Congratulations — you’re a parent now! The anxiety that comes from reading that phrase is understandable because as a new parent, life is probably too hard for you right now. You’re scrambling to be a good professional, a caring partner, and an amazing parent all at the same time.
And during this impossibly difficult endeavour, you’re neglecting yourself, dealing with crazy stress levels, and are probably aware of the fact that your work-life balance could achieve a healthier mark.
While it’s impossible to create an ultimate work-life balance cheat sheet that fits everyone, here are some ideas that may help you improve your work-life balance.
Get reputable childcare.
Good-quality childcare is an extremely useful tool for managing your workload without putting your child in danger or exposing them to a substandard environment. You can either go for a nanny or an early education center such as the Raising Stars, but you’ve got to make sure that the person you’re trusting your child to is qualified for the job.
To keep things organized, you can ask friends and family for references and then create a list of potential childcare options. Interview each candidate to find the option that meets the criteria that are important to you.
When hiring a babysitter, your ideal candidate will be someone with a track record of long-term commitment to families because it shows their integrity and proves their skill. Things to look for in a daycare facility include flexible hours, outdoor areas for children, a low teacher-to-student ratio, and most importantly, background-checked staff.
An early education center is an especially good option because in addition to providing you with extra time and peace of mind, early educational intervention has been proven to have long-lasting positive effects on children.
For example, in a study that tracked people into their 40s, people who had received early childhood education (ECE) as children were more likely to graduate from highschool, less likely to commit crimes, and more successful academically than people who did not receive ECE.
Demand flexible working hours.
New parents are often reluctant to talk to their managers about their impossible workloads. You can’t expect your manager to know that your job is getting difficult for you — you have to talk to them.
So if you think that your workload is causing you to perform suboptimally and neglect your child, it’s time to talk to your manager. If you’ve been with your organization for more than 2 years, you have a right to ask for flexible working, a super useful component of which is working from home.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still soaring in many parts of the world and working from home is not only helpful in striking a healthy work-life balance but will also keep you, your family, and your co-workers safe.
Now, a lot of managers will be reluctant to allow you flexible working and their primary concern will be a potential drop in your productivity. To alleviate this concern, you can ask them to offer you a trial of working from home and see how things go. Hopefully, you’ll be just fine!
Do NOT neglect yourself.
This is another basic new-parent mistake. Remember, parenthood is a long, strenuous journey and for you to complete it successfully, your mental and physical health has to stay optimum. A lot of new parents forget to keep their diets healthy, their sleep adequate, and their lifestyle active. Avoid all these basic pitfalls to make sure you’re in perfect shape and have the energy to deal with the ups and downs of parenthood.
Another important aspect of taking care of yourself is maintaining good relationships. And one relationship that you’re most likely to neglect as a new parent is that with your partner. To avoid this, try to go out on a date with them at least once a week (and if once a week is not possible, once a month).
Make sure you don’t talk about work or children during your date because the goal is to reduce your stress, not increase it!
Make mornings less painful.
As a new parent, mornings are going to be one of the most stressful parts of the day because in addition to getting ready for work, you’ll also have to get your kids in order — make their lunch, iron their clothes, and get them ready for school. Mornings can be particularly stressful if you’ve got a child who doesn’t want to go to school — it can be painful to deal with those tantrums sometimes.
To make your mornings more organized, make sure anything that can be done the night before is done the night before. This can include making sandwiches for your child’s lunch or deciding your outfit for the next day. Remember, staying organized is the key to surviving parenthood — you have to plan ahead and plan well.
Apps like Google Calendar and Google Keep are also very useful when it comes to staying organized — you can create to-do lists and set reminders that can be synced to everyone’s phone in the family as all of you try to bulldoze through the hurdles of parenthood!