New parents face a range of challenges. After the birth of a child, it can seem as though your entire world has been turned upside down. Your priorities may have shifted, and your responsibilities at home may be more daunting. Then, if you are preparing to head back to work, you also have professional obligations that need to be added to the mix.
It is also common for parents to feel conflicted about going back to work after the birth of a child. Some may fear that it’s too early, regardless of the child’s age. Others may worry about missing out on big moments in their child’s life, and that can make the mere thought of coming back to the workforce hard to bear.
All of these feelings are normal. And, luckily, there are ways of navigating your new paradigm that will make it seem less difficult. If you are going back to work as a new parent, here’s what you need to know.
Be Kind to Yourself
First and foremost, you need to be kind to yourself. If you come home from a long day at work only to discover nothing is thawed for dinner and your home is messier than you’d like, don’t berate yourself for the situation. More often than not, any unkind words that run through your head are based on unrealistic expectations regarding what a person can accomplish in a single day, not the reality of being a new parent with a job.
So, instead of comparing yourself to others you believe are managing things more successfully or tearing yourself down for not being perfect every step of the way, cut yourself some slack. Whether that involves ordering takeout instead of cooking or letting a small mess sit where it is until the weekend, take a deep breath and focus on the most important things at home, like spending time with your child and handling the basic necessities.
Ask for Help When Needed
Many new parents subscribe to the idea they need to be superheroes who do it all. They need to handle their obligations at work, no matter the size of their workload, and keep everything managed on the home front all on their own.
While the thought behind this feeling is admirable, it isn’t a realistic goal. At times everyone needs help, and it’s completely okay to ask for it or accept it when it’s offered.
If a family member offers to babysit so you can grab a bite with friends and relax a bit, say “yes.” If your boss asks you for an update on your progress and you are genuinely overwhelmed, let them know you might need assistance. Whenever you truly need something, be honest and make your needs known. Otherwise, the people in your life can’t step in to make a difference.
Learn to Say “No”
As a new parent, learning to say “no” is essential. Whether it is declining a personal invitation that doesn’t align with your schedule or turning down extra assignments at work that aren’t part of your core duties, being able to politely but definitively decline is important. Otherwise, you could end up with more on your plate that you can manage.
It is okay to say “no” when you have a real reason for declining. If a friend asks you to join them at happy hour and that’s too disruptive to your schedule, ask for a raincheck. Then, as soon as you know you’ll have time available, reach out and let them know.
On the work front, if your boss asks for more than you can do, let them know taking it on could diminish the quality of your work as you are already fully or overtasked. Then, give them an overview of what is on your plate, so they can see you are genuinely stretched to the max.
By following the tips above, you can head back to work without adding too much undue stress. If you’d like to know more, the team at The Advance Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our staff members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.