Welcoming a second child into your family is always a joyful experience, but as a working parent, there are always questions about how to balance your career and two kids. Work-life balance is just as important as ever, but having a new family member means that balance will need to be restructured. Here’s how you can manage your work and family life while making this transition, as well as maintain your balanced lifestyle.
Invest in Yourself
Though child care and work are a time-consuming combo, you still need to pay attention to your own needs. Between work schedules and your family’s needs, if you neglect yourself, it’s only a matter of time before you exhaust yourself. Whether that energy drain is coming from your busy work schedules, negative self-talk, or even excessive screen time, you have to invest in yourself to nip those issues in the bud.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and completely unprepared in such a transitional season, and that sense of unpreparedness often manifests itself as negative or fearful thoughts about the future. Though it’s a bit of an overused piece of advice, just keep living in the present. The future you’re worried about hasn’t come to pass yet, and your life experiences between now and then will prepare you for it.
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to invest in yourself is to create a clear separation between your work and your family. If you’re always worried about your kiddos while working, you won’t be able to work effectively, but if you’re always worried about work while you’re back at home, you’ll have trouble being available for your family.
As such, you need two defined mental states, one for work and one for family. When you’re working, commit yourself completely, but when you’re with your family, distance yourself from your business and live in the moment.
Establish Balanced Structure
For a working mother, structure is nothing short of an absolute necessity. By knowing where you need to be, when you need to be there, and what you need to be doing, you can avoid a huge amount of stress, wasted time, and pointless running around.
As always, team up with your spouse to do this, setting out specific time blocks for working, spending time with the kids, and taking a moment for yourself. This shifts your routine from purely reacting to what occurs to taking the initiative, getting ahead, and freeing up time. Soon, you’ll go from exhausted and overwhelmed to confident and in control.
However, always remember that this structure is meant to be a guideline. Life happens, and when it does, you can’t always adhere to the schedule you’ve set out for yourself. Trying to make your schedule work in a situation where it won’t is an exercise in futility, and will only lead to more stress. Be prepared for whatever life throws at you, but also be willing to let go of the reins every once in a while.
Down With Endless Scrolling
Social media has become an integral part of most people’s everyday lives. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with scrolling through social media, chatting with friends, and finding inspiration, it’s designed to be addictive and does its job well. Before you know it, you can lose hours of your day to the endless scroll, and it may even begin cutting into your rest, leading to stress and mental exhaustion.
As with everything, social media can be a great thing when used in moderation, so it’s important to set limits for yourself and your kids alike. By putting screen time limits and parental controls in place, you can ensure your entire family practices healthy habits in regard to their phone usage. Next, turn off-screen time into purposeful quality time with your family.
This allows for a regularly-scheduled period of emotionally rejuvenating and fulfilling time to bond with your new family member, as well as remember that there are other things to life than what’s in front of your screen.
Taking Quality Time
On the subject of quality time, there’s no better way to unplug and interact with your family than by spending time in the great outdoors! Aside from great views and time to appreciate nature, it’s developmentally important for children to spend plenty of time outside, especially at a young age.
You’ll be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, experiencing a true, profound calmness and bond with your family members, something that you just can’t find anywhere else. By spending your spare time in each other’s presence, you’ll create that tight-knit sense of fellowship that every family needs.
If you want to listen to our full podcast on making the transition to two kids, check it out here!