Careers & Work-Life Balance for New Mothers
Becoming a mother is a big life change that has the potential to affect your career as well as your current work-life balance. Where there was once a plate you could pile as many responsibilities as you chose to handle, you are now juggling an entirely new set of responsibilities that come with having a career and having kids. While a baby requires a lot of time and effort, that should not get in the way of pursuing your career ambitions; it simply requires finesse and drive to successfully maintain the various demands of your life.
The most important part of getting back to work after becoming a new parent is being prepared. Having all the bases that you know need covered, covered, is the best way to decrease frustration and to help your days flow easier. Keep an infant first aid kit in the newborn’s room and a bag stocked with diapers within arm’s reach so you are ready to use these items on short notice. Knowing you are prepared for any situation can help decrease the stress and worry you are likely to face regardless of what is going on with your child.
A good way to maintain your work-life balance is by delegating responsibilities if you have a partner helping you raise the child. While women often want to take care of things themselves and may have a hard time asking for help, it’s important to have a solid and trusting relationship with your partner and allow them to carry their weight in caring for and raising your child. Allow them to take care of household chores like cooking and cleaning, as well as changing the baby’s diapers to leave you with time to relax and take care of yourself.
When you do finally get back to work, it’s important to make a conscious effort to maintain a good work-life balance. This means taking steps like dismissing your smartphone, meditating and designating a work uniform to help you create a larger space between your home life and work life. While it can be difficult to separate work stresses from life stresses, it’s important to make an active effort to not let too much stress from work into your home life, as this can be harmful to your personal relationships.
The financial stress associated with being a working mother can also be huge, which is why it’s important to have a financial safety net in case of tough times. While this stressor can be reduced by a good job with high wages, it’s also good to have an emergency plan, such as the ability to get cash from your home. Owning a home is often an important step in finding stability when becoming a new mother, and while home equity may not be something you’d like to think about, it’s a good option to know you have.
Before you go back to work after having a baby, get comfortable with the daycare you plan on using to give you some peace of mind when you get back to the office. Take your baby to daycare for a couple days before you go back to work so you have time for much needed personal care appointments, meditation, or to look over what you’ve missed at work since you’ve been out. The few months of time off work and spent solely with your baby is ending, which means it’s time to put your work-life balance skills to the test.
Pursue the Career You Want
As you work towards work-life balance, don’t let anyone tell you to choose a career path that is less demanding in order to make time for your child. Only you can set boundaries on what parts of your life you are willing to slow down in for the sake of your child. Think of what accomplishments are going to bring you fulfilment and what you must do to get there. As a mother, chances are you want to provide the best life for your child, which means advancing your career skills to a position with higher pay and work autonomy.
It’s important to prioritize your child, however, it is not necessary to sacrifice your career in order to accomplish this. Talk to your partner about taking a leading role in caring for your baby. The relationship a child has with both parents is extremely important, but if your partner has less ambitious goals for their career, allow them to take the front seat in child care. If you have the resources to hire a full-time sitter or daycare, consider doing this, but remember that when work is done for the day, it’s crucial to give your brain over to yourself and your child in order to maintain work-life balance.
Balance is Key
Whether you are looking to fill a position in the growing tech gap, or want to continue your climb up the corporate ladder, you are capable of finding the necessary balance to accomplish your career goals. While you should definitely take all the time you need after having a baby before jumping back into work, you should not be expected to leave your career behind forever. It’s okay to be in a hurry to get back to work because it’s easy to get behind on responsibilities, and your career won’t always be waiting for you.
Now might be the best time to make strides in your field, especially if you’re looking to advance in an IT field, where there are more than 500,000 computing jobs open across the nation and fewer than 43,000 students who graduated with a computer science background in 2016. According to DeVry University, 44 percent of hiring managers indicate that employees aren’t keeping up with the skills needed to utilize evolving technology.
If you are a new mother who is looking to exceed the expectations of your career, and are ready to let your newborn motivate you to tackle new challenges, there’s no need to take it easy going back to work. You are the best judge of your capabilities and can succeed at the goals you set for yourself.
This guest post was authored by Brooke Faulkner
Brooke Faulkner is a writer, mom and adventurer in the Pacific Northwest. She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader. And then dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons, without getting groans and eye rolls in response.