When you work at home, the occasional face-to-face meeting with the people you usually email all day long is refreshing. I’ve had the pleasure of two work trips for my role with National School Choice Week and one all-day chasing-down-the-story journey with my editor from Florida Today in the past few months. Seeing “coworkers” is always a pleasure.
In all three cases, I freaked out about what to wear (have I really not purchased any new work clothes in nearly THREE years??) and also wondered if I would be “that” mom who has nothing interesting to contribute to conversation than stories about potty training. My role as a mom made me self-conscious, at least at the outset.
Why You Want Mom Coworkers
What I quickly learned is that being a mom is a very self-empowering thing when it comes to a career and that it brings with it some pretty legit workplace perks for the mom and her coworkers, like the fact that…
- Moms plan ahead. I don’t know about you, but I like to be prepared when I head out in public with my kids. I pack baby gear and kids’ items in typical fashion for a trip to the grocery store or even across the country. I also try to assess the situation and prepare myself for the possible challenges that lie ahead. Who of the group is cranky? Who is tired? Who is bored and feeling antagonistic? Most importantly — what can I do to navigate my way around any pitfalls? Though subconsciously, I think this way of thinking translates to the work place for many moms. For some this means to-do lists and for others it means confronting problems before they snowball. We are problem solvers through necessity — and not just for issues that arise, but in advance of them.
- Inconvenience is not in a mom’s vocabulary. Being asked to do mundane things, change course in the middle of a project, or drop what you are doing to attend to a real or perceived emergency is all in day’s work for moms. A very sick colleague needed to visit Urgent Care on my last business trip and I volunteered to drive him without hesitation. He apologized incessantly on the drive until I finally reminded him that I was an Urgent Care expert and it was no big deal to me. Also, I planned to enjoy a few minutes of quiet in the waiting room numbing my mind with Candy Crush Saga on my phone — so it was all good. Mom bonus: when he was filling his prescription for Tamiflu at CVS, I threw a bottle of Airborne in the basket to share with my non-sick colleagues.
- Moms know that personal/work lives DO overlap sometimes. There seems to be this cultural perception that workers should check their personal baggage at the office door and be in the zone while they are on the clock. But why, really? Some would say that children, and spouses, and domestic duties are a distraction to the work at hand — but guess what? Humans aren’t robots/machines and happy humans are ones that know they can be themselves around their colleagues. Working moms have just as much to do as the next employee, but they inherently understand that a sick child or one that is home because of a snow day takes precedence over anything going on in the office. That empathy extends beyond colleagues with offspring, too. Moms like to know what is happening in the lives of the people around them and understand when personal issues slip into the work day.
- Moms work hard. This is not to say that non-parents are lazy but moms have that extra bit of motivation propelling them forward in all aspects of life, including work and career. Of course the whole putting food on the table and providing a roof over heads is a motivating factor but there is more to it than that. It’s almost like all of those internet memes that remind us “they are watching your every move, so be a good example” are ingrained in a mom’s mind as she maneuvers through her work day. We think about what we would want our kids to do in a particular situation and the pressure to work hard, do something right, or reach a certain goal becomes that much more important to us.
How has your work ethic or view on your career and coworkers changed since becoming a mom?
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Tags: freelance writing