Many of us IBCLCs have young children, and those of us that don't have been there, done that. It was a struggle in the beginning, but I feel I have finally gathered enough tools in my tool box to strike a good balance between work and home. (Now, everyday is not perfect because perfection is impossible, but the majority of days it works.)
I have compiled my own list of things that enable me to make my family the priority and still enjoy the work that I do. Please feel free to comment and add to the list! These are not necessarily in order of importance. Also, many of you who work in other settings will have your work schedules set for you usually, but many of these tips will also be helpful to you.
- I am notorious for forgetting school functions. So, if you don't already have one, get an appointment book with time slots or an app for your smartphone if you will use it consistently (key word: consistently). Write all school holidays, early release days, school plays, band concerts, field trips....you get the picture.
- In that same planner, schedule "me" time. It is absolutely necessary...DO IT!
- Now, find blocks of time that you can schedule home visits with mommas.
- Then think about setting boundaries for work outside of the home visit. When will you return calls and emails? When will you send doctor's reports?
- Finish your chart and write your doctors' reports right after your visit.
- Plan a week in advance. Such as, have a family meeting to pick meals for the week (easy ones for days you work), then pick a day of the week for grocery shopping. Find meals with ingredients that can be fixed in advance.
- UNPLUG (yes, I said it) after your kids get home from daycare and/or school. Put your phone on the charger out of ears' reach, turn off the computer, ipad, iMac, etc., so that you can give full attention to the rugrats. The electronics can wait until they are in bed.
- Make your house a electronic-free zone (including tv) for the kids during the school week. You've heard of the research...
- Give each child a chore (unless they are 9 months old, although it's not too early for big brother or sisiter to model those tasks). Then, be ok with the fact that they won't do it exactly as you would like. Kids need to be involved and feel like they are active participants of the family (though they moan and groan when they are putting away laundry or emptying the trash).
- Get enough sleep, hydrate (with water, not coffee) and incorporate whole, natural foods into 90% of your diet, save the other 10% for splurging. If you don't fuel yourself, you can't help fuel your child's or your clients' confidence.