I went back to work about two weeks ago. It is hard to leave the boys (especially since we enjoyed my maternity leave so much). But I (usually) like my job and like teaching, so it's good for me to go to work. There are a few things that have made going back to work and being a working-mom of two much easier.
1.) Excellent Childcare
We are lucky enough to have my mom and Brad's mom who are willing to help out and watch Luke while we are at work. This makes us feel more comfortable leaving Luke while he is so young. Sam goes to an in-home daycare, which he loves. Luke will join him there next year. Feeling comfortable with whatever childcare you choose is the most-essential "must-have" for working parents (in my humble opinion).
2.) Smart Phone/Kindle/ or Tablet of some kind
I spend a lot of time rocking, nursing, pumping (being forced to stay put in one spot). My smart phone and kindle have helped me take advantage of that time. I can e-mail, facebook, read, blog, watch netflix, etc. all with my phone or kindle.
3.) Hands-free pump/bra
Another essential for nursing/pumping moms. This lets me use my smart phone and kindle (see above) or check papers, send emails, do anything, while I pump at work.
4.) Freezer meals
Brad goes grocery shopping about every 2 weeks. He gets enough food to make freezer meals for 2 weeks at a time. He spends one day preparing the food and it goes into the freezer. Each night, we get a meal out to either go in the crock pot or be cooked in the oven. It helps because I do not like to cook, especially after a day at work. This helps keep us on track with our healthy meals and frees up our evenings so we don't have to spend time cooking.
5.) Evenings and Weekends
Nights and weekends are very important to us. We spend lots time playing and cuddling with the boys (see photo above, a common sight at our house, both boys on my lap). We try to make the most of our time together, remembering the important thing is the quality of our time together, not the quantity of our time together.
6.) Great co-workers
As I said before, I usually enjoy my job - but I always enjoy my co-workers. If I didn't like the people I work with, going to work would be much, much, harder. I enjoy their company and our conversations make the days go by faster. I also have my students as "co-workers" and although they can drive me crazy at times, I do enjoy getting hugs throughout the day and spending time with them.
7.) Rock n Play Sleeper
In my opinion, this is an essential for any baby. Luke has been sleeping in this since he was 2 days old, and he has been sleeping through the night since he was about 6 weeks old (amazing, I know!). I'm fine with him sleeping in this thing until he's 3... I guess he will probably outgrow it before then. But Luke sleeping through the night has definitely helped while going back to work.
Coffee helps me get through the morning. I love my Keurig. Enough said. :)
9.) Amazon Prime
It can be challenging to find the time and energy to go shopping with two kids. We order lots of things from amazon. Prime ships it to our door within two days. We get a discount on diapers and other subscribe and save items. We can also watch movies and tv shows with amazon prime. For us, it is worth the yearly fee.
Last but not least, taking and having lots of photos is essential in our house. I have pictures of the boys up at work. I have millions of photos of them on my phone, ready to share with anyone who asks. :)