Back to Work After Baby - Top 8 Tips For Moms

by Samantha on January 4, 2015

Simple but proven tips for a stress-free return to the workplace

baby mom

The time has come.

You’ve spent precious moments with your bundle of joy but like many situations in life, this, too, must come to an end.

Work beckons.

And as much as you’d like to stay at home just a little while longer, there are bills to pay and mouths to feed.

A return to work after having a baby can be one of the most stressful and emotional times for moms. After carrying your child for nine months, giving birth then being so closely attached to your baby during this special period, the thought of leaving him or her can cause feelings of both sadness and stress. As well, many moms feel guilty about having to make this decision, which often doesn’t make things easier.

Before going back to the outside workforce, you likely have a number of questions swirling through your mind, often with no clear answers. Some of these likely include:

- Who’s going to take care of the baby while I’m at work?

- How much is childcare going to cost?

- Is my baby going to be okay in the care of someone other than me?

 - How am I going to balance work, home and family responsibilities?

All of these questions are valid and normal, as well as important to be answered for both the parent and the child’s well-being.

Rest assured that you will be fine, and so will your child.

That being said,there are a few things to keep in mind and to have in place before you re-enter the workplace. Follow these simple tips and you and your little one will be ready for your return to work:

Back to Work After Baby - Top 8 Tips For Moms

1) Eliminate Guilty Feelings - Before anything, remember: you are doing this in the best interest of your baby and your family. While it’s natural to feel guilty, keep in mind that your return to work is going to allow you to provide your baby with the things that he or she needs, as well as to bring in needed finances to your household. While it may be difficult at first and you may feel guilt as well as a fear of separation anxiety, know that your actions are what’s best for your family, and will ultimately make a positive difference in the quality of life for all of you.

2) Decide on Breast or Bottle - Regardless of your choice, make provisions for how your child will be fed while you’re away. If you’re going to continue breastfeeding, make sure that you’ve made provisions accordingly. This may include either freezing your milk and/or making sure that you have a place to pump when you return to work, as well as a supportive work environment and employer who will accommodate your choice. If you’re going to choose formula, make sure to test the options so that you’re feeling comfortable with the right choice that your baby will drink when you’re at work. You may also want to consider a combination of both, so investigate your options to assure that everything’s in place when you go back to work.

3) Don’t Try To Do Everything - There are only 24 hours in a day and you’re now going to be working outside the home. For these reasons, make a realistic schedule about what you can and can’t get done, and stick to it. Part of your personal sanity will be directly related to knowing that you’ve done everything you can, and everything else will have to wait. You’re doing what needs to be done for your family - working and taking care of your child - and that’s enough.

4) Get Supports in Place At Home - Whether it’s from your partner, friends, neighbours or relatives, knowing that you’ve got things covered off at home will provide you with a huge feeling of relief as you return to the workforce. Help could range anywhere from childcare arrangements for your baby (see below for more details) to more specific help with cooking, cleaning and other household chores. The goal is to make things as stress-free as possible for you as you return to work so take help wherever you can.

5) Line Up Childcare Arrangements - Depending on where you live, childcare can be one of the biggest decisions to make, both from a financial and emotional point of view. In many urban centres, you may need to have lined up childcare for your baby as soon as you became pregnant; in others, there is more flexibility in terms timing and the choice of caregiver. In both instances, it’s important that you (and your partner) are comfortable with the final decision so that when you leave for work, you are also confident that you’re leaving your precious baby in competent and loving hands. Take the time to thoroughly research and check out your options before making this important decision. As well, do a “dry run” with your care provider a few weeks leading up to your return so that your baby, your caregiver and you are comfortable about leaving your child in care as you return to work.

6) Lower Your Expectations - There are only 24 hours in a day and you’ll be working through many of them. For this reason, it’s important to be realistic about what can conceivably achieved during the work week and the weekends as well. Now that you’re back at work, the house may not be as spic and span as you may like, and laundry may remain unfolded for a time. This is okay. There’s only so much you can do. If you’re able to, engage your partner to help out more, or, if finances allow, hire someone to assist with cleaning and other household chores. If this is not possible, lower your expectations of what can realistically be done in the home and focus on the fact that you’re doing the most important thing - taking care of your family by returning to work.

