The moment I became a mum I felt a whole new kind of responsibility, empowerment and force. I want to provide the best for my child. I want to be a role model. I want to offer my baby world adventures. To me that means creating a career that allows me to discover the world with my child AND having dinner with him every single night.
Being pregnant, becoming a mum and combining this with a sky-rocket career can seem like a tough equation though. I have met many new mums, nervous about returning to work, as they won’t be able to work like before their child came into this world (though a lot of mums end up working double (from home) every night, when baby is sound asleep!). My mind is often at work thinking about this, as I do not believe that becoming a mum makes you less of a good employee. On the contrary!
I am a 4 months and 11 days old mum. In this short period of time, I have learned so many new things and I am constantly refining my skills – all this to ensure that we are all happy at home, have clean clothes to wear, have healthy food to eat and so on. So why is it that we are not regarding maternity leave as the world’s best project management crash course?
The skills we acquire while being on parental leave, are (very often) the same skills many employers are looking for in their employees. So, put those skills on your CV and LinkedIn – flaunt what you’ve learnt. Below I have listed some of the skills that most mamas can confidently say that they are mastering better than before going on leave.
NB! If you’re a dad reading this – this goes just as well for you. This is merely written with a mama’s eyes.
Getting a baby, you quickly need to learn how to decode your baby’s signals. Is he hungry? Tired? In need of a cuddle? Your baby is dependent on you for survival, which is underlining how important it is to quickly develop and constantly refine your non-verbal communication skills and as your child grows, your verbal communication skills as well.
Additionally, you need to communicate with doctors, midwives, health visitors, teachers and so on. Clear communication is critical as these conversations concerns your sweet baby.
Problem solving skills and solution-orientation
Babies and children represent an endless list of things to be solved. Understanding why your baby cries, when to start weaning, which clothing to put on in the hot summer and cold winter, changing a dirty nappy in cars, finding the right nursery for your child, answering questions about everything you can imagine – and all this without any kind of preparation.
Time management and planning skills
Babies and children do not care about you needing to get the laundry done, buying groceries, getting your teeth brushed, having a shower and keeping the house clean. Becoming a parent, you quickly learn to plan ahead in order to ensure everyone is well fed, your hair is clean, and you have fresh undies in your wardrobe. I think most mamas know the feeling of becoming the Tasmanian devil with an apron on, a vacuum cleaner in the hand, while cleaning the toilet, having lunch and scrolling through Instagram, whenever baby is sound asleep. And I have not even mentioned the work that goes ahead of planning a vacation…
Prioritising and multitasking
Which things are essential, and which can wait? Having a little one on your arm 24/7 makes you an expert in prioritising, to make sure your everyday is in balance. And for those things that just cannot wait, you quickly become a master of making cooking fun for everyone or entertaining while hanging the wet clothes to dry. The list continues…
Negotiating with a child is unavoidable. And they might just be the most stubborn opponent you’ll ever meet. Creativity is most definitely a sub-category here, as you need to think out of the box while negotiating – and this is not done via a well-reflected email, as these small creatures want your reaction asap (!).
Empathy and responsiveness
Your child is dependent on you, and your ability to understand. Even though some things may seem completely irrational, you need to put yourself into your child’s shoes to find a solution to the whatever situation you may face; a crying baby, needy toddler or something third. This is essential to ensure your child feels protected and safe in the world.
I am in no doubt that my general efficiency has been multiplied with one thousand. I can clean, wash, empty the dish washer, hang clothes, get dressed, brush my teeth and scroll through Instagram in 1 nap. And on that note, I must add that my hubby think I am suffering from some kind of cleaning OCD, so nothing is done half way in my world.
Unfortunately, it is not possible coordinate having babies at the same time as all your friends, so unless you get involved in the local mama-environment you might end up a bit baby crazy. That’s why networking skills are essential when becoming a parent. You quickly learn to reach out, initiate conversations with strangers (other mums), and in general building up a strong network of new friends. Luckily there are many ways of doing this – such as Mush Mush mums and Busylizzy.
I sincerely hoped to have inspired a few mamas out there. I am a big fan of sharing, inspiring and getting inspired. I have gained a lot of inspiration from Barsel & Karriere and IBB. They are both Danish initiatives, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find an English equivalent so far.
Good luck with it mamas.