(Photo Courtesy: The Guardian)


Transitioning back to work is difficult to do, even if your precious cargo is left with a loved one. When I went to the office, I left my energy at home. I woke up at six, drove my daughter to daycare at seven, arrived at work at eight, clocked out at five, returned to the  daycare at six and unlocked our apartment door at seven.  Thankfully, my mother sometimes sends us plate, so I don’t have to spend the rest of the night in the kitchen.  It’s a long day, but my body (and eventually my mind) adjusted to the new schedule.


To make life run smoothly even when I run late, I compiled a list of must-have items in my working mom briefcase.


1. A Change of Clothes

If you’re breastfeeding, you may leak on the job. Have a spare shirt on hand, just incase you experience a wardrobe malfunction while working. I also stashed a breast pump in my bottom drawer. Fortunately, I had my own office and pumped in peace.


2. Three Pairs of Stockings

It never fails that if I’m in a hurry, I snag my stockings heading out the door. In the past, I’ve carted the carrier into a convenience store to purchase a new pair. Once I went to a grocery store with a slim selection.  I bought opaque tights, which promised to be one size fits all. I later found out women who weigh between 100 and 180 pounds can’t wear the same size! The stocks sagged at my ankles and I readjusted them throughout the day. So, I advise keeping three pairs–black, barely black and nude–in your desk drawer.


3.  A Picture of Your Little One

My mom gave me a pink frame and matching desk accessories when I returned to work.  Since my thoughts trailed home to my baby girl, it was nice to bring a piece of her with me to the office.  I also asked for my family to text me photos or put the telephone up to her ear when I called to check in.  The first few days at daycare I made a few calls to make sure she was still alive!


4.  A Cell Phone Charger

Sometimes your workday lasts longer than your cell phone’s battery, so make sure you don’t leave home without your charger. Before baby, I couldn’t care less about my battery dying. But now, I’m nervous to transport my child without a phone, in case of emergencies.


5. A Pack of Post-it Notes

Eight months after returning to work, I still suffer from an occasional case of mommy brain.  When a thought pops into my head, I immediately wrote it down. I remembered bills to pay or personal appointments to make.  Also, when my manager added an assignment to my long to-do list, I jotted the instructions down.


Hey DFTM Fam–What items essential items would you add to the list?

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

10 Responses

  1. Janeane Davis

    I liked your list. I would add put an extra diaper in your briefcase and keep one in the bottom of your desk drawer. I learned that there was never a place where I did not find the need to have an extra diaper stashed! It is nice to the extra in the emergencies that always seem to surprise us.

  2. Caroll

    Good list! I remember when I did go back to work. I was still breast feeding. When I called home and heard my baby crying in the background I would automatically spring a leak. So I would say extra breast pads. That was 15 years ago. So happy to be working from home now.

  3. Tomika B

    I actually packed an extra diaper bag and left it in my car because I was on the road alot and I just wanted to be prepared. I would add baby wipes to your list. I actually still carry them. They clean everything:)

    • newmom0608

      Tomika, so true. Sometimes I pick my daughter up from daycare and end up stopping at the store, so an extra diaper bag would definitely come in handy!

    • newmom0608

      Hhhhmmmm, wonder how long I can use the mommy brain excuse? Until she’s 18???

  4. Hanifah Munadi

    All I can say is, I remember those days oh so well. Lord, I just wanted to be home with my babies. I support the mothers who are going through what i have gone through. Very informative, thanks for sharing.

  5. Joyce@MommyTalkShow

    I’d add a healthy snack too like a protein bar or dried fruit. I’m not back at work FT, but I can imagine that as little time as I have to eat now – it could get worse. I’d love to have something healthy to grab and balance my blood sugar.

    • newmom0608

      Joyce, great addition. When I first returned to work, I moved at a slower pace. I was tired and often skipped my lunch hour to ensure I was efficient. I used to keep snacks in my desk drawers. A protein bar would have been a wonderful boost!


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