Today, I was looking at LinkedIn, when something caught my eye. A person had written a post on how they had hired a lady who had been out of the workforce for six years, due to her being a full time stay at home mum. The person writing the post, said it was an excellent decision to hire her, as she was an excellent fit for the company.
It got me thinking about the many ways I have actually improved as a worker since having my children and the skills I have developed along the way.
As a parent, you constantly have many things on the go at any time. It always pays to remember exactly where you got up to with any task.
In the workplace, anything can interrupt your train of thought, a phone call, an email, someone wanting help. Being able to switch between whatever you are working on and the task at hand, and then resume where you left off is an excellent skill to have.
Being able to focus on one thing at a time, for long periods of time is something that has definitely increased since having children.
Attention spans of children is generally rather small. The window of opportunity to be able to focus on something usually only happens in small amounts. In the workplace, being able to focus is actually a real joy to any parent, especially if they can get their work done without any distractions.
Playing outside all day as a child and coming home when it got dark seems to well and truly be a thing of the past. Now, more than ever, parents have to organize how a child’s day is spent. Play dates are no longer spontaneous, but are carefully planned ahead of time, as are daytime activities and any trips together as a family.
Being organized at work is key to being able to get the most amount of work done, in the best time possible. Knowing what needs to be done and when is crucial for any job.
Getting anywhere on time with children is a challenge in itself. It doesn’t matter how much time you have to get ready, there is always a crazy rush at the end. In fact, I have always found the more time I have to get ready, the longer everything takes.
Arriving on time, anywhere, always fills me with a sense of accomplishment. Prior to having children, I always aimed to be on time, but now, now it is even more important and even more of a goal. It’s like something I have to prove to myself. I can do this! I can get where I need to, when I am supposed to.
It doesn’t matter if you are working with difficult people, or separating children from fighting over a toy, knowing how to achieve peace and handle conflict resolution is key.
Prior to having children, conflict resolution wasn’t even something that bothered me, or I had to think about. Since having children, I realize the best way to handle conflict resolution is to think fast, quickly separate warring parties and find ways to keep everyone happy.
As soon as I became a parent, I felt like I had joined a sort of group. It didn’t matter if fellow parents had completely different backgrounds, age, how many children, career, stay at home, whatever, we all bonded over the fact that we had children the same age and were going through whatever challenge came from having children the same age, at the same time.
Through parenting, I have found that I can communicate with anyone and everyone. Mind you, after caring for children all day, communicating with adults comes very easily. Perhaps too easily.
Resilience is a skill that is really encouraged from kindergarten onward. A child breaks something, or plans change, and if they don’t have resilience, the child falls apart and the day is ruined.
Knowing that children model their behaviors on their parents, I have realized that I have had to become more resilient myself. In the past, if I had broken something that I really loved, I would be really upset. Now that I have a little audience, watching me, I have realized it’s probably best not to overreact and to deal with any losses calmly.
Resilience in the workplace is also important, as often things won’t go your way. Someone could get a promotion you had wanted, or your job could change that is not to your liking. Being resilient means that you are better able to bounce back and turn any negative situation into a positive one.
Learning to be resilient as a parent has meant that resilience in the workplace is a lot easier to achieve.
Parenting is constantly changing. Take having a newborn for example, as soon as you have found a way to shower in peace while your baby is happily sleeping, they learn to crawl and suddenly everything in your house is dangerous and showers are something that has to be carefully planned.
Children are constantly changing and the way you are required to parent them, constantly changes too.
Change management is the skill of being able to accept that change is inevitable and to embrace it, rather than fight it.
Working in the technology industry, the only thing you can count on, is that change is guaranteed.
So yes, in summary, I totally agree that parents should be hired. Parents that have stayed home looking after children, have gained a whole swag of skills. They might have been out of the workforce for a period of time, but in all honesty, I can’t imagine a tougher, more demanding boss than a hungry and tired toddler. At least the working hours are a lot less in the workplace.