Having a baby and maintaining a successful career can be difficult, especially in the early days when the new baby is adjusting to life on Earth. You may be returning to work exhausted after nights of barely sleeping because the baby is having trouble settling, or you may be worried about missing out on important things in your baby’s life, like its first steps or its first time rolling over – because you are working.
Thankfully, many employers have begun to be more accommodating to working mums. Work policies and rules have become more flexible, and employers are frequently more understanding about how challenging it can be to maintain the proper balance between family and work.
If you are struggling to find a way to ensure that you are fulfilling your responsibilities as a parent as well as putting in quality performance at your job, there are ways to help you bring more of a balance to your two lives.
Be aware of what’s available to help you and go after it
There are workplace laws and policies that ensure working parents are able to find flexible, family-friendly working arrangements. Do your research and know exactly what you are entitled to. This knowledge will ensure you know when you need to speak up in order to be treated more fairly.
Additionally, knowing what you are entitled to can help you negotiate more flexibility from your job. Whether it is childcare support, parental leave, or more flexible working arrangements, each employer has different options to accommodate someone with a growing family. It also helps to prepare for a discussion with your supervisor so that you have a productive and successful outcome to your meeting.
• Anticipate your supervisor’s potential concerns
• Be prepared to address your supervisor’s potential concerns
• Address your needs
• Explain how flexibility for you will benefit your company as a whole
Use time management skills
If you have great time management skills, this is the perfect time to use them. If you don’t have great time management skills, this is the perfect time to develop them. You can use activity logs, to-do lists, or some other form of a plan that will help you decide when to do something and for how long.
Many people feel as though there is not enough time in a day, especially mums with a busy family and work life. Planning out your time will help you take control of it and feel as though there actually are enough hours.
When you are making your to-do list or prioritising day-to-day tasks, make sure you block out some time for just you. This often works best if you make sure you keep your work life at work and your home life at home. Taking time for ‘you’ can be done however you need to – maybe getting away from your email or mobile phone for an hour or two, even more if possible. Spending time with your family without work creeping in will make you feel as if you are actually getting a break from your job.
Finding a good balance between work life and family life is different for different people. One person may only need a few hours away from their computer to feel refreshed whereas another may need to completely take her work life out of her personal life.
Most importantly, there are ways to take control and ensure that you are able to keep both your career and maintain a health family life. Employers are becoming more family-friendly, and it is more possible than ever to have a fulfilling family life while also being a working mum.