Adjust your expectations
Updated: Oct 22, 2022
Expectations are the enemy in parenting. From planning a home birth that ends in an emergency c-section, to the vision of yourself as a parent that bares no resemblance to the parent you are now... Expecting to maintain the career you had, after kids, is a tough adjustment, but you might also find new avenues of fulfilment.
Like parenting, this is really about the kids - but tell us a little something about yourself
I am a lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience, based at the University of Manchester, UK
How old are your kids?
I have a 7 year old boy
What is your favourite parenting hack?
Adjust your expectations! There may be a few exceptions out there (particularly those who get lots of help), but, if you're isolated from family, then expect to suddenly be able to do much less. Some people pull this off by becoming super-efficient, but for mere mortals, work out how to scrape together time for work when you can. You simply can't work at the same rate as e.g. postdoc/pre-kids, though you'll no doubt try initially. Go easy on yourself and try to have a clear strategy for the projects that are most important.
What do you find most difficult as a parent?
It affects so many aspects of your working life! From dropping off kids, picking them up, having a restricted schedule, having to use most of your take home pay to cover nursery/after-school clubs/classes.
What never fails to bring you joy as a parent?
Kids are (after the initial difficult years of not sleeping), lots and lots of fun. Your papers will never be that important, but your parenting always will be.
a side note
These posts serve partly as therapy for me, and partly in hopes that the words will resonate with you and help build a community of parents and friends that can support each other. Take a look around the website, and join if you want to see more.