You know, I get a little frustrated by the people who think ‘I have it easy’ taking my son to work with me. Whilst I am extremely lucky and grateful, easy is far from the realities of my day to day life. I have been presented with some fantastic opportunities in my lifetime, but don’t be fooled – I’ve worked my fucking ass off and I have also had my fair share of let-downs and not so great situations.
Babies are so unpredictable, if you’re a parent you will know exactly what I mean, no two days are the same. Some days Baxter is a dream, other days it is like a demon has taken over my child’s body. So take that, and throw work into the mix – easy? Yeah, nah.
I love the fact that I can have the best of both worlds, spend quality time with my son in these extremely important first few months of his life, while also being back at work. It’s not all the cute pictures you see on my Snapchat story, trust me. Some days it’s pure fucking chaos. My employer is amazing and the staff are equally amazing. I have my own office and thankfully the soundproofing is amazing so if Master B decides to exercise those epic lungs of his, not everybody has to deal with, but I do – and it can be really stressful. I don’t want sympathy, hell, it’s the path I chose. I am just saying, be weary, things aren’t always what they seem and everybody’s situations are so different. Don’t judge, and don’t make assumptions. What works for one won’t necessarily work for others.
I work in Social Media so I am lucky that so long as I have access to my computer/mobile and WIFI, I am good to go so if we’ve had a rough night, we’ll generally work from home. I also have all my other side projects. I’m a Photographer, I have this blog, I run several FB groups and have my fingers in lots of pies (ugh, that seriously is the worst saying ever). Often I am up working late when Baxter goes to sleep and any other available moment I have. Keeping in mind, I am a normal person just like everybody else, I cook (ha), I clean, I like to enjoy time with my friends and family etc.
What advice would I give to others from my own experience? As I take him with me I can’t comment on the flipside, ie. having him in care or similar but from what I do know and what I think would apply to most situations:
- Be kind to yourself – reevaluate personal habits and your lifestyle, a lot of these things can you to feel a lack of balance. Poor sleep, shitty eating habits etc. There is only one of you so look after yourself.
- Be productive – use the time you have wisely.
- Preparation is key – I have everything ready the night before so I am not fucking around in the morning. Once he is awake, I make him a bottle, he drinks it while I get dressed, I change him, then boom – we out.
- Make lists – I’m a huge planner, it drives my partner INSANE. But it helps, I swear by it. If you prioritise things and make lists then it’s more likely to get done, plus, it feels great ticking things off!
- Don’t forget to make time for you – drop the babe at your parents or friends, you need your time to recharge.
- Don’t overdo it – Ha, coming from me this is a funny one. I am terrible for trying to do like 10 things one, focus on one thing at a time and you’re more likely to get it done.
- Ask for help – I am terrible at this one but I’m slowly getting better. It’s OK to ask for help and sometimes support will make all the difference especially when you’re trying to implement a good work-life balance.
- Say no – I suck at this one too but trust me, you can only do so much. Stress is no good for anybody and remember, happy mum = happy baby.
- Limit your screen time after hours – Uh, if only it was that easy, ALL of my work is online based so its a hard one for me but learning to switch off is so important in this day and age. Social Media can consume SO much time its ridiculous, image what productive things you could be doing with that time.
- Manage chores/housework – I seen an idea on Pinterest, set aside 1 chore for each night of the week and by the weekend – it’s all done! Not always doable but certainly a good idea so then you have more family focused time on the weekend.
The biggest key for me is work smater. I am currently sitting here smashing this post out with Baxter next to me sitting in his bassinet which I’ve made into a comfy seat for when I’m at the computer and he’s getting scratchy. I am dancing around in my seat like a maniac to Sia’s ‘Cheap Thrills’ and he’s giggling away. Yeah yeah, cue the “he shouldn’t be looking at the computer”. Be gone, perfect parent, its 2016. He’s also playing with his new toy iPhone I got him – burn me at the stake.
So there, that’s my bit on work-life balance. I haven’t got it on lock down but I am slowly getting there. I know I would have forgotten something, but feel free to add your tips below!