So, you’re wondering how to balance work and a new baby as a busy parent. If you already had a busy lifestyle before welcoming a newborn, odds are you’ve already learned how to establish a balancing act you could work with. Now with a baby factored into the equation, perhaps the next question is how does this wedge in without pulling your hair out. After the time period of your maternity leave has passed, the reality of having to go back to work will no doubt be met with mixed feelings.
Immediately after birth, you and your baby enjoyed a relatively uninterrupted bonding period as you took the time off you’re eligible for by your employer. Now that maternity leave is over, it’s time to establish another new routine. For most parents, especially moms, this is an emotional transition as there will likely be the feeling of guilt and sadness when they start spending more time away from their babies.
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How To Balance Work And A New Baby -Reality Check
In the real world, life doesn’t stand still for anyone. It couldn’t care less that you’re a new parent. All it cares about is how well you function as a working individual that contributes to society. How you balance your personal life in the meantime is up to you. It comes down to what kind of life you want for yourself and your new family. The balancing act between home and the workplace may seem scary at first but it honestly doesn’t have to be.
All it takes is a combination of common sense, some organization, and a workable schedule. These three elements will help new parents maintain their sanity as they raise their newborns. However, there will be challenges. To assume parenthood is as easy as putting on a pair of slip-on shoes is unrealistic. Each person, regardless of age, comes with special quirks that define who they are as unique individuals.
How To Balance Work And A New Baby- Planning Ahead
People are creatures of habit. Arranging and maintaining a schedule is a great way to minimize the chaos as a parent manages their career with their family life. Depending on the size of that family, a schedule should be laid out that works for everyone. This usually starts with the hours you’re expected to put in at work. From there, it’s about puzzling over appointments and commitments so you can make the most out of your family life. The best way to achieve this is to plan ahead.
Odds are before a new week starts you already have a rough idea of what’s on the agenda. Among parents who have a caregiver, maintaining consistent communication will help establish and maintain a balance that works for you, them, and the baby. Ideally, a calendar’s itinerary should be made clear to every person involved in your baby’s life so that nothing is missed.
There are some parents who will have their calendars planned out a month in advance, even going as far as making copies of that calendar and sharing it with everyone that plays a role in helping you take care of your baby’s needs. This is one great way to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Another helpful trick when planning ahead is to expect the unexpected. This includes prepping for potential sick days that will act as a monkey wrench into whatever you’ve planned. It would be in your best interest to strategize a backup plan in case of an emergency. This helps avoid going into panic mode as you’ll already have at least one alternative in place to take care of this issue. These backup plans should include having more than one caretaker you can access so you don’t run the risk of losing hours at work if for some reason your primary one is unable to make it.
Planning ahead also helps when it comes to meal preparation. Ideally, make a weekly menu and make sure you have the groceries to cover everyone’s meals throughout that week that have already been purchased. Preferably on a day off, perhaps while your baby is taking naps during the day, prepping meals ahead of time that can be either stored in the fridge or freezer. Slow cookers tend to be a parent’s best friend when it comes to meal preparation. It’s not uncommon for parents to use these wonderful little appliances that can spend the day slow cooking a meal while they’re busy at work. By the time they come home, the day’s supper is either ready to be served or close to it.
How To Balance Work And A New Baby – Partnerships
Planning ahead usually includes going on the hunt to find a decent caretaker for your baby. Some parents may luck out with a job environment that already has its own daycare facility. This is often the case among professionals working in an office building. Whether it’s the desire to find a daycare facility or a nanny, it would be in the parent’s best interest to do some homework before trusting their baby into their care. Reference checks will help make sure you and your baby work with someone that can be trusted. Ideally, you want to stick with a caregiver that understands how important your baby is to you.
When interviewing a daycare or nanny to look after your little one, take on the role of an employer. Do up a checklist before meeting with them and ask questions. Your baby’s safety and well-being should be their top priority. They should also have a solid track record of reliability from other parents you’ll be able to contact for their honest reviews. Even if you’re a parent that works at home, it would still be in your best interest to find a suitable caretaker to make sure your baby’s needs are met. You may not always be able to drop what you’re doing while putting in your hours as a worker.
Among families that have two parents in the picture, the importance of sharing responsibilities should be their top priority. Ideally, the couple should be on the same page when it comes to balancing their personal and professional lives while raising their children together. Work as a unit to coordinate your schedules which include childcare arrangements, household chores, and personal timeouts for each other. These should be established as daily routines that start from the moment you wake up until it’s time to go to bed.
These partnerships should also include the professional relationships you have at work. Establishing what kind of support you have from your employer and peers will help you find a balance between your career and home life. Communication is very important here so you and your job site don’t encounter any misunderstandings.
