Planned or unplanned, the time comes when many, if not most of us give in to our most basic urges and breed. While the act of procreation may sound fun at the time, the repercussions of such folly are quickly realised once nappy changing and sleepless nights commence. All is no longer well when the blue-murder screams of your newest member squeeze their way in between you and your career, and they will. But you will survive, as many have before you, you will live to resume your daily grind and cash in another pay cheque. How well you manage however, is all up to you. This is how to start a family and maintain your career.
Plan Your Career Path
First things first, the best way cement a prosperous future for you and your family starts with; at the very least, a rough idea of your preferred career path. That sounds easy enough when you are ten to fifteen years into your career; you know who you are and what you want, but few people have their lives put together quite so well. If you are ‘normal’, your life, career, finances and health are all subject to change and will continue to be throughout your life. So you plan your career as best you can with these little bumps in the road at the back of your mind. Sprinkle some ambition and goals onto your career plan and you’re off to a good start.
Plan Your Pipeline
With an idea of your long-term career plan and goals, you can start to plan your more immediate future. While you are willing nature to run its course, you can give thought to wrapping up older projects, completing current ones and how to deal with potential future projects. This part of the process is far more tricky of course because in all likelihood nature does not respond to project managers and schedules.
Kiss Gender Roles Goodbye
Regardless of the way you were raised, your gender and how you identify; having a child affects everyone in the house. In this century and this economy, everyone is working (ideally even the dog has a side-hustle) and both partners have equally important careers to maintain. When the mandatory maternity and paternity leave has come to an end, the most logical way forward is to stick together, take turns and help each other out. Share the burden so that you can both share the joys which come with parenting.
If you don’t know by now, it’s time someone told you – the universe can and will continue to present you with new ways to test your entire worldview. When a tiny person needs you, your wiggle room in difficult situations narrows very quickly. A flat tyre is no longer just a flat tyre; it becomes a flat tyre on the side of a busy road in the sweltering heat with a hungry baby while the spare is tucked away under the groceries and pram. These situations will never cease to occur but your ability to problem solve, remain calm and improvise will improve. Whether you are Skyping in to meetings, working remotely or working in the evenings rather the mornings, a healthy dose of improvisation will go a long way to keep you and those around you sane.
All in all, it’s going to be a tough ride – you’re not going to get a round of applause for making it into work in the mornings but it will be worth all the hard work in the end. The old ideal of trading a career for a family has long since left the building and there are more fulfilling ways live our lives now. No one said it would be easy but it can be done.