Deciding which comes first - raising you kids, or your career - is a common internal struggle many parents face. Gone are the days of gender stereotypes, so now it really is up to you!
Parenting is subjective, so first of all you need to define how much time is enough for you. Arguably, were any of us given complete freedom we would choose as much time as possible/as we can tolerate, but usually this isn’t an option.
The fact of the matter is, sacrifices need to be made on both sides to accommodate this new segment in your wheel of life. But there are a few things you can do without losing time with your child and your career…
- Paid support: While not everyone deems this as sensible, with it being so expensive, it is an option. If there is a nursery close to your work, you can pop in on your break and spend time with your baby, as well as sharing the commute with them.
- Flexible working: If you are able to perform just as well at home as you can in the office, raising the option with your boss is a great idea. Mention that it will help you see your child more (in the evenings or lunches) but make sure you can also make a good business case for it (the time saved travelling means you can work extra when needed etc.)
- Part-time: Similar to your flexible work options, consider part time. Most people can complete as much work in a 4 day week as they can in a 5 day week
- Ask for help: It takes a village to raise a baby, and in tribes the responsibility to raise the younger generation is on for the whole village to share! While you may not have a literal village to help you, make the most of your family connections, local support groups and any baby-mum and baby-dad friends you make along the way. People will be more willing to help than you’d imagine, especially if they have been through similar themselves.
- Remember that you don’t have to be your child’s everything: Some of us are putting way to much pressure on ourselves to be nanny, cook, cuddle pillow, sleep pillow and everything else. Child rearing is time consuming, and if you don’t share some responsibilities life will race by in a frenzy filled whirlpool of playtime, bath time and wiping food off the ceiling.
- Equally remember that the world doesn’t collapse if you take some time from work. It’s important to let people know and manage expectations, but so long as you communicate and are doing your best then your work will understand that your life has changed now and some things may require shifting.
Everyone has their own ‘normal’. The key is finding out what that looks like to you and being comfortable with what you choose.