace fast.
For the first thing, I set this as my 2017 New Years resolution. I haven't made any progress on it yet, but at least it is on my radar. For the second thing, I kinda figured this out and have a schedule in place for everything in my mind. I don't have a schedule out in the open because I don't want to freak people out or for people to think I am a freak. Getting healthy dinners on the table for Grace fast was a learning process. I feel like I can accomplish making a healthy meal in 30 minutes of less thanks to all the tips I gathered from girlfriends. Here are the tips that were shared with me and I have embraced:
MEAL PLAN - Every Sunday morning I write on post-it note the dinners for the entire week. I don't have them assigned to a specific day to have some flexibility.
BUY GROCERIES FOR THE WEEK AHEAD - After meal planning is going to the store with a grocery list of all the items I need to make all the meals for that week. This doesn't always work out but always good to have most of the items needed.
NIGHT BEFORE - Prep as much as you can or have the energy for. Some things can be chopped up ahead of time (like lettuce for salad) or meats marinated the night before for more flavor. If you don't have the energy for this much work, just putting the rice in the rice cooker the night before will greatly help the next day.
ONE POT DINNERS - Tasty on Buzzfeed videos have been a game changer for me. I didn't know it is possible to have everything cooking in one pot and have it done in less than 30 minutes. I definitely recommend going to the Tasty page and following some easy recipe videos.
SIGNATURE GO TO MEALS - Have a couple of easy signature go to meals up your sleeve that you can whip up with your eyes closed and preferably always have the ingredients on hand. My go to dinner that everyone loves? Shrimp wonton noodle soup with veggies. All you need to have on hand are frozen (locally made) shrimp wontons, chicken broth, noodles, and veggies. Throw them into a pot with some sesame oil and you are done!
One last thing, if you don't have the energy to cook, didn't buy groceries yet, and just "done" for the day, order in. There is no shame in that! Gotta do what you gotta do to feed the family!