When I was on university, I was always thinking how it will be afterwards. The family, work, outdoor activities, friends, living, …
During the university studies, I have started to work part-time for a big software house. I totally focused on my career and haven’t realized how the time started to fly much quicker than before.
We have moved to a new apartment, I have changed company, we had wedding with my greatest wife and for next 4 years it was more or less steady but still quick – work, summer holidays, running, biking, … In the evenings, reading books, self-study and working on my career (of course with overtimes :-).
And suddenly my wife was pregnant…
I was really happy and blessed but also thinking how this will influence my career. Of course we were thinking and talking about having kids before but as always it’s a “tiny” difference between talking or thinking about something and then actually doing anything 🙂
After having two kids now (one 5,5 years old and second 9 months old (as of writing this post)), I can safely say that the process of having kids can be (in certain extend :-)) compared to the forming–storming–norming–performing model of group development which was first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965.
During “forming” stage, the baby is still not born, you prepare for a new “team member” to arrive – you paint the room, buy cloths, bed, diapers, and such to be prepared. You still don’t know (fully) what each team member will do after the birth. Especially with first baby.
“Storming” phase is the birth itself and couple of days/weeks afterwards. Baby suddenly consumes all your free time. There are some conflicts between parents about time management, time for sleeping, … Stay strong as this phase will not take long 🙂
After “storming”, “norming” phase comes. After couple of weeks, family is (somewhat) organized, everybody knows its place in team/family. Baby still consumes lot of free time but is already used to play alone so use this time wisely – reading books, watching e-learning courses and such to stay on track. Try to go to sleep as soon as possible to prepare for the nights without sleep (teeth will come out, belly hurts, …).
After couple of months the family was again in “performing” stage. Especially when baby can walk already alone. You can go to trips for longer distances without hearing crying the whole trip. You are more independent as kids are more independent. Try to sit near them so they feel your presence and read or do something else. Help them sometimes.
When my first son had 1 year, my wife was asked to come back to her former company, I took this as an opportunity to make a better connection with my son. I went therefore for a 7 months long parental leave. In Slovakia you are eligible to take 6 months and I took some spare vacation days/weeks on top 🙂
I had really awesome time with my son. We were cooking together, eating, playing, going for longer walks (I did the walking at that time and he was in stroller :-). I really enjoyed this time. When he was sleeping during the day or in the evenings, I was reading books or watching some e-learning courses to stay up to date. You can do it also.
At the end I have to say – Having kids is worth every single sleepless night, every single second spent with them and every moment you haven’t spent on your career. Kids deserve it. Period!
Hug/kiss/smile from them will pay back multiple times everything “bad”. You will forget about these “bad” things and only remember the good ones. Family is the biggest “asset”. Career is just career. Birth of your kids will not ruin your career, it will just slightly slower it… So have no worries and carry on!