Why the distraction you fear that working parents have...is a good thing
s human beings, we’re wired to connect and feel purposeful. On average, we spend 90,000 hours working across our lifetime. So it’s no wonder that 9 in 10 workers would take a pay cut if it meant having the opportunity to participate in more purposeful work. We have an inherent desire to be part of something that’s bigger than ourselves. After investing such a long period of time in our work prior to raising our children, why are we considered incompatible with certain types of work just because we become parents?
Parenting is one of life’s experiences that cannot be truly understood, prepared for or felt until it’s lived. Perhaps once guilty of rolling our eyes when someone came in late because of a child related emergency at home, or clocking off “early” (4:30 shock horror!) to get to pick-up on time, now of course, our view on working parents has shifted 180. Working parents should not be overlooked for that interview or promotion, fearing that they will be permanently distracted with what our children are up to. In fact, work is the distraction that we crave, giving us the ability to do something for us, to see something through to completion, to feel the endorphins of a job well done. The skills honed in the whirlwind of parenthood, only makes them a better prospect to propel your business forward.
A further read will give you an insight into the skills honed by all working parents, and why you should never ask a part time colleague how their “day off” was on a non-working day.
Why working parents are an ASSET to your business.
Incomparable patience – the 20 minute wrestle to get shoes and coats on is not only normal but expected. Requires Rocky-esque theme music to complete the scene. Think also - time management.
Impeccable organisation – having “the” bag on you at all times, with wipes, nappies, snacks, water, changes of clothes, calpol, toys, and anything else that your toddler could possibly desire, brought to swerve an impending meltdown (No points lost for those parents who pack said bag but leave it at the front door).
Untold resilience – “I don’t want you, where is Mummy/Daddy” (interchangeable), “I hate you” “I love you” “I don’t like the blue/green/orange plate anymore, so I won’t eat that” “I don’t want to get in the bath (tears)…. [20 mins later]…. I don’t want to get out of the bath (tears). Repeat daily.
Indescribable strength – dropping your child off screaming, apoplectically crying, willing you not to leave, arms outstretched, feeling like you are neglecting them in the face of torture. It takes a LOT to shake this off for the benefit of doing a good job, yet we do.
Skilled mediator – Parents of siblings, we see you.
Resourcefulness – Building a whole village with straws, blue tac and washi tape. Problem solving at its best.
Extraordinary influencer – to all the home schoolers who needed to navigate year 1 phonics with a reluctant writer, this took real work.
Supreme Stamina – Know that though someone may be leaving “early” to collect their child from nursery, they have countless battles ahead of them – getting their children fed, washed, teeth brushed, pyjamas on, stories read, settled down (see *skilled mediator), all within a window of an hour before bedtime. At which point they likely need to log on, feeling utterly shattered from battling with their other truly - full time job - of parenting.
Because they have changed in every way and in no ways at all. Yes, parenthood shakes you to the core, you reassess, your priorities shift, your time is no longer purely your own. You have commitments to others in your life. Don’t we all?
Becoming a parent does.not.mean. that your association with work, or doing a good job, or the desire to give it your all, has changed.
One third of our life is spent at work. We go through seasons in our lives as we grow and evolve and during that time, life happens. We flit from highs to rough spots and how we are treated at work matters. When we haven’t been supported, we feel let down and we don’t forget it. Working parents have so much to offer, and offering flexible working options is one way to support them.
What new skills have you honed as a working parent? We are sure we've missed many! Comment and share below.
If you're curious to learn more about new ways of working and how you could implement job sharing at your organisation, contact us to book a free 20-minute exploratory call.