Why Being a Mom Makes You a Better Professional
It can be hard to see when you feel like you’re barely keeping it together. You’re so distracted by the fact that you feel behind with a massive to-do list in front of you.
How can you possibly be better at your job now than back when the only thing you had to worry about was your job?
Now, your worry list is filled with things like what you’re going to make for dinner, when you should schedule that first dentist appointment, and how you’re going to get out of that meeting in time to make it to daycare pick-up.
Argue as much as you want, but despite how full your brain feels with the million things you are juggling, you bring something to your profession that not everyone does. A special superpower, if you will. You’re a mom.
You Make Quick Decisions
When you’re in the moment dealing with what feels like a crisis with your kids - someone is hurt, someone is hungry, you forgot a change of clothes - you act quickly and decisively. There is no time to weigh the pros and cons of which band-aid to use or which snack would be more nutritious. You just make the decision and own it. That is an INVALUABLE skill that is so often overlooked in the workplace. Being able to make a quick and honest decision about how to respond, what next step to take, or whether that meeting is truly necessary, means more time for the next project and so on and so on. Decision-making is a skill, and one that I would argue has been honed just by the simple fact that you are a mom.
You Negotiate Like a Pro
Negotiating in parenting is not always advised by the experts, I know, but we’ve all been there. The strength and willpower of a toddler is like nothing I had ever experienced before and so, with practice, negotiation skills are necessary. Whether you’re trying to get one more bite of a vegetable or looking for good behavior in a public setting, you’ve no doubt practiced some negotiating. So when you need to close that deal, reach an agreement among committee members, or assign responsibilities to your team, just picture the last conversation you had with your toddler, or teenager, and draw from that vast well of experience.
You Prioritize and Re-prioritize
I talk a lot about finding your priorities or getting your priorities straight after you become a mom. The added responsibilities of being a mom, no less a working mom, require you to take stock of everything you have going on and make some choices about what stays and what goes. That can be across the grand scheme of your life, or just within a certain day when you know you have more you want to do than you actually have time to do it in. With more and more employees being asked to do more with less, you have to know how to prioritize your work. And that list of priorities likely changes several times throughout the day, let alone week or quarter. But not to worry. As a mom, you could do this in your sleep!
You Have Empathy and Understanding
Not all moms immediately become soft, emotional and motherly toward their peers and colleagues after becoming a mom, but understanding the sheer strength and stamina that it takes to do both of these demanding roles - mothering and working - certainly provides you with a certain level of human understanding. We’ve all been in the position of needing that understanding ourselves when you have a sick child that has to stay home, you have spilled milk on your shirt heading into a presentation, or you left your wallet in the diaper bag at home. It happens to even the most put-together moms. And you know what it feels like to have someone laugh with you, reschedule your meeting unprompted, or loan you a stain stick so you can minimize the damage. It feels good. It feels like you’re not alone. So extending that same understanding to others doesn’t make you weak, it actually makes you powerful. And I think we could all use a little more empathy in the workplace.
You Understand the Importance of Time
With the amount of time that you spend away from your kids each week at work, it’s important to you that you make it count. No working mom wants to spend her days being unproductive or working toward something that isn’t going to have some benefit personally, professionally or for the greater good. So you show up to work each day and you make it count as best you can. Sure, you might have non-parent colleagues who can devote endless hours to their work, but you? You can create the same results in less time because you have a deadline. You have kids to get home to and another job that means the world to you - being a mom. That drive and that commitment to work efficiently and effectively is worth more than hours “on the clock.”
So the next time you question how you compare to your colleagues who don’t have kids or how well you’re doing at work when you feel pulled in a million directions, remember your superpowers. You do so much, so well, because you are a mom, not in spite of it.
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