According to federal law, workplaces that have at least fifty employees are required to offer breastfeeding moms sufficient break time to pump breast milk for their babies that are under a year old.(1) They’re supposed to provide a private space aside from a bathroom for moms to pump milk for their babies. As for smaller workplaces, establish an arrangement with your employer that works for both of you. Find out about what policies are in place you can exercise without losing your job.
Partnerships also include working with a social circle that can help you iron out a decent balance between your personal and professional commitments. Maintaining consistent contact with family, friends, and perhaps a few neighbors and coworkers you can trust will put you at an advantage as a working parent. They can also be there for you when you need to take some “me” time such that may include a visit to the gym or spa.
Make sure with that social circle you have your priorities in order. If that social circle demands too much of your time between partying and volunteering which keeps you away from spending more time with your baby then you need to draw the line. Doing so will help you maintain a healthy balance between your life as a working parent. Ideal partnerships with your loved one and social circle will ensure you get to spend as much quality time with your baby without compromising your work schedule.
How To Balance Work And A New Baby – Consistency
What makes plans work best is consistency. First thing in the morning, establish a routine that works for you and your baby. Again, people are creatures of habit. Once routines are in place and are followed as a daily regime, this will make it easier for you to balance your family life as a working parent.
Everyone in the household should make the best of their morning by working as a unit without stumbling over each other. If it’s just you and your baby, then the task of making sure the two of you are ready before it’s time to head for work is essential. The more consistent you are with a routine that works the less stressed you will feel as your day progresses. It will also make your baby’s daily life less stressful, too.
Please keep in mind that even the most consistent schedules may encounter a hiccup that may throw everything off course. The key here is not to panic. Perhaps you’ll encounter an off morning where you, your baby, or somebody else in the household can’t seem to get into the groove of things. Whenever this happens, don’t lose patience, and don’t get distracted. Just breathe and stay the course with a consistent routine the best you can.
Life is full of surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant. One important element with consistency is to squeeze in a bit of flexibility so you, your baby, and the rest of your household don’t find yourselves in a situation tougher than it needs to be. That flexibility acts as your cushion to prepare for something out of the ordinary.
Another idea to make the best out of your mornings with your baby is to prep whatever is needed the night before. Whatever you need to take with you for work, like lunch, have it prepped and ready so all you have to do is pick it up before you head out the door. This same routine should be exercised for your baby’s needs.
If there is a diaper bag involved, have it packed and ready. Do the same with the prepping of baby bottles so you don’t have that extra chore to take care of in the morning. Getting as many tasks out of the way as possible before the day is over will make it easy for you to be able to exercise your morning routine with as little stress as possible. It may even help you sleep better at night.
When the day comes to an end and it’s time for everyone to go to sleep for the night, odds are this isn’t going to be so easy to come by at first. The sooner an established bedtime routine is in place the better. However, there are always variants involved. These include overtired babies who usually don’t get much sleep when placed at daycare or with a sitter. When they’re in this state, a good night’s sleep will be unlikely. Ideally, keeping tabs on how much your baby sleeps each day with their caretaker will help you determine if your baby needs to be put to bed earlier at night than usual. It’s vitally important everybody in the home gets a good night’s sleep.
Love, Patience, and Understanding
The three best character traits that help a parent maintain a healthy balance between their career paths and home life is to practice love, patience, and understanding. People, in general, cannot function properly without loving something enough to learn how to be more patient and more understanding. This especially applies to the relationships parents share with their children. While love seems easy enough to come by between babies and parents, usually patience and understanding require a bit more work.
As a new parent, you’re going to encounter learning curves. Although there is no doubt you love your baby with all your heart, the bottom line is they are a brand new person in your life that comes with their own personality. When either maternity or paternity leave is over and it’s time to go back to work, the two of you will be entering into a new chapter in your lives that will have its fair share of ups and downs.
The ideal solution to maintain a healthy balance when you go back to work is to put the love of others and yourself equally. Those others include more than just your baby. They include everybody in your social circle, as well as strangers, as this is key to developing the patience and understanding you need in order to cope with whatever challenges come your way. Life isn’t easy, nor is parenting, but it can be made easier. Love enough to plan ahead and stick to that plan as you move forward.
Don’t be so rigid that you may snap and lose patience. Learn to be flexible enough to handle emergencies without going into panic mode. Doing so puts you and your baby at an advantage to overcome whatever obstacles come your way. This includes issues that may be job-related. These advantages will help you maintain the balance you need to keep your career path straight and quality time with your baby in order. In the end, it will also help you maintain your sanity. This will also help you grow as a parent and as a person.
How To Balance Work And A New Baby article published on BabyCareGuru.com© 2023
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