7) Be Clear on Work Responsibilities - This includes hours of employment, flexibility in scheduling if possible, and day-to-day duties. Ideally, it’s best to speak to your boss or supervisor before you set foot in the office or workplace so that you both have a clear understanding and agreement about what is expected when you return. When you’re both on the same page, things will run more smoothly and there will be no surprises - which are the last thing you need now that you’re back at work.

8) Get an Ally or Good Friend at Work - The return to work will be made less stressful if you know that there’s someone there that you can count on for support and a friendly ear. Ideally, it would be someone who can understand and empathize with the demands of being a working parent and in an ideal scenario, it may even be your boss. Either way, knowing that you have someone in the workplace that you can speak to about your transition back to work and its inherent challenges can make a world of difference to your state of mind.

To read this article on HUFFINGTON POST, click here:

Eight Tips For Moms Going Back to Work Post Baby

Have you recently returned to work after maternity leave? What strategies and tips would you recommend for coping during this transitional time? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.

VIDEO: New Mom Tips

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Top 5 Summer Safety Tips For Kids

by Samantha on July 23, 2013

Girl smiling

School’s out and the kids are antsy. Is it any wonder that parents worry about their children getting into trouble during the dog days of summer?

I recently had the opportunity to provide some simple yet important advice to students who were just heading out of class for their summer holidays. During the last week of school, Toronto Hydro reminded kids about some of the things that they should consider during their time off. While some things may seem obvious to us adults, kids will be kids, and their curiosity is often the cause of their behaviour - good or bad. For this reason, I was thrilled to be part of a fun but educational event that provided kids with the opportunity to learn about electrical safety both indoors and outdoors, as well as some simple do’s and don’ts.

In order to engage the kids in the safety discussion, Toronto Hydro provided a multi-stationed, hands-on, interactive display which included a number of items that were not surprisingly of great interest to the kids. All of the items on the display were scaled to miniature yet proportionate size so that the kids could get a realistic idea about the items. Included in the display was a transformer and power station, a miniature swimming pool complete with a woman cleaning it with a long metal pole (guess what this part of the display was supposed to represent) and many more items that kept the kids interested.

All in all, it was a great day out and the kids left for their summer vacation with the knowledge of how to be safe during the summer holidays.

Following are the Top 5 Summer Safety Tips For Kids:

1) Look Around - It’s easy for kids to forget about their surroundings in the excitement of playing in the warm summer sun.  Before starting any type of outdoor play, remember to remind kids to put an imaginary spotlight on their surroundings. This means looking up, looking down and all around their play areas in order to make sure that the coast is clear for play.

2)Go Fly a Kite - But Look Up First - Before kids let loose with that kite make sure to check the sky for power lines. The last thing that they need is an accident because they forgot to check the sky above them. Kites are great but unfortunately, they can be dangerous if they get caught up in power lines. The string may conduct electricity right through you to the ground, causing what could be a severe accident or, in worse case scenarios, fatalities. Teach kids that if their kit becomes entangled in overhead power lines, that they should not attempt to remove it under any circumstances. This is the time that they should leave it be and let an adult assess the situation. The idea of looking up also applies to trampolines. Parents - remember to never set up a trampoline with overhead lines close by.

3)Stay Away From Electrical Equipment - As tempting as they may seem to kids, those green transformer boxes located down the street aren’t to be played with. Little do kids know, they house potentially dangerous electrical equipment inside. For this reason alone, kids need to be taught to steer clear and stay far away from these boxes. On a similar vein, teach your kids that they are never to poke sticks or wires into the enclosures. If  for any reason, the kids  come across any unlocked or damaged equipment, teach them to tell an adult who should call their local electrical utility company  immediately.

4)Water and Electricity - A Deadly Combination - We need both of these things to function but kids often don’t know that mixing the two can be dangerous. Most household electrical accidents involve the inadvertent connection of these two items. Kids need to be taught that anything electrical should be kept well away from water. Remind them and double check to make sure that electrical devices such as radios, electric lawnmowers and trimmers should be always a fair distance away from the swimming pool.

5)Parents Need to Stay Safe Too! - It’s not just the kids who are prone to trouble; parents can find themselves in hot water as well, if they’re not mindful. Between climbing ladders to clean the eavestroughs, or digging in the backyard while gardening, it’s important for parents to check out the lay of the land before proceeding. As always, remember to call before you dig.

For more tips and advice on safety for families around the home, go to www.TorontoHydro.com/safety

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How to Clean Your House in 15 Minutes or Less

by Samantha on June 28, 2013


The phone rings or you get a text:

“Hi! I’m in the neighbourhood and I’m coming over. See you soon!”

