December 19, 2011 by Melissa
In my paid employment days, I was a manager, a good one I might add, and it really is surprising how well that position of managing people prepared me for being a mother, especially the mother of a toddler. Here are some of the crossover areas:
Breaking tasks down into doable pieces-I’ve learned that there are a lot more steps to making a bed than you’d think. You can’t just tell them to make the bed and expect results.
Communication-Lucy, like most of humanity, appreciates knowing what to expect and when. “First we’re going to get your baby sister down for a nap, then we’re going to change your wet shirt, then we’re putting your pile of crayons away, then we’ll read some books, OK?” Just like having a schedule for the day at a job-knowing when your breaks are, when you’ll be relieved at your station-makes you feel more in control of your day.
Positive reinforcement-letting her know when I appreciate something she’s done or said and how that contributes to our family. She loves being an integral part of things-owning a piece of the family’s well being. Just as employees like feeling a sense of ownership in the business they’re working for.
Crisis management-as a manager/mom, you can’t lose it. Everyone is looking to be calmed by you so find some core of peace deep within, smile, and figure it out. No one else will-do it well and with a smile, everyone rallies.
You don’t have to have the answers to every question. You are human, after all, but they do need to be able to trust you. Just be humble enough to say “I don’t know but I can find out for you,” and then do that and follow up with them.
Finally, be the example. I realize every day that I can’t expect Lucy to behave one way when I’m doing the opposite. We realized we were a very bad example when we wonder the house eating our toast or apple, etc., but we expect her to eat all her food at the kitchen table.
It’s nice to know I’m keeping my skill set up while being home with my kids. Now if only I could make money while doing it…