Having the dream home, the idyllic career, and the wonderful family all seems like it’s impossible. Modern living makes it within our grasp, but can we really have it all? Balancing parenting with a career is tougher than it looks.
Every new parent has been in the same situation. You need to leave your new baby for the first time to go out and work for the day. It’s awful. It’s terrible. You call home every half an hour just in case the sitter has taken their eye off them. You call your spouse every fifteen minutes just to make sure the baby hasn’t grown any since you left that morning. The fear, the real, genuine, honest-to-goodness anxiety you have about being away from them for a few hours… welcome to the world of parenting.
Parenting and Your Work Life Intertwine
It doesn’t stop there, either. For the next few years, you live in a bubble of work and home life. They blend too often. Your boss inevitably has a chat with you about all the times you dash away to solve a sore tummy, bring them out of school for a temperature, or cancel important meetings because they lost their school tie and didn’t tell you till 8:52am.
Parenting and your work life will always intertwine. Fortunately, there are ways you can blend those worlds to become seamless. Here are the internet’s best tips on how to have that career and balance it with a healthy home life.
Having it All: Parenting While Working
Your work life and your life as a parent start to clash from the moment you become pregnant. Your workplace ought to make allowances for you. Some employers have set holiday allowances for during the pregnancy and for immediately after the birth. The US notoriously has the worst rates of maternity and family leave in the world. Maternity leave entitles you to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a new baby or adoption, once per year.
If you feel your employer is breaching their duty of care while you are pregnant, seek out legal assistance. The HKM employment law website should help.
Tips for Work-Parent Balance
These tips should help you balance your work life and your parenting responsibilities better.
Learning to Say No
Are you the kind of person who always agrees to extra work? Do you finish projects by yourself because the team works slowly? Do you push yourself to meet unrealistic targets at work or at home? Learning to say no could help you. Saying no is easier than you think. Have an excuse ready as a permanent automatic response.
Ask to WFH
Working from home is an effective way to alleviate that new child anxiety. Parenting is already a full-time job, and it will be a hard slog, but if you can bring a child into this world everything else is easy. Ask your boss to switch to working from home and see if you can better balance work life and baby life.
Setting a timer for when you will work and when you are a parent again helps you clearly create healthy boundaries. When WFH, use timers such as those used in the Pomodoro technique. If you are in the workplace, be clearer about your break times and your lunch times.
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