Balancing a New Baby with Work can be challenging.
If you’re not going down the staying-at-home to parent route, going back to work can be a stressful and emotional experience.
Trying to deal with clients, deadlines, and team dynamics on little sleep and with a needy baby at home is not easy.
You might also find that the passion you used to have for your work and business has waned — or at least changed.
Thankfully, you’re not alone.
Lean on the collective wisdom of other working parents by learning these seven tips for Balancing a New Baby with Work.
Go easy on yourself
This is definitely not the time to be super critical about your appearance, work, or general lifestyle choices.
Sure, you want to be healthy and present in your life, but you don’t want to put unnecessary stress and strain on you body or your mind right now by trying to constantly ‘live your best life’.
If you ever want to take a digital detox and turn Instagram off, now might be the perfect time to do so.
Being a new parent can bring about feelings of guilt and inadequacy, so it’s important that you sit with yourself and learn how to be merciful and kind to yourself.
Don’t give into the negative narrative about ‘working parents’ and lead your own kind of life.
As well as giving your baby and your career your (inevitable) attention, learn the art of self-love by blocking your inner critic, investing your (little available) time wisely, and accepting all your emotions.
Wise advice for anyone trying to juggle a baby and a career for the first time…
Learn about time management & productivity
You might have less time, but could you still be just as effective and productive?
Sounds crazy, but the popularity of things like the four-day workweek prove that it’s not always just about time, but about what you do with your time.
You might find that having less time is the perfect opportunity to refine and improve your ways of working.
Tools like the Pomodoro time tracker can help you chunk up your day into more productive blocks of work.
See if you can streamline the way you do things.
Consider whether more training and better outsourcing could help remove any unhelpful roadblocks.
We are all sometimes guilty of trying to do everything ourselves, but not delegating tasks at home and at work can lead to problems.
Often, we have a false sense of responsibility around certain tasks we feel we ‘should’ handle, or we might subconsciously not trust people to do things ‘in the right way’.
It’s important to review your own hang-ups around delegation and try to address them as quickly as possible.
It’s not just about delegation though, but about how you delegate.
It’s important that you learn how to effectively delegate.
Learn how to give good briefs, recognize the importance of SMART targets, and be OK with things being done in different ways.
Trying to control everything will leave you feeling stressed and burned out.
Be open about it
Tell your boss if you’re struggling, tell your partner if you’re feeling low, and share the load with friends and family.
As soon as you vocalize a problem, it tends to become a lot smaller and more manageable.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you might find that being honest with your audience about the changes you’re going through is the best thing to do.
Carrie from The Female Entrepreneur Association recently shared her challenges around building a business and having a new baby at home — and she got a staggeringly positive response.
People appreciate honesty and transparency, so don’t be afraid to let them in on your journey.
Protect your mental health
Lack of sleep and new baby stress can leave you more vulnerable to common mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
Going back to work can be triggering, so it’s important to protect your mental health and work on your stress management skills during this crucial time.
Some mental health first aid tips:
- Speak to people about how you’re doing and how you’re feeling about going back to work and being a parent
- Try to get as much sleep as you can (easier said than done)
- Try to have some ‘me time’ from time to time to recharge and reconnect with yourself and your purpose
- Ease into work gradually and don’t take on too much stress in the first few weeks and months.
It’s easy to either feel career or parent guilt (or both at the same time!), but try to enjoy both sides of the coin.
Working and having a baby are two things that can co-exist harmoniously, so don’t give into negativity.
Try to find joy and gratitude for the fact that you can enjoy both in your life right now.
The grass is not always (or ever) greener on the other side, so focus on what makes your work and home life precious and special to you right now, rather than what you ‘could’ have if things were different.
Protect your relationship(s)
It’s easy to get so caught up in the craziness of having a baby and working that you forget to look around you.
Recognize that you need people — your partner, colleagues, family, friends — and don’t completely neglect your social or romantic life.
It can be hard to pick things back up again, though you will naturally drift apart from some people.
Try to take some time out to see people (or have them round), and spend time re-connecting with colleagues if you have been off.
A quick 10 minute coffee can be enough to feel reconnected.
Having a baby and Balancing a New Baby with Work can be challenging. Whether it’s a side hustle, your own business, or corporate role we’re talking about, make sure you also prioritize yourself amongst all the hectic activity.