When you have children, your entire world changes in ways that you never could have imagined. This is completely normal and understandable. At the end of the day, you’ve brought a little being into this world who is going to be entirely dependent on you for many years to come, and who will lean on you for the rest of their life. That’s a whole lot of responsibility. You’re inevitably going to find yourself changing your day-to-day tasks and routines in order to accommodate them and provide them with everything they need to grow and thrive. You’ll see your social schedule changing, your family schedule changing, your day-to-day tasks and to-do’s changing… the list goes on. But one area that can change drastically when you have a child is your work life and career. Here’s some information on what you may expect and how to manage your work around your little one.
If you are in an employed role, most countries entitle you to some parental leave when you bring your child into this world or when you adopt a child. This gives you time to recover from any physical processes involved, as well as being able to care for a new dependent or familiarise them with their new home and environment. Make sure that you’re fully aware of the rights that you have in regards to this. Different countries have different rules and allow different periods of time off, paired with different levels of pay and support for time taken off. Knowing what you are entitled to can help you a lot, ensuring that you can enforce your rights and experience the benefits you’re entitled to. It can also help you to create a timeline regarding how long you’ll be able to spend at home with your child and how you’re going to want to spend and manage that time. Finally, it allows you to start looking into childcare options in advance of heading back to the workplace if this is what you’re planning on doing.
Working vs. Staying at Home
Of course, not everyone has the option of giving up work when they have a child. But it’s important to consider your options and what appeals most to you. Some people will want to get back to work as soon as possible, as their careers mean a lot to them. Some may want to give up work in order to focus on their child. Neither is a wrong or right answer or path to follow. It’s entirely dependent on a whole host of personal factors. One thing to consider is the cost of heading back to work vs. staying at home as a stay-at-home parent. When you go back to work, you will be earning an income, but also have to consider the costs of childcare. You may need to earn over a certain amount to make working financially viable, as childcare costs in many areas can be high. Alternatively, you may be able to turn to a family member for support, or your workplace may offer payment of childcare costs or childcare contributions. Staying at home means you may not earn an income, but don’t have to worry about childcare costs. Weigh up all of the different factors to determine what’s best for you and your child.
Remote work is becoming increasingly common and is an option that allows you to work from your own home. This is becoming increasingly preferred by many parents, as it allows a host of perks that benefit both them and their child. Of course, when you work from home, you still have to work, so this doesn’t mean that you will be paid to take care of your child, or that you will be able to work without having to consider childcare. You may still need to find childcare for your little one while you’re concentrating on your work. But the benefits are that you don’t have to worry about spending time or money on the commute to and from a workplace elsewhere. This frees up time and cash that could be spent on other things, such as your little one. You also have access to your personal space during your breaks, which could be used productively, such as quickly putting a wash in, preparing some elements of dinner and more. Consider searching for remote positions if you specialize in a role that can be completed from home. Some companies also offer hybrid roles – where some days are spent working on site and some days are spent working from home – that allow flexibility.
Some workplaces are more strict than others. Some will require you to be working at specific times and available at specific times. Others allow more freedom, simply stating that you need to log your working hours and can do so throughout the course of the day. If you require more flexibility with your working hours – perhaps you need to drop your child to school, clubs, appointments and more – you could look for a company that’s going to be more flexible with you and your needs. Alternatively, you could try to arrange this with the company you already work for. Many will oblige, as long as you state when you are and aren’t available in your calendar. This can make managing your work life alongside your personal life a lot more simple and straightforward. This can also work well with shift work. You may be a nurse in Uniform Advantage Cherokee scrubs, which means you have to work on a face-to-face basis, but your shifts could be arranged around your individual needs.
After School Clubs
Often, children finish school before the majority of adults finish work. This can cause issues if you’re unable to collect them from school when you’re still meant to be on shift. But this, of course, is an extremely common challenge many parents face. This is why many schools have offered up after-school clubs and extracurricular activities. They will keep your child in school and provide them with entertainment, fun and games until you are ready to collect them. Not only is this fun for your children, helping them to enjoy themselves around others of their own age and develop new skills, but it means you don’t have to worry about arranging external childcare or collections.
Summer Camps and Sessions
Another challenge that working parents can face is school breaks and holidays. Children get a lot more breaks than adults do – often around special occasions or summer breaks. They will be off school, but you may still be required to go to work. What happens here? Well, many solutions have been offered up as this is a problem that many parents would otherwise struggle to negotiate and manage. Common activities for children during these breaks include daily activities, where your child can be dropped off in the morning before you head to work, or camps, where children can stay for a longer and more extended period of time.
As with any element of being a parent, it really is important that you have a good support network around you to help you through the process of working and parenting at once. This network will differ between one person and another, and there’s no right or wrong way of managing it. There are some people who will rely on their partners to split responsibilities. Some people will rely on family members and friends for support. Remember that you are never alone. If you don’t have these individuals to count on, you’re by far not the only person to feel this way. There are others out there who will be more than happy to help, from other parents to support groups and more.
Relaxation and You-Time
If you are working and parenting, chances are, you’re pretty exhausted. Nobody is superhuman and you’re going to find that you definitely need some time away from both activities to let your hair down and recuperate. This is why scheduling some relaxation time and you-time is important on a regular basis. This can vary from one person to another, as different people unwind in different ways. It could be something as simple as getting up a little earlier than your kids to enjoy a hot drink and the news or a TV program. It could be waiting up a little after they go to bed to have a bath and soak. It could be splitting childcare on weekends so that one weekend you may take care of someone else’s kids, but the next you can look forward to an afternoon or evening spent to yourself doing what you want to do – whether that’s a meal out, cinema or simply a long, well-deserved nap. You don’t want to overload yourself and experience burnout, as then you won’t be able to look after yourself or your little ones.
As you can see, working and parenting are two draining activities that can be quite difficult to manage at once. But it is possible. Hopefully, some of the advice above will help to guide you on this journey, taking the paths that best suit you, your children, your lifestyle and your needs. Give them a try and see how things improve!