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Time Management for New Parents

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  • Time Management for New Parents

    We are expecting our first baby anytime now.
    My current schedule: 7:30-5 work, 6-9: dinner and wasting time, 9-11: inbaset, email, etc. Sat: family time, house chores. Sun: getting caught up with work.
    Fortunately for me, my wife will be working part-time or staying home. I have academic obligations that somemtimes require work from home.

    How will having kids change my schedule. Any tips on time management for new parents? Should I wake up an hour earlier and try to get more work done in the early morning? One of my colleagues stay after 2 hours at work and avoid going home; his wife is not too happy. Others try to work more in the weekends. Not sure what to expect.

  • #2
    Give your wife as much support as you can. Try to ease the load by taking some middle of the night feedings, etc. Whenever you think that you're tired, just remember that she is a lot more tired than you. Have a talk about when one of you gets frustrated by a crying baby, not sleeping baby, etc. then the other will take the baby while whoever needs some time to collect themselves (trust me, this will happen to both of you) gets some time to decompress.

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    • #3
      This really is between you and your wife. What the expectations are, but you just figure it out as you go. You won't know until you get there. Your wife may feel one way now but change later. You may have an easy or difficult baby. I have some colleagues (male) who haven't even changed a diaper, while others are heavily involved.

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      • #4
        When it comes to childcare, being at home is the real work. Being at home is more exhausting than going to work.

        Your wife will need you to be present when you are home. In the beginning during my mat leave, this was our schedule:

        9p to 2a: my husband was ‘on’. This was my time to rest. He would bring the baby to me to nurse, but would take care of all other needs. I would put earplugs in.

        2a -7a: my turn to be ‘on’. Husband would go to sleep.

        7a - 9a: my mother, who was living with us, would take over. So I would get a nap, and my husband would get to sleep until 8 or 9a.

        9a - 5p: the chaos that was the day. Husband coming home was always something I looked forward to.

        5p - 9a: the three of us would tag team. Which was helpful because this was when the baby was the fussiest.

        Good luck. For most, maternity leave is more exhausting than internship/residency. (Even for an Obgyn)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CordMcNally View Post
          Give your wife as much support as you can. Try to ease the load by taking some middle of the night feedings, etc. Whenever you think that you're tired, just remember that she is a lot more tired than you. Have a talk about when one of you gets frustrated by a crying baby, not sleeping baby, etc. then the other will take the baby while whoever needs some time to collect themselves (trust me, this will happen to both of you) gets some time to decompress.
          Also remember that putting baby in crib and walking away with ear plugs in, for a few minutes, is an option as well if you're alone.

          For me, getting all work done during work hours so I could be present at home has been the most important thing. We also hired out cleaning and lawn care. Your wife may need to hire a sitter for a few hours a week to have a break as well. Having a baby at home is the single most exhausting thing I've ever done. Also my favorite thing. Congratulations and good luck!

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          • #6
            Work less. Hire help.

            Noticeably absent: any allotted time for exercise. This will be an issue in 5 years.

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            • #7
              Just put your spouse and child first then plan work around that. It takes 2-4 weeks to get the hang of it. You will figure it out. I go to work a little earlier (baby sleeping anyways) so that I don't take as much work home. I'm happy to cut back at work too...

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              • #8
                you will find that these 2 things are true:

                1. in the first six months a lot will depend on how well the kid sleeps, this is a scale from 10 ("they slept through the night starting at three weeks!") to zero (incomprehensible zombies noises from parents).

                2. for at least the first 18 months or so the kid will have constantly shifting needs which makes it very hard to plan. you feel like you've sort of got it and then everything changes

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                • #9
                  “Not sure what to expect.”
                  Be flexible. Whatever you plan is sure to need to change. Have a backup plan. We used my Mom for three weeks. Your wife will need all the help you can give. Emotionally and physically each woman recovers differently and each newborn is different. You have a wife and newborn, either you or your backup needs to step up. Your wife needs to reach a point of “I got this” or “I need this”. She needs to set your schedule and change it with no resistance.
                  Believe me, she understands the need for your work, when she needs a nap she needs it on her schedule.
                  Smile, it’s a privilege to sacrifice. You can do it, probably not how you planned.
                  For the first, wife wanted attention immediately when I got home.
                  For the second, she wanted a 2 hour nap.
                  For the first, car seat on the dryer put the kid to sleep.(Many hours)
                  For the second, the car seat for a drive put the kid to sleep. (Many hours).
                  Just saying get ready to improvise and be flexible.
                  For some reasons kids can get cranky before they sleep and other times just doze off. Unpredictable.
                  Congratulations.

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                  • #10
                    “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
                    -Mike Tyson

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                    • #11
                      Having kids makes you realize how little time you have outside of work and how much time you waste at work. Time is fungible, every hour you spend going to faculty meetings, teach, grand rounds, etc are hours you could be spending with your kids. Nothing wrong with this of course, you just become more mindful of what you are spending your time doing.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all of your sage advices and making it real. This pregnancy has been smooth sailing for the most part so it hasn't really hit home for me yet. With my wife staying at home, I don't think I can afford to work less but we can hire help and I just have to be more efficient at work. We will have our mothers for the first month. I am also taking 3 weeks off. I have built up some good will within our group so perhaps I can offload some of the community service activities as well. You are absolutely right about the lack of exercise; just hit the home gym today.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GIMD View Post
                          Thanks for all of your sage advices and making it real. This pregnancy has been smooth sailing for the most part so it hasn't really hit home for me yet. With my wife staying at home, I don't think I can afford to work less but we can hire help and I just have to be more efficient at work. We will have our mothers for the first month. I am also taking 3 weeks off. I have built up some good will within our group so perhaps I can offload some of the community service activities as well. You are absolutely right about the lack of exercise; just hit the home gym today.
                          Sounds good.

                          Get comfortable asking for (and receiving) help. I am fiercely independent. And I hate feeling like I owe anyone anything. I had a hard time with this. But it’s really great when friends bring over meals or help with the kids.

                          Keep exercising. Dad bod is fine, but ICU bod is not (and you all know what I mean).

                          Also, get comfortable saying no and disappointing people. Also, get comfortable saying no without an excuse. “Hey, can you do X?” “No.” This can be tough without an excuse. “Sorry, I’m working in Y.” “Sorry, I already have plans.” Just “sorry, no.”

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by VentAlarm View Post
                            Work less. Hire help.

                            Noticeably absent: any allotted time for exercise. This will be an issue in 5 years.
                            You just have to train baby to love stroller time:-) My 5 yo still conks out when we put him in there for runs and walks. I would have lost my mind if I had to give up daily exercise for any length of time. BTW if you like to run the Thule chariot is worth its weight in gold. Ours is going strong 11 years now of pretty much daily use.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by wideopenspaces View Post

                              You just have to train baby to love stroller time:-) My 5 yo still conks out when we put him in there for runs and walks. I would have lost my mind if I had to give up daily exercise for any length of time. BTW if you like to run the Thule chariot is worth its weight in gold. Ours is going strong 11 years now of pretty much daily use.
                              I used to run with my eldest. I could never do more than a couple miles with the kid - it’s hilly here and they always destroyed me. He’s 5 now. He hasn’t been in a stroller in 2 years. No chance he would get in it now - he won’t do anything he associated with babies.

                              OP - one of the nice things about this is that baby exercise equipment (running strollers, wagons behind bikes, etc) is that it is only used for a season. If you live in a nice area, you can likely find a used one for cheap. A $700 running stroller sells for like $75 at a garage sale.

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