Work lessons learned from being a parent (or what I now know from being a working mum)
I’m a parent. I have been parenting for over 10 years now. I have two, one of each, so job done!
I am not an expert on parenting or working, I am merely a Mum with a small business. There are inspirational women out there that run multinational FTSE100 companies and have a whole brood waiting for them at home that might provide better guidance, but sometimes the little things come from the little people.
The lessons I have learned over the past couple of years have been invaluable and may resonate with some of you parent readers (or the ones that may stupidly think you would like to be a parent one day!):
Don’t believe what everyone tells you
In parent circles, there are the ‘I knit my own baby clothes and puree my own home grown organic veg’ people. However at home they are oven baking Turkey Dinosaurs like the rest of us.
In the working world there will always be someone proclaiming to be doing your job perfectly. You will know who they are because they will be telling everyone about how truly amazing they are. They do not necessarily think they are totally awesome but they have the gumption and balls to put themselves out there.
Don’t believe a word. No-one has ever done a job perfectly. There is always a small room for improvement in everything that ever gets done.
Don’t compare! Do a job to the best of your own ability, in the time and to the means you have available.
Proclaim your achievements. Every work goal achieved is something worth sharing.
A recent purchase was my multiple column calendar, this was shortly bought after forgetting that it was a ‘super hero’ day at nursery and having a very sad 4 year old in school uniform.
Some of you will be in the position where you are organizing multiple people over multiple businesses or working with colleagues in multiple time zones. Some of you will have just your day to juggle.
The best thing you can do is become uber organized: ‘to do’ lists, colour coded diary entries, a daily and weekly process that becomes second nature and concrete expectations of yourself, your team and the key colleagues within your organization.
Many days have started off with a plan of attack. Get up, eat, dress, school, afterschool activity, dinner, bath, reading and bed. However all it takes is one lost school shoe and the day is in melt down.
Whilst it is important to have structure in your work, working rigidly to it will leave you often disappointed and frustrated when one issue comes along to derail it.
Be prepared to be flexible, make concessions, put time aside for the ‘unforeseen circumstance’ and not hold to tightly onto what should’ve happened that day.
There is a time to be selfish
A majority of parents will tell you that their kids are their priority however in reality you can often lose track of what nourishes you.
Everyone loves a team player however whilst running around like a greyhound delivering what other people need you to, you can easily forget what you need to achieve too.
Understand what you need to prioritise in order to make you work and life balance and simply make sure that happens before lending your time to others projects.
You are going to fail
And you are going to fail a lot!
It really is about getting back up.
Be aware that others influence your decisions
When you bring your new human into the world you have every hope and dream for them, however they are your hopes and dreams. You forget that they will have their own personality, likes, dislikes and opinions or that social and economic circumstances will effect their direction in life.
In the working world everyone wants to achieve their own goals.
You may have a clear idea of what you want to happen in the future however other people will equally have their own idea, these on occasion will be the same but more often will not, listen, discuss, compromise and come to the best outcome for all.
You can’t reason with unreasonable people
I often find myself in overly long conversations with small children, debating the merits of sleeping, eating green food or cleaning themselves. Why, because they are yet to be totally informed.
We have all worked with someone that despite the glaringly obvious flaws will stick to a plan or way of working regardless. No matter how diplomatic your approach you are unable to change it.
Sometimes you have to accept that you cannot steer or influence a situation and there will be no immediate resolution. Some people need to learn their own lessons, will only receive information from certain people and sources and will eventually fail or change.
Never get too attached to a project:
I have written this blog before but it was deleted by the 7 yr old one who is currently sitting opposite me with the remnants of pizza (not homemade) on his head and a lemon lolly in his mouth.
Never leave your child near your laptop, save often and don’t become overly precious on a project, it will be tweaked, amended and sometimes scrapped. Move on!
It is the best job in the world
The Minis may be challenging, noisy and have broken everything I own but watching them grow into spirited and loving individuals is the most rewarding and entertaining job I will ever do.
Your job may be challenging, tiring and sometimes all consuming but if you achieve what you set out to and are rewarded and appreciated then what more could you ask?