Returning to work after having a baby is a stressful and also exciting time for many new moms. You’ve been able to soak up all of the baby snuggles during maternity leave, but are perhaps ready to get back to a more balanced self; blending who you were as ‘Career-Gal’ with ‘New-Mom’ and now you’re basically ‘Tired-Superwoman” (own it!) Transitioning back to the working world requires not only mental preparation, but also preparation in adjusting your daily routine.
You’ll likely be traveling to work and back 5 days/week, and you’ll be packing YOUR daily needs to have each day instead of your baby’s; you’ll replace the diapers and wipes with lunches and a laptop, but do you really need to add ANOTHER bag in your life to suit your work needs? That’s a fast NO. There is such a thing as too much, and having too many bags ultimately leads to disorganization and chaos; two things that new working moms do not need in their life! The Kalea bag is a working mother’s dream bag. First, because let’s be honest appearances matter, the Kalea bag looks chic and can be toted proudly in any professional environment. Yes, it’s a diaper bag, but no one else needs to know that, am I right?
Using the Kalea bag for your work needs definitely looks different than when you’ve packed it for your babe’s needs. Before you begin packing, make a list of everything you need for your workday. This will likely vary from mama to mama, but I’ll share how I utilize my Kalea bag to its fullest potential day in and day out.
In order of most important things in my life: Husband, Baby, Laptop (not really, but close. Insert winking emoji here.). Seriously though, my laptop is crucial to my work needs, without it I couldn’t do my job, so I schlep it pretty much everywhere I go. The fact that the Kalea bag has a built in laptop compartment was one of the main reasons I picked it to be my go-to bag. It fits up to a 15” laptop and the weight is dispersed evenly so it doesn’t feel like the bag is extra heavy when carrying as a backpack. I use the larger packing cube to hold all of my chargers and other electronic accessories. I have my laptop charger, phone charger, wireless mouse, headphones, and sometimes a portable hard drive. Keeping all of my electronic needs in one place makes my unpacking at the office smooth and quick. Life hack: wrap cords neatly or use hair ties to keep them looped up while in the cube to prevent tangling. There’s no worse waste of time than un-tangling headphone cords!
The medium sized packing cube is my snack cube. If I’m going to make it through an 8-hour workday in a relatively good mood, my blood sugar and energy levels need to be maintained! I try to pack as healthy as possible, low-sugar energy bars, kale chips, trail mix, and beef sticks are my go-to’s; anything that doesn’t require refrigeration.
I like to keep my personal care items in the drawstring pouch, because I often need a mid-day refresh of bronzer, mascara, and most definitely concealer. If I’m running behind due to a sleepless night or extended baby needs in the morning, I know I have everything I need to take a moment to finish putting myself together once I get to work. I typically keep tinted moisturizer, blush, mascara, concealer, chap stick/lip gloss, travel sized dry shampoo, small brush, and hair tie in there at all times. Sometimes that mid-day refresh is exactly what I need to boost my energy and get through the rest of the day as a functioning adult. I also keep a stash of band-aids, because, blisters happen!
Let’s talk reality for a minute. You’re not always able to take off your ‘Mom’ hat at work, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Pumping at work is something that is very common, so you may find yourself needing to bring your pump along with you for a few months to a year after returning to work. Don’t fret; there is room in the Kalea Bag for your pump! Most pumps tend to be very portable and lightweight, so many models will fit nicely in the main space of the Kalea Bag. You may find that the large storage cube is better suited for pump parts/bottles; then you can easily stash your chargers in the inner mesh zip pocket. If you’re not one that’s interested in carrying a pump with you from home to work and back every day, it is definitely worth having a home pump and a work pump if you have a space at work to store one!
The front zip compartment of the bag is equipped with pen slots, which I do keep stocked, as it seems I’m always in need of one. This is also where I keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer, a thumb drive or two, and my keys (there’s a hook just on the inside to clip your keys to so I’m sure to never forget where I put my keys!).
I also like to keep my personal water bottle with me at all times; cuts down on waste and prevents me from drinking sugary beverages throughout the day. I keep it stashed on the side of the bag; the pouch can hold up to a 32oz bottle! Hydration is important, people!
My absolute favorite part about the Kalea Bag is the zipped security pocket on the back of the bag. Most days, I commute to work via public transportation, so this is where I keep my wallet items (id, credit cards etc) for safekeeping. This way I don't have to carry an extra purse, and can be completely hands free.
Lastly, while it’s kind of ‘old school’, I keep a physical planner. I love the process of making a tangible to-do list, meal plans, and just having a place for jotting down creative ideas or reminders. I find joy and productivity in my planner, so I always make sure to have it packed in my bag daily!
The best part about being organized for work and for baby, is the convenience and quickness of transitioning from work to time with kiddo. I keep extra storage cubes packed and at the ready for the kiddos, so if we have an outing planned at the end of a work day, I can easily take out my work cubes, toss in the babe cubes, and we are
on our way for the next family adventure! I find that things are more streamlined this way. I’m not juggling two bags, forgetting things that are in one and not in the other, and there isn’t an abundance of clutter.
Planning ahead each evening is your recipe for success as a working mom. Yes, you’re exhausted at the end of a long day, bedtime took longer than normal, and all you want to do is fall face first into your pillow, but take the time to prep your bag for the next day. Take inventory of what you need to replenish each night, empty out any garbage, loose change, or any non-essentials that are taking up space; this way you’ll never feel overwhelmed with unnecessary items. You will rest easier knowing you’ve set yourself up for another day of being Supermom.