At the beginning of 2017, I became a mom and my whole world changed for the better. Since then, my new role as a parent has impacted my professional life in many ways that I never anticipated. Like so many other new moms out there, I worry about the negative effect my rearranged priorities may have on my career prospects. It seems like the constant feeling that you’re dropping the ball at work or at home is an inevitable part of motherhood.
Believe me, I get it. It’s easy to get discouraged when I look back at my pre-baby self. How can I possibly compete with that poised workaholic? She was willing to travel anywhere at the drop of a hat, she never missed a happy hour networking opportunity and she didn’t mind working through the occasional night, weekend or holiday. There were no doctor appointments, family fun days or “emergency” calls from daycare. Her well-rested brain wasn’t cluttered with a running inventory of baby supplies and a detailed schedule of naptimes and family activities.
Now that I’ve been back at work for the better part of a year I am pushing back against that can’t-keep-up mentality. Instead, I want to highlight some of the ways becoming a parent has made me better at my job.
I’m more empathetic
Motherhood has shattered and reconstructed my perspective on what really matters. It has taught me to consider what others may be experiencing and feeling and how it might impact their behavior at work.
I am more efficient
I have developed that multitasking superpower that seems to come naturally with motherhood. Simply put, I don’t have the same number of hours to devote to my job that I used to. I am adapting to my new work schedule by learning to do more with less.
I value everyone’s time more
Lately, I’ve come to disagree with the phrase “time is money”. Time is more important things – like sleepy snuggles, spontaneous giggles, and everyday adventures. The time I get with my son when he’s this little is so fleeting and precious. Consequently, I am more careful than ever not to waste my own time or the time of those around me.
Maternity leave helped me to reset and refocus
It was reinvigorating to focus on my growing family and put my career on a temporary back-burner. It was also humbling to realize that the ceiling didn’t collapse without me there to hold it up.
I trust my team more
There are not enough hours in the day for micromanagement. These days, I am more dedicated to supporting my team and helping others to grow in their roles.
My clients relate to me on a more personal level
It is so much fun to share baby photos and anecdotes with my colleagues. Professional acquaintances, I’ve known for years are suddenly taking a polite interest in my personal life. Opening up about my experiences as a mom has helped me to build better working relationships.
I am more grateful for my job
My job has granted me the flexibility to be the kind of parent I insist on being. I am surrounded by coworkers who “get it” and support me in trying to find a balance that’s right for my family. In return, I have become a more appreciative and loyal employee.
We’re All in This Together
As my son’s first birthday approaches, I’m slowly starting to feel like we have found a sustainable groove.
Don’t get me wrong – I still have days where I forget one of the 10,000 accessories my little guy needs for daycare and I have to turn around. It can take me hours to realize that my wrinkled dress is coated in more-than-the-usual-amount of spit-up and dog fur. Worst of all is the guilt I carry with me on days when my son starts to cry as I walk out the door.
In spite of all that, it is comforting to know that there are millions of other moms out there who share my feelings of love, fulfillment, guilt, and anxiety. Being a parent is tough and it will always be priority number one.
Of course, there are times when putting my son’s needs first doesn’t bode well for me at work. It’s easy to harp on the negative and feel like I’m falling short at work and at home. But I’d rather focus on the benefits of my shifting professional demeanor.
Whether you’re working, staying at home or still trying to find the right equilibrium for your family, I would love to hear from some of my fellow moms and dads. How has parenting changed you (for better or for worse)?
Megan is a new blogger at Mom’s Got it Made where she shares her learn-on-the-fly approach to parenting, crafting and blogging. 90% of the time she’s “got it made”, successfully balancing life as a new mom along with her creative undertakings and professional responsibilities. The other 10% of the time you can find her pouring iced-coffee into a baby bottle or locking herself out of the house with no shoes, a baby and a leashless dog. Follow along at MomsGotItMade.com or follow her on Pinterest.