Being A Mom Is A Big Professional Win For Me Too And Not Only For Homemakers

Working from home made me realize that there are several skills we learn in the process of raising our child that we can apply to our professional lives. We don’t look for work-life balance, we end up looking at how we can bring home the best of both worlds.

I conservatively and perhaps wrongly viewed child-rearing as an activity for homemakers, and less for working mothers who hire help or get grandparents to spend time with the child in a bid to bring in the work-life balance.

Well, I won’t deny it’s a personal choice and mothers know best what works for them and what doesn’t. But for most working women, work takes a back seat post their delivery. 6-month maternity leave is often extended and turns into a year or longer. By the time you know it, you’re already out of the working groove or your organization doesn’t offer you the flexibility you’re looking for or the space to grow. But I wasn’t ready for a back seat, maybe just giving up my driver’s seat for a little while. Fortunately for me, work from home came as a boon, largely due to the pandemic. 

The past 2 years have been the work-from-home year for me. I’ve been working from home for two years now and my son, who is a little over two is learning new things every day. As he’s exploring his language skills, he has more questions for me, with his motor skills improving by the day, babyproofing the house doesn’t seem to be working and with the development of his cognitive skills, his imagination knows no bounds. I need to be two steps ahead of him to be able to understand, respond and guide him when he needs it. 

There are several skills we use to raise our children that we can apply to our professional life. Parenting doesn’t clash with our professional life, rather compliments it. Thanks to my little one, I spend a considerable amount of time learning and unlearning.

When I look back at the year, turns out, it has been a big professional win for me! Let me explain how.

The Learning Part!

When he’s asleep, I’m up reading new stories for children that I can relate to him the next day or the ones I wasn’t exposed to during my childhood. With so many interesting books and reading options, I need to bring my own perspective. I prefer not to make my son believe that he needs to rescue a damsel in distress or go searching for a girl with a lost shoe. Stories, indeed, are a great way for exploration and imagination.

But while I’m still finishing up a task, he has already moved on to the next one. Lately, he’s obsessed with puzzles. Although he’s gradually learning to identify the right piece, he gets excited to put the piece that fits. Many times, I need to go over the puzzle pieces beforehand, exercising my brain, to respond to his often-asked question, “Mamma, is this the right one?” Well, my response of either a yes or a no doesn’t matter. If it fits, he’s convinced it’s the right one. I do think that’s a great way for him to learn. I envy his confidence but then slowly and calmly, I do let him know that the picture he’s trying to make continues to be incomplete. 

While my learning curve continues, it’s not all play. Over the past year, I had to learn new recipes, experiment with millets, and cook up veggies that I wouldn’t otherwise buy. This 2-year-old finicky eater has pushed my boundaries to explore new ways of eating, tingling my taste buds and helping me move towards a healthier diet.

The Unlearning Part!

As 2-year-olds develop their cognitive, fine motor and communication skills, we, as parents, need to keep up with them. For instance, he is currently developing his pincer grasp, so he spends time scribbling in his colouring book. As much as I insist on colouring inside the picture borders, it falls on deaf ears. He has a mind of his own and I need to appreciate his effort, though his scribbling might not look like a flower at all! 

I need to keep my mind open to new ideas and begin to view a cloud not as a cloud but perhaps as flying ice cream or an elephant with wings. I have to let my imagination run wild which has been trained to fit in a box. I have to make peace with the fact that, maybe, he has better ideas than me. He’s learning to be an independent boy, while I’m unlearning to be a clingy mother.  

Though these things sound like something any mum would go through with her child, why do I think of child-rearing, while working from home, to be a big professional win for me? In 2021, I was able to apply many of my newly discovered skills or rather long forgotten competencies to my professional life. As someone who works in the area of sustainable development, I’m constantly looking for new ideas, keen on innovation, especially in the water sector (my area of interest) and looking to bring people together for collaboration. As a parent, my son pushes me to think out of the box. I reach out to other young parents to learn how they’re dealing with their kids and the tantrums. 

While I think about how I can be a better leader professionally; with my son, I’m thinking of how much leeway to give him to figure things out by himself. Am I being a good example at home? Does he see me read? Does he listen to my conversations? Does he check out the food I eat? It’s only natural for kids to emulate and if I must be good at my job at home, I know I must be ahead of the curve.

I invest a lot of time and effort in my work – with work-related calls, research, writing, brainstorming, teamwork, collaboration and communication. But I do 2 times the same so I can be a good mother, a teacher, and a better learner. Thanks to motherhood, professionally and personally, I have been able to manage my time better, my efficiency has increased by a fold and realized that only good things come with kindness, patience and warmth. I know I’m a better professional, simply by being a parent.

So, while many of you have taken the backseat, don’t be afraid to take the front one – because your child will push your boundaries as much as you push theirs.


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