Being a working parent
When baby comes along some women and men can’t wait to be out of the rat race and gladly devote themselves to the equally hard slog of nappy changing, feeding, burping, cleaning, playing and education that is full-time parenting.
But not everyone wants, or is able, to stop paid employment completely to look after their baby and many parents work at least part-time. If that includes you then for all those times that you feel a little blue or guilty at having missed precious moments of your little one’s life, we’re going to celebrate ten things that are great about being a working parent.
1. A change is as good as a rest Now we’re not saying that you can expect to come back from the office refreshed and ready for anything, but many working parents find it something of a relief to be able to think about something other than their baby for whole hours at a time. Your life isn't all about nappies, feeding and fretting over development, there's a little corner that's all your own.
2. Quality time with your baby it may sound like a cliché, but many parents find that when the time they have to spend with their babies is significantly curtailed, the time they do have together seems a lot more precious and baby gets their full attention and focus. It’s not without reason that full-time parents can become a little jealous of their working partner coming home in the evening and enjoying play with baby before putting him to bed.
3. The people During your hours at the office you may be surrounded by a variety of different, and hopefully interesting, people to interact with, most of whom will have no desire to try to engage you on subjects such as the black art of knowing when a poopy nappy has stopped its pooping.
4. The challenge There’s no doubt that looking after your baby is challenging enough, but plenty of parents choose to work so they can enjoy a different kind of mental challenge and stimulate parts of the brain that baby can’t reach – whether that’s assessing the latest sales figures, writing a contract or planning a new campaign.
5. Financial security No matter how good and trusting a team you are with your partner, some people find that there’s no substitute for earning your own money and feeling that you are providing financially for your family – even when a chunk of that income goes on childcare. As long as you both steer clear of the trap of substituting what money can buy for everything that parents can freely provide, there's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy being able to share the role of financial support with your partner.
6. The clothes If as a parent you’ve found your dress has taken an unwelcome slide as comfort, practicality and disguising stains take precedence over being smart and well-polished, the office offers a bit of relief. On work days you can pull on your smarter clothes and slip back into your heels (or ties gentlemen) for an altogether more pulled together look. And if you’re really lucky you might not even get food, dribble or puke on yourself on the way to the nursery.
7. Applying new skills Looking after a baby requires many skills and as a new parent you’ll have been busy developing or acquiring plenty of these. A surprising number applicable to your work life -whether it’s better time management, organisational genius, the ability to multi-task or simply greater patience.
8. A sense of fulfilment While there’s no doubt it can be a great challenge, not everyone gets the same sense of fulfilment out of full-time parenting and some will be left wanting more. For some parents work outside the home is vital to their own sense of worth and well-being. And a happy and fulfilled working parent is a lot better for baby than a miserable and insecure full-time parent.
9. A sense of perspective No matter how career-driven you were before you became a parent, chances are you’ll go back to work with a very different perspective on what’s important in life. If before you obsessed over detail you might now find it easier to see the bigger picture, and if each small problem used to be a major disaster you might find that you can face many more situations more calmly post-baby. Of course that’s less likely to hold true if you only had three hours’ sleep and the childminder just rang in sick…
10. Knowing you can Combining working with parenthood is far from easy, and there can be a tremendous satisfaction derived from knowing that you can do both, particularly if you’re confident that you are doing a good job on both fronts. But these days the pressure to do it all can be tough to resist, even if it’s not necessarily the best thing for you and your family, and if you find that knowing you can do both is the only thing you’re getting out of your job then it might be time to start thinking about a change.
We're sure there are plenty of other reasons why being a working parent can be great, so if you're got any let us know on the forum thread below.