Hey, mom and dad! Ready to update your skills on your LinkedIn page? You're now a master diaper changer and bottle-making guru with the skills to run a household on little to no sleep. Navigating the new world of parenthood is a full-time job, and when family leave is just about up, you're likely left wondering (and stressing) how you will manage your career and job at home raising a child. The truth is, transitioning back to work after having a baby is not easy, but it is manageable.
At VSE, our family has been growing too. Over the past few years, many employees have welcomed a new baby into their family, including me! So, I wanted to share some strategies that really helped me transition and reclaim my professional role, plus a few tips from other new parents from VSE.
Cut Yourself Some Slack. You're a person, not a machine. Take it one task at a time, do your best, and be ok with those 'off' days. Your family just went through a major life-change, especially if it's your first child. Jumping back in feet first when you're sleep-deprived and learning how to be a new parent takes time. So please, be kind to yourself. Soon enough, it'll all fall into place.
Be Upfront. Grabbing the bull by the horns sounds great, but probably not your reality just yet. Being honest, setting expectations, and giving your employer a sense of what's going on in your world as it relates to your job can be a beneficial conversation as you settle back in. What can you accomplish as you reenter the office? What projects can be revisited? If you're able to, talk it through.
Schedule Self-Care. Between work, a child, and taking care of your home, you're probably wondering how you'll find time for yourself again. I struggled with this too. What's your schedule like at work? Do you have the flexibility to walk or hit the gym at lunchtime? Can you dedicate 30-60 minutes before or after work to do something you enjoy? For instance, once my workday ends, I disappear into my home gym for a 45-minute workout, or I'll read my book during lunch. This is my time to care for my physical and mental health, which helps me be more efficient in and out of the virtual office.
"As I found out, you have to be efficient when organizing your workday when you have a baby because the time you think you have to spare can suddenly disappear. So, starting the day early and doing the most important things first gives you flexibility as the day progresses." – Nikola (Product Delivery)
"Create a routine and stick to it but have patience and give yourself grace on days things don't go as planned. Also, make time for YOU, even if it's just 30 minutes a day to exercise or read. Doing so will help you be the best version of yourself for both your family and your job." – Jaclyn (Product Delivery)
“Having kids while managing work can be daunting at times, but like anything else, it takes practice to become good at it. Try not to beat yourself up too much when you are feeling overwhelmed. Make it a point to pat yourself on the back often because it’s not easy, and your positive energy will carry over to your work and parenting.” – Dave (Infrastructure & Operations)
“As a new parent working from home, finding that elusive parenting/work-life balance is always a challenge. Teamwork is the most important productivity tip for new parents that I can share; tag team and take turns. Even if your partner is not working from home, I think it’s essential to adjust your schedule, maybe have one person do the morning routine, and another do the bedtime routine. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but schedule your priorities.” – Jemini (Product Delivery)
"What I learned about being a new dad it is a gift no one could have prepared me for. Being able to work from home has been a relief as a new dad. I have been able to see my son wake up every morning and watch him grow from the comfort of my home." – Cesar Vega (Advisor Relationships and Support)
Getting back into the swing of things takes time. So please, be patient with yourself, and take it one day at a time. Hopefully, your work environment is supportive like VSE, and you have resources and people who can help you transition smoothly into your role post-baby. You got this, mom and dad!