While working from home may seem like the ideal situation for new parents, it comes with an array of challenges that can make things stressful despite the convenience and flexibility of remote work. Often these challenges creep up on working parents without warning, no matter how carefully they have planned their lives to accommodate both caring for a young child and keeping up with work. Here are some of the issues young working parents should be prepared to deal with, and solutions for managing them.
Work and life boundaries start to get porous.
Maintaining a balance between work and life, for anyone, depends on those crucial boundaries. But as anyone who has ever cared for a baby or toddler well knows, tiny children refuse to recognize the existence of certain boundaries. You can’t ask a baby to stop crying and take a nap just because you have a work deadline. And a toddler may object strenuously to closed doors and baby gates when they feel like playing. It can be easy to give up on the whole idea of boundaries. But that way leads to chaos and stress. Instead, accept the fact that your boundaries are not absolute. Sometimes you’ll have to feed a baby while working in your home office. Sometimes you’ll have to take a work call in between cleaning up messes.
Managing an employer’s expectations.
Some employers are wonderful about respecting the needs of new parents, especially if they’ve been there themselves. Others, unfortunately, maybe less understanding. Hopefully, you will already have spoken to your manager about your situation, explained that you will do everything you can to keep up with their explanations, but also be firm about your needs. And hopefully, they will have understood. Lead2Goals can help your company establish closer connections and deeper levels of trust so you can better rely on your co-workers to understand your needs. Try to find a balance between running yourself ragged trying to do your work and skipping too many of your tasks. Staying organized will help with this.
But staying organized is more of a challenge now.
While organization is key to success when you’re working from home with a baby, organization is also difficult. Especially if you are tired from the constant strain of parenting. Set yourself a schedule with everything you have to do throughout the day neatly delineated, so you have a clear sense of what your goals are from one hour to the next. This will help you avoid mix-ups and loss of time. Have a designated place for everything, both work-related, and family-related, and always put things back where they belong immediately, both to avoid making a mess, and so you can easily find everything you need without extra stress.
Take breaks for self-care.
Taking care of your mental and physical health is especially important right now. So, keep in mind that self-care is about tending to your basic needs and that if these aren’t met, you may find yourself unable to keep up with your daily obligations. Sometimes self-care may mean saying “no” and taking time for yourself. How you use that time depends on what you need to recharge: possibly exercise, or maybe take a nap, or just spend some time alone listening to music or reading a good book. It’s not selfish to prioritize your needs; it’s responsible.
Outsource when you can.
You might want to outsource some of your tasks by hiring freelance professionals via online job boards. Some excellent freelancers can be located online if you’re willing to hire from different countries. You can find top-notch freelance professionals in the Philippines, for instance, by looking at listings on Upwork. However, you may have to go through different processes when paying these freelancers. If you are hiring freelancers from the same country, for instance, make a point of paying them at a competitive rate, and use a safe money transfer service such as Remitly to avoid exorbitant fees. You pay no more than $3.99 to send funds in PHP.
Balancing work and life when you’re adjusting to being a parent for the first time is not easy, but it gets easier. And even with the many challenges, it’s a valuable opportunity to have extra time with your growing family.
Jenna Sherman | Guest Author
Jenna Sherman is a mom of three (two girls and a boy). She hopes to help other parents acquire the skills they need to raise future leaders by providing a collection of valuable, up-to-date, authoritative resources. She created parent-leaders.com as an avenue for parents who want to make sure their children grow up to be strong, independent, successful adults.