067: Life admin for new parents

baby feet and adult hands

In this ep, Mia and Dinah share their experiences and top hacks to streamline life admin for new parents. Conventional wisdom recommends parents-to-be focus their discussions and planning on housework and parenting. But there is a third dimension of domestic life to discuss and organise: life admin. Life admin explodes when you have a baby, just at the time you are sleep deprived and learning to care for a new member of your family.

In this ep, Mia and Dinah discuss:

  • that before you have children you have more leisure time, physical and mental energy and life admin is done independently or designed around two people. When a baby enters your family life admin systems need to accommodate another person. 
  • When the baby is first born it’s really important to prioritise what life admin you need to do. Prioritising is about deciding what you won’t do, getting clear about what’s truly urgent or important and letting go of the rest
  • that in different-sex couples there is a tendency for stereotypical domestic roles to kick in and that it’s essential to have the negotiation early with your partner about who will do what in terms of housework, child care and life admin. It’s important to get good at having this conversation as the discussion will need to be had again and again as the baby develops, its needs change, parental leave finishes and paid work resumes. 
  • Some of the life admin you can attend to before you have a baby: 
    • choosing your healthcare provider and managing appointments
    • adding your baby to waiting lists for childcare 
    • meal preparation – planning for sleep deprivation
    • creating a checklist of what to take to the hospital
    • setting up a keepsake system
    • securing all the baby equipment  and supplies you will need
    • updating your budget to reflect your new circumstances and be confident about how much time off from work you can take
    • preparing or updating your will including identifying guardians for your children
    • reviewing your life and income protection insurance
    • identifying options for online shopping and meal kits for the first few months when leaving home can be challenging
    • planning a babymoon!
  • After the baby is born and you are on parental leave, the day and week lack the normal structure that work once provided. It can be helpful to create a schedule for the housework and life admin tasks and a daily routine for yourself and baby.
  • When you return to work, routines and schedules support the smooth functioning of your household. As the baby develops your daily routine needs to shift as eat, sleep and play times will change from month to month. You need to embrace the idea that you need to redesign your life every three-six months as their needs change.
  • Some of the other life admin hacks for after the baby is born include:
    • lists! –  checklists and to-do lists that are shared with your partner 
    • registering with Services Australia for the parental leave payment
    • decluttering – developing habits to declutter as you go
    • meal planning and bulk cooking – particularly when your baby starts solids
    • keeping track of health appointments in a shared digital calendar
    • starting a cloud storage system for filing important documents
    • adding your baby to your private health insurance policy if you have one
    • planning your social Life – hard but important – people priority vs event priority – lots of changes – need to be deliberate.

RESOURCES

Life Admin Hacks the book

Episode 26: Optimising kid admin

Episode 45 – Tracey Spicer on upskilling your kids to contribute at home

Episode 51: Michael Grose on upskilling your kids to contribute

Episode 54: Daycare and school transitions

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