I was going to blog about this article in the On Balance blog on the Washington Post’s website. Then I worked a 12 hour day and I thought, maybe blogging about work today isn’t the best idea. But I’m a wild and crazy gal, so here goes.
I actually saw something about this a while back in one of the parenting magazines I get. [I'd tell you which parenting magazine, but I get quite a few and I don't remember which one it was.] I remember the parenting magazine made some of these same points. Parents [especially mothers] know how to multi-task and how to prioritize. Yes, we have less energy, but we’ve learned how to pack more in to less time.
Before I was a parent, I often stayed late. But I stayed late because I spent much of my day chatting with my co-workers knowing I had the time to finish stuff up later. Now that I’m a mom, I know I want to be out the door at 5:30pm because I have agendas to sign, books to listen to as my kids read them to me, homework to help with and hungry mouths that need to be fed a healthy meal [not fast food]. So now I have to prioritize my day to make sure I can get out the door at 5:30pm. Even today I left work early so I could run to the store, get home to give hugs and kisses and then finish my work day from home.
But besides multi-tasking and prioritizing, being a parent has helped me deal with people. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes run in to people who make my seven year old’s look mature. Being a parent I have learned the patience [sometimes] to deal with these people. Being a parent, I have learned to talk so somebody will listen. My kids taught me quickly that yelling at them gets me nowhere. Instead I had to find ways to talk to them that made them think cleaning their room was their idea.
Being a parent I have learned to stand up for myself. I was extremely shy as a child. I rarely stood up for myself. But then I had children and I realized I had to teach them to stand up for themselves. And I wasn’t going to do that if I didn’t do it for myself. Plus now that I have kids I don’t have time to wrestle with bullshit. I don’t want to hear excuses. I don’t want to discuss for hours on end why you think you’re right. I just want to cut to the chase and make decisions. I’m a busy and tired girl after all. I don’t have time to let somebody walk all over me anymore.
Now that I’m a parent, I have more responsiblity. Prior to parenthood I switched jobs about as often as I changed my underwear. [Ok, maybe not that often, cause I swear I change my underwear daily.] I got bored, I got a new job. I didn’t like my boss, I got a new job. A co-worker was a total slacker and that really pissed me off, I got a new job. But now I have soccer club and football uniforms and ballet classes and wrestling meets and school field trips and preschool to pay for. I have to have insurance for doctor’s visits and emergency oopses and braces. Now I run in to a “challenge” at work and I’m forced to find a way to deal with it. Because now I don’t have the luxury of just quiting and getting a temp job. Now I have a mortgage and a car payment and I need to be responsible. So I work harder at my job to prove that I’m the right employee for the job.
I know some people think that parents are big slackers. Parents always want to leave early. Parents are always using more sick days. I’ve heard it all. And some of that is true. For some people. But ultimately, I think being a parent really helps most employees do better at their job.