Work-Life Balance Advice for New Parents
Welcoming a new life into the world is a profoundly beautiful and life-changing experience for any couple. Yet many new parents find themselves worrying about being able to maintain their professional performance while still giving their family the love and attention they deserve.
Fortunately, with the following insights and some planning, it’s possible to maintain the healthy work-life balance that’s so crucial to ensuring your family—as well as your career—is happy and healthy.
What do you want your life to look like?
As a working couple, you had a certain lifestyle. Now that there’s a little one to take care of, your life is changing—and it’s up to you to take control of that change.
If you don’t take control, it’s all too easy for either your personal or your professional life to go off track. That’s why, as Daisy Wademan Dowling points out in her Harvard Business Review article “Balancing Parenting and Work Stress: A Guide,” you need a vision of what you want your life to look like so you can work towards it.
Spend some time discussing what you want for your child, what you want your family life to look like, and what your respective professional goals are. Then determine what scenario accommodates all of this.
For example, let’s say you live in the city and both work outside of the home—however, you want your child to grow up in a greener setting with parents who are home most of the time. One possible scenario could be to move to a small town close to the city and both start working remotely some or all of the time. Once you’ve asked and answered the big questions, you can start to put a plan in place to work towards your goals.
Use your resources to your advantage
With picking up and dropping off their babies at daycare, going to health checkups, shopping for groceries and doing more laundry than ever before, many new parents find themselves overtired and overstressed. So whether it’s taking advantage of employer-provided daycare or asking your parents to help out with grocery shopping and save you hours of errands each month, use what resources you have to save time, money, and energy.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that if you want to maintain a good work-life balance, you need to start planning your schedules together. Check in with each other on the weekends so you can plan the week ahead and schedule things like doctor’s appointments, birthday parties and work-related events that will require overtime or business travel.
Make sure that it’s clear who’ll do the daycare runs on each day; whether both of you will go to the doctor’s appointment; and who’ll handle feeding, laundry and other important responsibilities on early mornings or late nights. And don’t forget to make time for yourselves! Plan a date night at least once a month so you can get out and connect in a relaxing setting.
While it might seem overwhelming at times, taking the time to find the right balance between your responsibilities at the office and at home will make you happier in both settings. If there’s one thing that goes a long way in both parenting and working, it’s sporting a sincere smile more often than a frown.