Work-Life Balance for New Parents
In today’s hyper-technical age, few of us are immune to the challenges of finding a balance in our work life and personal life. In the real estate industry, the challenge may be more pervasive because at the most basic level, every agent and every broker is an entrepreneur, and entrepreneurs aren’t known for the ability to relax and chill out.
Add children into the mix – think about new babies! — into the mix and you’ve created a recipe for stress, burnout, and an unhappy family. Let’s look at some suggestions that allow you to successfully walk the tightrope between business and home, while maintaining your sanity.
- Set up structure before you need it. Whether you are an expectant mother or a soon-to-be dad, as an entrepreneur or small business owner, you likely won’t have the luxury months of maternity or paternity leave. Putting systems in place before the baby arrives are crucial to ensuring nothing falls between the cracks at work and that you can enjoy your bundle of joy. Make plans to delegate roles and tasks and communicate in advance with your team on your mutual expectations during this phase.
- Build a flexible schedule. Anyone who is a parent knows those first few months are trying. Neither you nor baby nor your partner may be sleeping through the night and starting the workday tired is no way to succeed. Know that you will have to make adjustments to your normal schedule – maybe you handle paperwork at night after kids are asleep, for example. As your children get older, you’ll need to think about how to attend their extracurricular activities while still tending to clients.
- Partnership is key. No one can manage alone, so divide up responsibilities with your partners – your work partners and your spouse or partner. Parents are sensitive to the needs of other parents, so make friends with co-workers who have kids. Sharing responsibilities and knowing your children are cared for by someone you trust allows you to be productive. Increasingly, big companies are installing child-care services in their offices. Take a tip from them and consider setting up a child-friendly space in your office.
- Don’t neglect yourself. On airplanes, we are told in case of an emergency, put our own oxygen masks on before placing them on children. It’s a good analogy for life: if we don’t take care of our own health and happiness, it’s hard to succeed in the workplace or take care of our families. If you feel like you are stretched too thin, you probably are. Be kind to yourself.
Remember that ‘balance’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘equal.’ At times, your career will require more attention and sometimes, you’ll forego a business meeting for family matters.