Being a working mom can be overwhelming.
You, of course, have the stresses of just being a mom and taking care of tiny humans in between grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, and all that other “adulting.” And then, you also have the daily pressures of your job. For me, that means managing timelines, prepping for meetings, giving presentations, keeping clients happy, and the like.
Now, don’t get me wrong; I choose to be a working mom and think it’s what works best for me and my family. But, balancing full-time momming with full-time working is HARD. Although I struggled with mom guilt when my kids were little, it’s the work guilt that gets me now. This is likely exacerbated by the fact that I am one of only a few moms in my office. I often find myself apologizing and overcompensating for my parental duties.
“Sorry, I’ve got to drop to head to pickup!”
“The kids have a [insert appointment, injury, event, etc.], but I’ll be back online later tonight!”
I should note that I am extremely lucky to work for a company that is both flexible and family-friendly. No one at work makes me feel guilty for being a mom; I just do.
Or, at least, I did.
Recently, I was dealing with an issue at work, and I couldn’t help but note the similarities to a situation I’d navigated at home with my two boys. “Could it be,” I thought, “that being a mom actually helps me do my job better??”
And you know what? It damn sure does. And it probably helps you, too. Here are just some of the ways those mom skills work at work:
Putting Things In Perspective
When I was still young in my career (and childless), everything I did at work seemed really important. Small decisions could make or break an account and I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. After having my first child, I realized how much bigger life is than just work. And, while I still stress from time to time (I am human, after all), motherhood gave me the perspective I desperately needed to prioritize and occasionally refocus my efforts.
Multitasking Like a Mother
There isn’t a mom in the world who hasn’t had to do two (or four or twelve) things at once, and this skill is one that comes in handy at work, too. When you’ve simultaneously fed an infant while entertaining a toddler while cooking dinner, regular job multitasking is a walk in the park. (Seriously, major props to all the full-time mamas; y’all the real MVPs).
Working from home during COVID with two kids for five months certainly gave me plenty of great examples, but I’m particularly proud of the time I helped lead a Zoom meeting for work while simultaneously reading a book to my youngest.
Vanilla Ice has nothing on moms when it comes to solving problems, and I happen to think we’ve got a leg up on all the non-moms, too. Whether it’s settling a disagreement between siblings or figuring out how to change a blowout diaper in the middle of Target with a single wipe and a prayer, moms have done it all. At work, we call that “critical thinking skills,” and you need it in just about any career you can think of.
Momma Bear Mentality
I have always been pretty protective of my people, but becoming a mom pushed those tendencies to the next level. And while it may not seem important in a work setting, everyone needs a work mom to remind them to take a break, eat lunch, and talk it out. (Hence the reason my work fam dubbed me @mama_blair_.)
Lots of Listening
If you have a chatty child, I feel you, Mama. Sometimes those kiddos just need to be heard, and moms have developed the keen ability to actively listen while also knocking out other responsibilities (see Multitasking). Similarly, when you work with people, they like to be heard, too! Moms already have practice and patience in that arena, which helps encourage an open and collaborative work environment.
Making More (Time) Out of Less
If I had a dollar for every time I said the phrase, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day,” I wouldn’t be writing this blog. Working moms are notoriously running from one thing to the next, with very little (if any) time leftover for themselves. But while the assumption is that moms get less done because of having less time, they are actually shown to get more done in a shorter period of time. And doesn’t every employer want that?
Compassion for Coworkers
Being a mom may make us more tired and occasionally more cranky, but guess what? It also makes us super understanding of our colleagues and coworkers having lives and responsibilities outside of work. You don’t have to be a parent to have a family, and moms “get it” a bit more in my experience. And if/when you are ready to start a family, we’ll be there to welcome you to the club.