I’ve struggled with being a working mom for years. That ongoing debate of staying home or working, and which was better for my kids. Then one day it hit me: What I am learning through my career in management is actually making me a better mother for my kids! How, you may ask? Well, let me tell you. Here are the top five things I learned while being a manager that have made me a better mother.
When managing a team, it is crucial that they know what you are passionate about. I like to show my passion in the form of a “Woo hoo!” At work, it is used to cheer on a step taken in the right direction or a sales goal met.
Now, translate that into being a mom.
My kids know I get excited about small things: That’s what brings joy into our life. They will hear a “Woo hoo!” from me when they go pee in the potty, or do a summersault, or count to ten for the first time. It gets them excited about what they are accomplishing and keeps them motivated to keep learning new things.
A Little Recognition Goes a Long Way
Anyone and everyone needs to feel valued for what they do. As a manager, I am the key deliverer of that meaningful recognition. It is my job to keep my team engaged and coming to work ready to give 100%. I’ve asked hundreds of people that I work with for their opinions, and the most meaningful recognition to them is personal, one on one, and specific.
What does that mean as a mom?
Well, that to keep my kids doing the actions that I want them to, I be sure to take the time to overly recognize them for it. For example, manners are super important to me. So, when one of my boys says please or thank you, or chews with his mouth closed, I ensure that I am giving a lot of praise for this behavior. Recognition enforces behaviors, so that is how I get my kids to continue to do more of the behaviors that I want them to do. Another great behavior to reinforce with some recognition is sharing.
Work on Your Own Personal Growth and You Will Be Better for Your “Team”
I’m fortunate enough to work in a place that spends a lot of time and energy on my own growth and development as a leader. I’ve discussed in detail what I’m great at and what I need to work on to be even better. They have invested the time in me, which is making me a better manager and, in turn, makes their business run more smoothly.
Well, as a mother, this principle is just as important.
It is important that you invest in yourself as a mom! Take the time to explore a hobby, or take a class, or exercise, or even take a spa day. This investment in yourself, while initially make seem selfish or impossible due to time restraints, is worth the sacrifice. Do you think there weren’t a million other things I could have been doing at work to run the business when I was taking the time out to work on my own development? Of course there were, but I had to prioritize it because I knew in the long run it would pay off. And as a mother, it’s the same principle. Taking the time out to expand your brain and give yourself more self-confidence will payoff ten fold for your family. Plus, you might even make your kids proud.
Keep Your Stress to Yourself
Everyone has stress in his or her life, and most people have stress in their jobs. But, as a manager, if I show my stress to my team, then not only does it increase their level of stress, but they also begin to lose the faith in me to lead them through the challenging time. I should point out that I’m by no means perfect and I had to learn this though a lot of trial and error: It is crucial to keep your stress away from your team. Now, I have a venting partner at work that I tell my frustrations to, which releases my stress before I go in front of my team. That way, to them I remain positive, and they remain eager and willing to follow my lead.
The same principle applies at home.
Your children don’t need to know about or feel every stress that you go through as an adult in this world. You don’t need to burden them with those worries. When I pick my kids up from daycare, they want a happy mom to play with. I can give them that! It will keep them happy too. We all know kids feel your stress when you allow yourself to show it, so do everything you can to not show it.
While It’s Easier to Do It Yourself, It’s Much More Worthwhile to Teach Them to Do It for Themselves
It’s crunch time at work, and deadlines are approaching. You have a team around you, but you have to make sure it’s done on time and it’s done right, so you just do it yourself. In the short term, this feels like the better option. But then the next week, a similar project is due, and you have nobody on your team to help you, yet again. If you would have taken the time to teach your team how to accomplish the project the previous week, rather than do it yourself, this week you would have been able to delegate it out and free up your time to do something else.
We’ve all heard the quote, ” Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I live by this quote as a manager. Not a day goes by that I don’t teach someone on my team a new piece of information or a new, more efficient way of doing things.
The same thing applies as a mom.
While it’s much easier to just do the dishes by yourself instead of dealing with two kids around you, spilling water and making messes everywhere, in the long term, it will free up your time and teach them a valuable life skill. How nice will it be when you can say, “Hey, can you please do the dishes?” to your child and they can go and do it all on their own. It is awesome! My four year old does all the laundry in the house (he asks to do it!). It is so nice to be able to take that off my list of chores! Not to mention, you are making them a much more independent child. I call that a win-win.
Being a mother is the most rewarding job out there, but I’m so thankful for my secondary job for showing me several ways to be an even better mom. At the end of the day, whether you are managing a team of one hundred or a family of four, the same basic principles apply.