Managing work and new parenthood

If you are currently coming to the end of your maternity or paternity leave and dreading the thought of returning to work when you have a baby to take care of, there are ways in which you can make the transition easier.

Organisation is the key. If you are not organised, you will find it very difficult to balance work and home life. You also have to remember that you are not alone. Thousands of people return to work each year after having a baby and virtually all of them will have shared your concerns. 

The following five tips will help you balance your life so that you are making the most of being with your baby while at the same time able to give total commitment at work:

1. Develop your organisational skills
Having a baby and returning to work will be no easy feat. You will need to have a detailed plan for each day and make sure you are organised the night before. Selecting your outfit in advance and placing everything you need for work in an easy-to-find location will certainly help. It is no longer just about you in the mornings. You will need to get your baby up, feed them, dress them and take them to childcare at the same time as getting yourself ready for work. You will need to be flexible and try to have a backup plan in case things go wrong; your child could get sick or you may have to take an unexpected business trip. Your day-to-day life will run much more smoothly if you know what to expect in advance. 

2. Know what your priorities are
Work out what is important. You may not always be able to manage everything, so if you have your priorities set out, you will be able to adapt accordingly. No one will expect you to do everything. See what can be pushed to the backburner and ease some of the pressure on yourself. Your child will be able to sense if you are anxious and this could lead to problems that you simply don’t need in the mornings. 

3. Network with other working parents
By getting involved in parenting groups and speaking to working parents, your fears can be eased and you will be able to ask for advice when it comes to childcare arrangements. Some parents are lucky enough to have day-to-day support from family and friends but others may not have that luxury. If you are in the latter category, these parenting groups could become your lifeline. 

4. Speak to your boss about working hours and benefits
Most employers are very understanding when it comes to parenthood. Part-time and flexible working hours may be available and working from home could also be an option. It is important to establish your hours of work well in advance of your return so that you can make appropriate childcare arrangements. You need to know where you stand and what the company is prepared to offer. 

5. Take personal time for yourself
You may feel like you simply don’t have any time for yourself, but it is very important. If you don’t take some time to relax, you will burn yourself out and be no good to your baby or your employer. Even if it is a quick 30 minute lunch with a friend or reading a magazine to chill out before you go to bed, ‘you time’ has never been so vital.

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