Monday, October 31, 2005

Handling Baby Problems at Work and Vice Versa

Career women will find that having a baby means that they have something to take on a new role in their lives. Instead of working filling the void between the times they eat, sleep, and have fun, there is someone new competing for that attention. Even for moms who learn to juggle the responsibilities early, it can sometimes seem as if baby's needs are overtaking work time and vice versa. There are some ways to combat this work-baby struggle, though.

Keep lists. Many people eschew lists, thinking that they are for people who cannot remember anything. Here's a hint: moms cannot remember everything. There is so much to do in the first months of baby's life, and much of it is new territory. Just give in and keep a list of what you need to do. While one big list may seem like a good idea, most moms will prefer compartmentalized lists. You can find a way to keep them all in your day planner, or you can get separate little notebooks for each. Still, home, work, and baby all need their own lists so that you can control what needs to happen when.

It also is a good idea to purchase a journal for work and one for home. Here is the key. Use the one at work when you remember that you wanted to make greeting cards of baby's pictures to send to grandma this weekend, jot it down in your journal. You can also jot down something about baby that you wanted to share with your husband but forgot.

Use the journal you keep at home to jot down that you need to re-schedule the meeting with Julie or the perfect phrasing for how to tell Steve that his work performance is not on par with his skills. You will think of the phrase while you are feeding baby; it is inevitable. Put it down before you forget. You can transport these journals back and forth, but if you do so, then you need to get ones that are easily distinguishable. Sometimes, though, just writing it down is enough to jog your memory later.

Never underestimate the ability of coworkers to help you out. Sometimes you are not sure if something is normal that your baby is doing or how to handle not getting enough sleep. Your coworkers can help with these problems because chances are, someone in your office has been there and will be happy to share tips. Use the network you have created on the job to help with your new baby.

If you are at work and cannot get baby off your mind, or keep thinking about what you need to do for baby tonight, then you should take a walk. It will waste less time to take a 5-minute break and go for a quick walk outside than to keep thinking about the baby's needs at work. You will learn eventually how to balance the two, and then you will be the seasoned pro giving advice.

By Julia Mercer

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