You freeze.

After all, if your mother-in-law, long-lost friend from grade school or pastor is in the area, it’s really hard to tell them “no,” and that they can’t come over. There are repercussions, you see, that will make things so much more difficult, if you choose to deny them.

Now, all of us who are parents know that it’s virtually impossible to keep a consistently clean house at any given time. We all know that kids, by definition, means chaos, and with chaos comes mess. It’s the natural order of things. On any given day, my home looks like a cross between a war zone where fingerpaints, markers and crayons are the weapon of choice, ground zero of a brazen attack by angry toys and a twisted dystopia of food stuffs, where remnants of last night’s dinner can (embarrassingly) be found in bedrooms, bathrooms and basements. Ugh.

For these reasons alone, the sheer embarrassment of this chaos being revealed to those fortunate souls who are child-free, or have grown children (or perhaps just a housecleaner) is not to be underestimated. No, as much as people say that they understand that the house is a complete disaster, they really don’t and, don’t kid yourselves, they will go away, shaking their heads and wonder incredulously how you, yes you could be such a slob. Oh, yes – you’re a bad parent, to boot.

It’s just plain humiliating and not worth the stress. Accordingly, I’ve come up with some ways to mitigate the madness and make the impromptu visit by unexpected guests occur without you having to crawl into a hole from embarrassment. Following are some simple tips on how to clean your house in 15 minutes or less:

1)   Time Management – You have 15 minutes so make it good. You don’t have a lot of time so here’s what I suggest: three blocks of 5 minutes for each area and no more. It may seem impossible but you can do it. The finite time period will get you going in no time. Nothing like a tight deadline to light a fire under us, right?

2)   Main Area – This is the first thing they’re going to see when they walk in the door so make sure that your guest doesn’t have such a horrifying first impression that they’ll never forget and will, similarly, never stop talking about what a slob you are to anyone who will listen. Kids have toys, and many of these toys have millions of little pieces, much to our irritation. Ditto for Lego which, when stepped on, is a painful reminder of how many little pieces there are on the floor and otherwise. Be prepared and always have a few storage bins or boxes in your main area (living room, dining room, etc.) where you can throw errant toys in a frantic hurry. Chuck them in, and call it a day. If the bin is overflowing and can’t be covered, that’s okay. At least the mess is centralized instead of scattered all over the floor. Give yourself 1 minute to do a really quick sweep and if you’re really on a roll, do a quick Swifter to make the floor look a bit better. Only if you have time, of course.

3)   Kitchen – You have five minutes so do the basics: any dirty dishes need to be put in the sink. Make sure there are none on the counters or tables – it makes everything look a lot messier. If the dish count isn’t too horrendous, take a couple of minutes and power-wash a few dishes. If you’re fortunate enough to have a dishwasher, load it up and close the door. Out of sight and out of mind. The less items that there are piled in the sink the better.

4)   Bathrooms – This is one of the most important areas to focus on and here’s why: it’s really gross to go into someone’s bathroom and it’s kind of unclean. Toothpaste globs in the sink and a toilet that hasn’t been cleaned very recently is nasty, even in your own home. In someone else’s, it’s hard to forget. The plan of attack in the wake of your “15-minute warning” from your guest should be this: one minute to dump some bleach or cleaner in your toilet and to scrub like you mean it, one minute to add spray clean your sink, on the faucets and on any obvious areas of dirt that need to be scrubbed and one minute to do a really quick once-over with a sponge on all of the main counters and walls. Take one to two minutes to sweep and you’re done.

5)   Assign Jobs – Your kids are part of making the mess; why not make them part of the frantic clean-up? As soon as you know that you’ve got 15 minutes, give them a job or two to tackle. Kids who are aged 5 and up love to use a Dustbuster or similar Handy-Vac type vacuum. Get them to do a quick once-over of the stairs or rugs so that there are no dust-bunnies or balls of dust in the corner. Similarly, get them to do some quick dusting of the furniture and areas where dust collects so that your house guests are not horrified by the dust bowl in which you live.

So as you can see, you can get quite a bit done in a short period of time. The key is to get your motor running, get into the cleaning grove and to power clean like there’s no tomorrow  - just for 15 minutes or so.

*To read this article on Huffington Post, CLICK HERE*

Do you have any quick tips about how to get the house clean in a hurry? Leave me your ideas in the comments section below!

