The past week featured a whole slew of dialogue about a NY Times article that was printed in the Style section this past Sunday. I spent a highly caffeinated weekend morning crafting a response which was then posted on my work site. Feel free to click through and let me know what you think!
The dialogue that that article inspired was not always positive. There was a lot of vitriol being flung around, and much of it was focused on the perception of mom bloggers in the media. The NY Times article (again, read my Edelman post for my full analysis) was condescending and demeaning. It positioned mom bloggers (who were referred to as mommies, which just gets my hackles up) as superficial, silly women.
This morning, I was invited to attend a breakfast panel sponsored by the Executive Club of Chicago. The topic? “The Feminine Edge: You Don’t Have to be One of the ‘Boys’ to Succeed." While I listened to successful female executives share their stories, I started thinking about my own story. I started to think about how my personal being, my existence as a woman, and, more importantly, as a mom, has shaped my career.
Here then, are the five ways that being a mom has helped me in the business world:
- I am phenomenal at triage. With kids, you have to constantly figure out what is serious and what is not. Do you need a bandaid or the ER? Was the fight with your friend TRULY that traumatic? It's the same at work. With multiple deadlines every day and a staff that is now over 50, I can't possibly address every situation immediately. Voila! My parenting-honed triage skills come in handy all the time.
- I'm not unique in pointing this out, but it begs to be included here. The moment a woman becomes a mom, her multitasking ability increases exponentially. The number of things that I can do at any given time is truly staggering, and I use this skill every day at work. The insane number of tabs and programs open on my laptop right now are a testament to this.
- I can face emotional outbursts in a calm and detached manner. The number of emotional outbursts that occur in my house on any given day is staggering. I forgot to put ice in Max's nighttime cup of milk? Meltdown. I tell Dylan it's time to do her dinner? Door slammed. So, when an employee walks into my office crying? I am totally calm. Someone gets angry? I am not at all offended (well... not for long).
- I am incredibly solution-oriented. When you have helped a child create a one-month Flat Stanley project in just three days, you know that you can solve almost anything. I have tackled complex homework assignments. I have come up with creative outfits when the laundry wasn't done. I have changed poopy diapers with no wipes in the house. Compared to these situations, the challenges that arise at work are easy to tackle.
- I am stubborn as hell. When you live with small children, you are forced to stand firm all the time. No dessert until you finish your dinner. No TV until you do your reading. My ability to stick to my guns is very useful in the workplace. Whether it's defending an idea to a client or urging an employee to reach the goals he set last year, I have a hard time giving up the fight.
So, to all the moms (and dads) reading this. Do you agree? Has parenting made you a better employee?