As an employee, you may already have years of experience under your belt. However, when you become a new mom and go back to work, everything changes. Balancing your role as a new mother and as an employee requires the careful development of key skills. The skills that got you through the workplace up to this point won’t necessarily be enough to get you through life juggling both responsibilities.
Luckily, working and caring for your children is not an impossible balancing act. It just requires practice and patience. You must learn how to be kind to yourself as well as how to manage your new lifestyle.
It’s no secret that many new moms feel less confident about their job security and capacity to do their work. It is true that much can be done in the workplace to better support women returning to work after giving birth. However, there is a lot a new mother can do to take charge of her own fate and develop the skills necessary to manage her newfound responsibilities.
One of those biggest challenges for any working mom is time management. It often feels like being a mom and being an employee both require 100 percent of your attention at all times. However, it’s up to you to figure out how to organize yourself to meet the needs of both your child and your company.
One easy way you can free up more time is to automate recurring tasks wherever you can. For instance, you can set up a grocery delivery system so you don’t have to worry about stopping by the store on the way home.
At work, you can use macros to accomplish regular tasks with a couple buttons or develop automated email responses to questions you get frequently. By automating and outsourcing tasks you have to perform on a regular basis, you can more easily devote to your time to those things that require your full attention.
All workers can benefit from networking. However, moms in particular can really benefit from having a solid pool of contacts when returning to work.
A network doesn’t exclusively refer to your professional contacts. A strong network can include family and friends that can help you juggle childrearing responsibilities while you’re handling work tasks. These individuals can make it possible for you to attend that vital meeting.
At work, networking with other working moms can help you learn valuable time management skills in and out of the workplace. The more you do it, the more helpful contacts you can develop to keep your career moving.
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Ask to set up informal lunch meetings or keep in touch via phone and email. Networking does not have to be aggressive or time-consuming.
As a new mom, you will have to rely on your team more than ever to accomplish tasks and projects. Forming a strong bond with your team can make that easier on everyone.
A strong team can help you make up for the skills you lack while allowing you to do what you do best. Additionally, being able to manage a team can demonstrate leadership skills that keep your career moving forward.
Practicing teamwork in the office can also help you out at home when you’re caring for your child. You can learn how to effectively get every member of the household to contribute more, allowing you to maintain a functional work-life balance.
When you have a new load of responsibilities on your plate, it is important not to suffer in silence until you’re drowning in tasks. As a new working mother, you must know how to express your needs and struggles before they overwhelm you.
If you had a long career before becoming a mother, you may not have had to learn how to ask for help. However, it is unlikely that you can accomplish everything you need to do as a new parent and as an employee without bringing in some assistance.
Learning how to ask for what you need can help you manage your time more effectively and ensure that tasks are completed on time. For instance, you can ask to transfer projects, work from home or get help from family at the end of the workday.
As a new mother, it may feel like you can’t do anything right. Juggling your new tasks may overwhelm you and leave you feeling like you aren’t doing your best at work or at home.
One important skill to develop in this time is self-affirmation. It is important to take some time to remind yourself of what you are doing well. Give yourself praise for keeping track of assignments, for keeping food on the table and for accomplishing goals.
One helpful trick is to write down everything you accomplished in a day when you feel overwhelmed. This can help you remind yourself that even if you feel like you haven’t done enough, chances are you’ve done quite a lot already.
It is important as both a mother and an employee to avoid experiencing burnout. As tempting as it may be to burn the candle at both ends, you must step back from your responsibilities on occasion to take some time for yourself.
As a new mother, it is important that you get enough sleep, stay fed, keep up with doctor’s appointments and take care of your physical fitness. Avoid harmful habits like cigarettes and alcohol, which may provide temporary relief but ultimately leave you feeling worse.
Keeping up with self-care is vital to managing your life and responsibilities. Taking care of your physical, emotional and mental health now ensures that you don’t fall into a crisis later.
7. Saying No
It can be exceptionally difficult for someone used to handling numerous responsibilities to say “no.” It may be that you’ve never practiced turning down assignments or favors before. You may feel that saying no is letting others down.
However, saying no is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. By setting boundaries, you ensure that you can devote energy and attention to the tasks you have agreed to.
No one else can sense what your boundaries are or know automatically if you can or cannot handle a task. If someone asks you to do something, saying that you cannot is a legitimate response.
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