For centuries, a husband and father's job has remained essentially the same - it is his duty to leave the family, hunt, and return with sustenance. Although we now bring home money rather than venison, men are still what they always have been: hunters and gatherers. This will never be more important than during your wife's first few weeks after the birth. Since she is recovering and possibly unable to work herself, the job of financial provider may rest solely on your shoulders. You may find yourself working longer hours, and putting your work away once you get home will become more and more difficult. It is important, however, to separate your work from your family. Constantly fretting about business prevents you from living in the moment and cherishing each and every second with your beautiful new baby. It can also strain your relationship with your wife, who may think you're "at home, but not at home." If you're having trouble leaving work at work, or if you're just trying to find a balance, take some advice:
- Rearrange your schedule, not your family's - If you have to put in extra hours to finish a particularly large project, don't steal those hours from your family. Instead of staying late, go in early. Although you might have a hard time dragging yourself out of bed in the morning, it's better to lose a few hours sleep than lose a few hours of raising your daughter.
- Turn off your laptop - With technology at it's peak, we literally never have to leave our offices. Even at home, we're connected to every facet of our work - through out laptops, our Blackberries, our cell phones, and our email accounts. If you don't extract yourself from work, then, it will constantly be hanging over your head. Turn off your electronics, no matter how hard it may be. If you're too dedicated to work to do so, then you have a problem. Being a workaholic is a very real issue, and you may need counseling.
- Practice a no-work policy - Let it be known around your house that you will do absolutely no work while at home. Don't forget to circulate this around the office, as well. Inform all your coworkers that no issue is important enough to require you to work during your family's time. If there is a problem, it will still be there when you arrive in the morning. Unless you're a major corporate player pulling in tens of millions of dollars every year, there is never a reason you should be answering calls from work at 8 p.m.
- Take the long way home - No one should be expected to jump seamlessly from one role to another. After a long day of fretting over work issues, it may be hard to put those away enough to enjoy your time at home. Give yourself time to let go of your workday by taking the long way home. Drive through a park, get a soda somewhere or just park and let your thoughts drift. Let go of work before you get home, so you'll be ready to devote your night to your family.