Here are five skills that I’ve stolen from my career to help make myself a better parent:
For many households, gone are the days of the stay at home mom. I love my family AND I love my job, but it’s a rigorous task to successfully keep up with both. So what’s my secret to managing Pearl’s operations while raising my son and twin girls? Believe it or not, it’s all of the experience I’ve acquired throughout my operations career. Strangely enough that particular skill set translates surprisingly well into motherhood!
1. Organize, organize, organize!
Juggling the scheduling of play dates with conference calls can be quite a challenge. For me, if it doesn’t go in the Outlook calendar – it basically doesn’t get done. Whether its karate lessons or wallscape installations, I’ve just got to write it down. Find the organizational system that works for you and stick with it. Climbing out of a pile of disorder is soooo much more difficult than living with organized-chaos – regardless of if it’s in your home or on your desk!
2. “It takes a village to raise a child”.
The lesser known but utterly poignant subtext of that famous phrase is, “and it takes a small army to raise 3!” The same holds true at work when putting a large program together….you just can’t handle all facets by yourself. It’s ok to ask for help. Sometimes that means getting a co-worker to check up on an installation in your stead. Sometimes it means begging your Mom to bake cookies for your daughter’s pre-school party. Don’t be afraid to use your support system!
3. Work Smarter, Not Harder!!
This one I stole from a former boss of mine who said it ad nauseam, but he was so right. It can be easy to make things harder on ourselves by procrastinating, not doing our research, not involving the right people. At home you can cause yourself the same headaches much the same way! Stop to read up on that new equipment before you commit to using it in your new interactive program. Double check the school’s policies on bringing sweets in for the birthday celebration before you get stuck with two dozen custom number 6 donuts. Take a minute to plan your course before plowing ahead down the wrong path.
4. Sometimes you need to take a break.
When your job is anything but 9-to-5 this could be a real challenge, but try to set some boundaries. Perhaps it’s not accepting any new vendor meetings when I’m weeks behind on internal documentation, or making sure I delegate tasks I can take off my plate. Home life is no exception! That means no checking emails when reading a bed time story to the twins or helping my son with his 1st grade homework. Most importantly, it also means no conference calls about digital networks during the foot massage portion of that long overdue pedicure! Save your sanity and make sure everything receives the time it deserves, including yourself.
5. Stay Positive!
Yes it’s chaos, yes the laundry is piling up, yes your husband is tackling the parent-teacher conference without you because you’re across the country executing a projection mapping program – but it’s ok! You can’t be everywhere at once and you can’t please everyone all the time but you’re doing your best and it’s pretty kick ass. You have an awesome job to go to each day (hopefully one you love, like I do!) and a loving family to come home to each night. Really, what could be greater?