Celebrity guest blogger Kendra Wilkinson, star of E's reality show Kendra and mom to toddler Hank Jr., reveals how she balances work and family life. Read Kendra's previous posts on what kind of parent she hopes to be, her healthy eating tricks for Baby Hank, and how she tries to protect him from bullying.
Finding a good balance between my career and my family was a tough thing to do, and it took me a long while to get to where I am today. Figuring it out took a lot of time, patience and work. Balance is something that you need to work at to achieve—it’s not just something that exists. If you create a new life, you are automatically off-balance because your whole world becomes about that baby. It doesn't get to just be you or just you and your hubby. It took me two years to get to where I am with being balanced between career and family, and I think I will always continue to learn and grow and get better at this balancing act.
Let me tell you though, the first year with the baby was a mess. I didn't know how to balance it out at all. I was a new parent, still pretty much a newlywed and was still working. I had to shoot my show, travel to promote my show, write my second book and had to take care of my family all at the same time. It took a huge toll on me because my mind and my heart were really only with my family—I just wanted to be at home with my son and my husband but my body had to be at work. It's very difficult when your head and your heart are somewhere else; it was a struggle to focus and be the best Kendra I could be at work. Sometimes, I would feel so guilty when I had to leave the baby to go to work. After the third time that I had to go on a press tour traveling to promote my work it began to naturally feel better. It started to come together and now I can take the time that I need to be away from my baby (which is not easy) and make sure I log enough me-time that when I am home it's all about him. It took a lot of tears and a lot of breakdowns to get over it, but as a mom leaving your kid for the first time is one of the hardest things you will ever do in your entire life. Luckily, after the first time away it definitely gets easier.
I don't know what I would do without technology. Honestly, if there were no Skype I don't know how I would be able to leave the baby and Hank. We are so lucky and blessed to have the technology we do today so I can see my son's lil’ face even if I'm across the country working for a week. My husband had also struggled with balancing work and career but this technology has been amazing for us. One time Baby Hank was on the verge of beginning to walk and I skyped my husband when he was playing football across the country and after a few minutes lil’ Hank started walking! Baby Hank took his first steps right in front of me, and my husband got to see that and still do his job across the country that day. I think it's so important to take advantage of what we have and what we can do, and I take advantage of technology all the time. My son will never go a day without hearing my voice and seeing my face, and that helps a lot.
Most of us moms and dads have to work so we can provide for our families, but it's so hard to leave. I used to be anti-nannies. If I wasn't there, I didn't want someone else there taking my place! It has taken me almost two years to realize that I could accept the help from a nanny and that she wasn’t going to take my place. As silly as it sounds, I really was scared that even being gone for a few hours, someone would take my place and Baby Hank wouldn't know who I was when I got back. I look back and laugh now because I used to honestly think of a nanny as the enemy! LOL
Also, if you have the family support system, USE IT. Baby Hank is always with his grandparents and I absolutely love that. Having family involved helps to have balance because your kids get to be with family and you can go do something for yourself or feel better being at work knowing your baby is being cared for and loved. If you're having a really hard time leaving to go to work the first few times, maybe try and have your child be taken care of by someone close to you (like a grandparent, a best friend, or other family member)—someone who can update you all day so you feel better. It will ease you into it and also help you to realize that when you're at work all day most likely nothing life altering will happen that day. You will still know what your child’s favorite toys are, their favorite books, that they like to go to the park and that they still love you and you love them. They miss you while you are gone too, it will be okay and will make the time you spend together more special.
If you work outside of the home, how do you strike a balance between your family and career?