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Six Simple Tips For Spring Home Safety

by Samantha on May 29, 2013

shovel digging dirt

*In an effort to support emergency preparedness and family safety, Multiple Mayhem Mamma is partnering with Toronto Hydro to offer easy-to-follow tips and advice to parents*

The weather has finally turned the corner and spring has sprung.

Birds are chirping, the sun is shining and we’ve all got a bit more “pep in our step” After all, it’s been a long cold winter and we’ve paid our seasonal dues to Mother Nature.

Having been cooped up indoors for so many months, is it any wonder that we’re itching to get outside? The garden beckons, the lawn needs weeding, and the trees need to be trimmed. Now’s the perfect time, right?

While we may be gung-ho about getting lawn work and gardening done, there are a few things that need to be kept in mind, in order to keep the family safe.

Kid’s Recreation and Play

1) Go fly a kite…safely - Kids love to play outdoors, and flying kites is often on the agenda once the warm weather hits. While this activity is one of the highlights of summer play for children, it does have its risks, if the child is not prepared. Speak with your kids about the importance of being aware of their surroundings, and that outdoor play should be in an area that is free of powerlines and hydro transformers.

2) Don’t open Pandora’s box - As appealing and enticing as they may seem to children, transformer boxes and switching cubicles are not to be touched or played upon. Kids will be kids and the common urge to poke sticks, wires and other objects into the enclosures should be preemptively halted by parents. Have a chat with your child about outdoor safety and what they should and shouldn’t be doing when they spend time playing outdoors. As part of this discussion, teach your kids about the High Voltage signage that is clearly displayed on transformer and switching boxes. It’s important that children know to not try to retrieve a ball or toy that lands in or close to one of these enclosures. Instead, kids should alert their parents who can they call their local hydro or electric company. By doing so, you’ll avert potential injury and assure that your child enjoys their time outside.

3) DON’T climb every mountain - As much as kids love climbing, they should be cautioned against their desire to scale hydro poles and transmission towers. Yes, they may look appealing, and it’s in many children’s bones to want to scale every tall, skyward-pointing item that they encounter. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean that it has to be climbed. Teach your kids accordingly and keep them safe.

Gardening and Exterior Home Maintenance

4) Heads Up - After the long cold winter, gardeners can’t wait to get their shears out and go crazy on the trees and hedges. Sure, cutting back branches and pruning may be one of the more necessary aspects of garden work so it’s no wonder that this is one of the first things that are done once the ice melts. Before tree-trimming, remember to look up and out to ensure that branches that you may be in contact with are not touching any powerlines up above. If you’re not sure, contact your local hydro or electric company to check. They’ll able to remove the branches for you in the event of any potential dangers.

5) Stay Back - What is it about the sun coming out that makes us realize how dirty our windows are? And that eavestrough? Yikes - it’s filled with leaves. You may be primed to get up on the roof and clean them out; as well while you’re up there, it makes sense to fix any leaks that are evident. Regardless of how you choose to spruce up your home, take care whenever there is a need to climb a ladder to the roof. Always remember to carry your ladder horizontally to avoid connection with any powerlines that may run across your property. Similarly, make sure to look up and take a general scan of the general area surrounding your roof before any work is done. Better safe than sorry.

6) Dial Before You Dig - While it may be tempting to jump head first into that new patio deck project or installing a new swimming pool it’s wise to practice some due diligence before moving ahead. A simple call to your local hydro or electric company before you dig, will allow you to stay safe on your property. Let the professionals give you the green-light to go ahead after they check for underground powerlines on the property.

For more information on powerline safety, see www.powerlinesafety.ca

To read this article on Huffington Post, click here

 Image courtesy of http://www.pge.com



emergency preparedness checklist

Following my post regarding best practices for families about Emergency Preparedness, I was asked to return to the Global Morning Show to discuss. Armed with an Home Emergency Kit based on the information found at Toronto Hydro’s site, I was ready to go.

Watch below for tips and advice about what all homes should have available in the event of an emergency.

VIDEO: Emergency Preparedness Tips For Families

Image courtesy of www.carp.ca


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Where is the best place to raise a child? “Urban life cannot be replicated” state those who have a penchant for fresh lattes from the corner Starbucks on a lazy Sunday morning. A five minute walk will cure last night’s hangover with that first sip of java, tasted just a few minutes after rolling out […]

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