Planning Ahead for Work-Life Balance
Planning ahead and being prepared to handle your work-life balance beforehand is extremely helpful step before planning a pregnancy. For parents, balancing work and family time is a priority. Both parents need to plan about sharing duties and responsibilities, taking out private time for themselves and their baby. The mother, especially, has to often let go of her work responsibilities during pregnancy and after the baby’s birth. Support from family and workplace is essential for her to balance family and work responsibilities.
It is good to know in advance what facilities and support both parents would get from their employers during pregnancy and after the baby’s birth. These can be:
- Paternity and maternity leaves
- Salary while on leave
- Options for flexible work timings or work from home
- Any medical reimbursements for employees
- Any reliable day care facility near the office
Moms working from home
Moms working from home also need to plan a routine for themselves and the baby. They should plan their working hours and can send the baby to a nearby (preferably walking distance) day care for few hours or can ask a family member to care for the baby for some time. This is better than simultaneously working and caring for the baby or either the work or the baby will suffer. If the work allows flexible timings, then working when the baby sleeps is best. The baby should be occasionally watched while sleeping.
Moms who join back office
Moms who need to join an office need to do a better planning. Though some fathers work from home or an elderly family member and can take care of the baby once moms join back work, searching for a reliable day care is a must. In case a family member is not able to care for the baby due to sickness or other engagements, a day care proves better. It is best to ask other parents and friends about their satisfaction levels about any day care they know. In case a good day care is not nearby or on the way to office, moms should then talk to family members and their employers about it and figure a way out. Maybe the employer can present some options of working in flexi timings or may agree for the mom to work from home.
Dealing with Separation Anxiety
The baby’s separation anxiety should also be considered which starts developing around six months.
What is Seperation Anxiety?
If the baby shows discomfort with others and prefers being with the mother, starts crying when either of the parents leave the room, or leave him/her with others, then the baby is showing the signs of separation anxiety. When a baby develops this, he/she starts thinking whether the “disappeared” parents are ever coming back or not for him/her, it’s a scary feeling.
What can be done
If the baby is going to a day care or has to stay with some other family member, he/she should be familiar and friendly with the person. The child should not be left with an unfamiliar person and surroundings when the separation anxiety is newly developed (from 6 months – 1 yr (this may vary from child to child)). While leaving, a gentle kiss or hug, and telling the child that you will be back can help reduce the anxiety. Also the caregiver should distract the child with his/her favorite toy to make him/her busy and forget about the separation.
Separation anxiety is normal and a child stops crying within 5-10 mins after a parent leaves. Once the child knows that the parent will be back, the crying stops gradually. The only thing that matters to reduce the child’s crying is by making him/her familiar to the caregiver and the surroundings of the day care in advance. Practicing a routine is a must and should be done at least a week before the real things start.