After a busy day I walk into his office leave my shoes in the corridor and throw my coat over the first chair I come to and then wander over to his desk to sit in the comfy office chair and lean back, then I’m keen to find out what’s been happening today? As soon as he sees me he smiles its good to see each other after a long day at work. I notice lots of paperwork over his desk, you really should tidy these up I say, putting them alphabetically in a new in-tray perhaps? I don’t get any response which is strange I would expect this idea to be helpful? Realising it’s nearly 6pm I’m keen to eat something, I’m starving, I have no idea what we are doing for dinner? With any luck he has been to the new trendy bakery on the south bank in his break to get one of my favourite cupcakes.
I can see out of the corner of my eye the flat screen TV on the wall of the office which has the news on it. As I walk closer I can see on the way inside the small office kitchen, all the dirty washing up is all piled up on the side. What have they been doing all day? I proceed to the cupboard to find a wine glass and then pour from the cheeky bottle of pink bubbles in my bag… It’s been a long day.
I walk back across the office And I can see he has laid out some dinner on the meeting room table for us to enjoy, he is standing there with a grin of anticipation he knows he has done well. As I walk into the room he pulls out a chair for me to sit down. You look like you’ve had a busy day sit down and relax he says…
So how was your day he asks attentively? I mainly worked on the junior training programme and started implementing my new reward scheme with my boss, i need to raise key questions about the future communications within my team I tell him. We touched base with all the latest playground developments and the research trip to the science museum is now confirmed in the diary. I ask what have you been up to today?
Before I hear his reply there is a noise in the background? ‘Morning its 7.30 on Tuesday‘ the DJ cheerfully announces thanks to my bedroom radio. That heavy feeling on my chest is not work related stress, in fact it’s my cat sitting on my duvet purring away flicking her tail across my face whilst I sleep in a not subtle effort to wake me up and get fed.
Nearly 10 years ago now the relationship with my career in design was overtaken by a new relationship: motherhood. No longer am I that girl running to catch the 8.32 to Fenchurch street that gave me an extra ten minutes in bed and got me to work with minutes to spare. Now we are shortly going to be running with school bags and a scooter to the school gates before the door shuts at 8.55am, somethings don’t change, mornings have never really been my strong point. So every weekday morning the chaos begins, remember the homework, the swimming bag, where are my school shoes? Where’s the form for parent’s evening? I have to bring in a microphone and rap outfit for today mummy? I just need to check is my snow still in the freezer??
“If being a mother were a job there’d be a selection process, pay, holidays, a superior to report to, performance assessments, Friday drinks, and you could resign from your job and get another one because you didn’t like the people you were working with. It’s not a vocation either – being a mother is a relationship” Catherine Deveny, The Guardian
Those skills from work are not just needed for business but for life. Particularly parenthood, with new targets, moving boundaries, increasing challenges and short deadlines. Multi-task, listen, negotiate, compromise, patience, leadership and management are just to name a few. I need to think outside the box, play in the box, cut up the box and jump over the box.
“In parenting roles you get a chance to do a lot of the same things you do as a manager,” Ruderman says. “You get to hone your interpersonal skills. You learn how to develop other people. It’s another opportunity to learn from experience.” Marian N. Ruderman, research director at the Center for Creative Leadership www.forbes.com
Its ironic that now I am not working in London anymore and looking after my daughter that I now have the patience of a saint and fantastic negotiation skills, I have to listen daily to the requests for a mobile phone! now it is time to pass on those patience and compromise skills to my daughter because she isn’t getting one yet…