**Disclaimer: I enrolled in TAD free of charge for reviewing purposes, but you can’t buy me love – all opinions are 100% mine!

Hello, again! It’s time for a TAD check-in!

We are more than halfway through the TAD program now, and are finding it to be as helpful as ever. Otto is eight weeks old now (holy smokes, WHAT?). The time has flown by, and with it, my maternity leave. Now, I have a pretty good gig going for me over at TGN’s brick and mortar location. I work with products that I know and love, I work with and for great people, I get to build relationships and friendships with other local moms, and most awesomely, I get to bring my baby to work. Yes, that’s right, Otto comes and works with me.

Hanna and Otto

This is a very lucky thing for me. I love that I don’t yet have to deal with the heartache that comes with leaving your baby with someone else. I’ve been there, it’s hard, I know I can live through it but I’m not willing to just yet, and so I am incredibly thankful that I can avoid it for now. (Bonus: my big kiddo gets special one-on-one time with daddy!). But still, returning to work after having a baby is a really big deal, one that I grossly underestimated. Cue TAD!

At the six week mark, TAD spends a whole week talking about this transition. This was perfect for me – it really did nourish me and my family right when we most needed it. We spent time talking about how this transition affects the body (hello, physical exhaustion, meet sleep deprivation!), and the mind (what day is it, and what am I supposed to be doing again?), and then we learned some coping mechanisms for dealing with these changes. For example, TAD talks about renegotiating expectations for tasks by breaking them into lists of what needs to be done vs what you’d like to get done, and breaking these lists into groups like “today”, “this week”, “this month”, etc. For a Type A gal, like myself, this is an incredible tool and one that truly does speak to me.

That week we also learned a great coping mechanism for transitioning into leaving baby with someone else. TAD suggested budgeting time during drop-off and pick-up for having bonding time with your baby in their childcare setting. WOW, did I wish that I had that tip with my first baby! I found the drop-offs with my first son to be incredibly painful, and then the pick-ups were so rushed, with me trying to run in and get him ready and in the car and heading home to do all of the things that would need to get done there. Shew! That makes me tired just thinking about it now. TAD suggested that during the drop off, you take some time to play and connect with your baby before leaving. Then, and this is the one that I wish I would have known, taking time during the pick up to sit down and play and connect again. This gives you time to get out of your “work” mind space, and a break before whizzing into your “home” mind space, and most importantly, it gives you time to really soak in your baby after a long day away. This tip has really changed my life. I will most definitely be using this tip (along with many more from TAD) in my everyday life. Even though I am able to put off childcare for now, it is inevitable for us, and I am grateful to have a tool to make that easier.

Then, during the next TAD chat (recall: TAD chat = live video chat with TAD creator Molly, with yourself and the other members of your TAD group) I was able to talk to Molly about my own transition back to work. I explained to Molly that since Otto comes to work with me, I was struggling with finding a balance in my work day and feeling like I wasn’t really doing a great job. You see, working with baby is amazing, but also poses a unique set of difficulties, ones that were causing me anxiety even when they weren’t happening. For example, what if I need to help a customer, and Otto needs to be changed? What if I am so focused on work that I am not meeting his needs fast enough, or what if I am so focused on his needs that I am failing to perform tasks fast enough? Head spinning yet? 

Otto and friend

Deep breath. Lucky for me, Molly had a similar experience. She suggested setting a timer, or rather a series of timers. After meeting baby’s immediate needs (fed, changed, etc.), set a timer for some increment of time and focus on work. Then, set a timer for some increment of time and focus on baby. It’s such an easy thing, and it really is amazing. I can spend twenty minutes being super productive while Otto happily discovers his hands, and then I can spend ten minutes loving on my sweet babe. This was feedback and advice tailored specifically to my needs, when I needed it. TAD rules!

TAD continues to be amazing, delivering tips and support when I need them most. Stayed tuned in a few weeks for a post about our experience with the end tail of TAD!

**Disclaimer: I enrolled in TAD free of charge for reviewing purposes, but you can’t buy me love – all opinions are 100% mine!