• Prioritise the various demands and strike a balance.
The key to balancing these competing demands (work, spouse, children, personal interests) is to get clear on what matters most. Our values (things that we deem important to us) will unconsciously shape the way we channel our time and energy. Values may change over time.
For example, the pursuit of career advancement or personal interest might take a back seat with the arrival of a newborn. It might be helpful to periodically reflect on them and list down the things that we value, rank them in order of significance, and then seek to live in a manner that is aligned to our hierarchy of values at that time. Doing so will lead to a sense of balance or harmony.
~ Kenny Toh, Founder and Principal Coach, Institute of Advanced Parentology
• Time management is key - plan and allocate your time for work and baby/family, and focus your attention and energy on that role during that given time.
• Staying in the loop of workplace news during your maternity leave would help you ease back into work, so at least find time to send an occasion email to your colleagues one or two weeks before you actually clock in.
“We kept in touch all through the three months via sms, msn and e-mails, and I even went back lunch with them one week before going back to work and it really helped to ease my anxieties,” Said Cheryl, mother of one.
• At the first opportunity, tell your boss frankly what are some arrangements that you would need to make, such as not being able to work as many extra hours or having to be at work 15 minutes later every morning.
• Deal with the guilt of leaving baby with caregivers during the day.
According to advertising manager, Huimin, 33 and mother of three, she was initially guilty for leaving her baby with the caregivers, but later she learnt that whatever else she did without the babies – shopping , dinner with friends, a movie date with her husband or even taking her parents on a short holiday – they all made her feel guilty. So she learned to help myself by rationalising that there must be a time for everything.
• Say ‘YES’ to help – at first it can be difficult to trust that others can do the mothering job better than you, but picking baby up, cuddling, feeding and changing a baby isn’t all that tough, especially for grandmothers.
“It took me a while to believe that my mom-in-law could take care of my twin girls but when I had to go out for an urgent errand one afternoon, I just left them in her care and made a dash out. When I came back, the babies were sleeping quietly, duly fed and burped. I realised then that grandmothers are just as good.” From then on, she never said ‘NO’ to help from grandparents or relatives and other volunteers,” advertising manager Huimin, 33 and mother of three.
• Ask for help - once you have no problem accepting help, learn to ask for help when you need some.
• Relax, don’t fuss.
“Don’t fuss over housework or the cooking or any chores that take up your time and energy. Take a back seat and let someone else do them for a change, while you fuss over your new baby,” says Susan Lee, lactation and babycare consultant.