Each one of us has been forced to adapt to the ‘new normal’ this year. Yet Michael Lowe has been adjusting to his ‘new normal’ since April, 2019, when he welcomed his first child, Zoey, into the world. Since then, the Spatial Data Analyst at TransGrid has realised parenting is a constant evolution. There will always be more to learn. Here, Michael opens up about the importance of flexibility, discovering his parenting legacy, and the art of knowing when to stop listening to unsolicited advice.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming a parent?
Being a parent never stops and as ready and prepared as I thought I was, there’s always more to learn, experience and take in.
What is one strategy that you’ve taken away from the Grace Papers program?
Focusing on my Parenting Legacy. Thinking about how I view my parents and the memories of my childhood, then thinking about how I want my daughter to think back on my wife and I. It changed the way I approach parenting.
What hurdles did you come up against on your journey to balance both career and care?
Thankfully my manager has been extremely understanding and supportive in establishing a good work-life balance. They have enabled adaptive methods to help me ensure that my work gets done while also getting time to be a dad. COVID-19 has definitely turned a few things on their head but we cope the best way we can. What I’ve learned about the juggle is that open communications and respect are vital, followed by being flexible. There is a lot of understanding in my team and I also understand the job still needs to get done. Being flexible has really been the key.
What advice would you give any expectant or new working parent?
Look at the opportunities you have available to you. ‘Share the care’ leave enabled me to really empathise with taking care of a young child by myself – something my wife had done for several months while I was at work. Taking these opportunities are a great way to develop.
What would be your advice to any manager out there in terms of enabling their staff to balance both career and care?
Start an open conversation. I believe happier staff are always going to be harder workers.
Looking back now, what advice would you give yourself at the time you decided to have a child?
There’s a time to listen to people for advice and there’s a time to establish what works best for you and your family. Focus on working these out and it will save you a load of stress and confusion.
What words do you live by?
Obsessed is what the lazy use to describe dedicated.
What I’ve Learned is a series dedicated to sharing the collective wisdom of the Grace Papers’ community.