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Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices."
No one appreciates struggling to find this balance between making choices and enjoying them more than a new mom.
We talked to Leigh Koon, who in our opinion, seems to walk this balance very well. She devotes time to her one and a half year old daughter’s upbringing and development, while leading the Member Engagement team at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida…all with a healthy dose of fun mixed in.
Leigh always knew that she would be going back to work after twelve weeks of maternity leave. The decision – although made ahead of time – required a lot of organization and planning. The biggest decision: trying to find the best child care option for a newborn. To do this, Leigh enlisted all the resources she had access to and narrowed down her options to 12 daycare facilities and set out to meet and interview them all. Her advice: “You won’t know what you like and what works for you until you know what definitely does not work for you.”
Leigh headed back to work three months after her baby was born. To ease the transition for herself and for her daughter she started daycare the week before she went back to work. Each day she would leave her daughter with the care takers for just a little longer. By the time her first day of work arrived both she and the baby were used to the morning routine and separating for the day.
Breast feeding her daughter was really important to Leigh because it is so healthy for both the baby and the mother. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the US goal is to have 50% of new moms breast feed for six months and 25% for one year. In order to be able to do this for her daughter, Leigh utilized the Wellness Rooms in her building to pump while at work until a few weeks shy of her daughter’s first birthday.
Her advice to new mothers facing a dilemma on what to do: “It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you are able to, breast feed as much as you can and supplement when you need to”.
How does Leigh stay sane and keep a work/life balance?
· Acknowledge that it is hard, but that you are doing a great job.
· Use the tools you have access to. Leigh uses many of the WebMD® tools found within MyBlueService to manage her health and her family’s health. In particular, she calls out the health topics, care comparison tool, child health manager and symptom checker tools, as examples.
· You are your child’s advocate, so be strong and do what you know is best your child’s health, even though this may be different from what your friends and relatives have done.
· When you ask for and accept help, you may need to compromise a little. It’s okay to decide on certain rules that will not be broken, but at times you may want to bend a little. For instance, you may stand firm about not giving your child sweetened foods, but relax and just be grateful when it comes to how others fold and organize the piles of baby laundry.