Becoming a Mother Made Me Better at My Job

Some new parents worry that becoming a parent may mean they lose their cutting-edge in the workplace. No such issues for Elizabeth who feels there is no end to the transferable skills she's gained.

I do all sorts of things better since becoming a parent.

I do all sorts of things better since becoming a parent. There are practical things like changing nappies and getting ready in under five minutes - but also personal things thanks to improved resilience, greater patience, and remembering to take deep breaths every now and then.

Hands, feet, fingers, toes

Everyone knows women can multitask, we're famous for it, but until I became a mum I didn't realise quite how good I was at it.

Ever since my first daughter was born, I don't think I've completed a single task in isolation. Everything is done alongside at least four other tasks. Pretty soon, I learned to breastfeed with one arm, do the online shopping with the other, pick up toys with my toes and use my mouth to bark orders at my husband.

I'm not unsympathetic, but whenever I'd hear someone complain they had too much to do I'd think 'but you're only using two hands! What do you think your toes are for!' If my eyelashes were stronger I would have had them working for me too. In theory, this should mean I get everything done that I need to, but since parenthood brings an infinite list of jobs with it, the to-do list is always out of control. My point is that if I only ever did one task at a time I would probably only have got around to weaning my daughter by the time she went to university, although even then I wouldn't guarantee it.

Negotiation techniques

My negotiation skills have also improved since becoming a mother. When the Government is looking for hostage negotiators they should forget MI5 and the Ministry of Defence and just head down to the nursery gates and recruit the mother of a toddler.

The skills required to convince a two-year-old that ice cream has to wait until after dinner easily trumps those needed to secure a multimillion-pound deal in a board meeting. I've developed the art of compressing my argument into one succinct statement so it can be heard between screams. It's a skill that transfers to all forms of negotiations.

Bite your tongue

I also now know when to keep quiet. Raising a toddler and knowing that sometimes a tantrum just needs to run its course has changed the way I look at confrontational situations. These days, I find I'm likely to sit quietly and let someone else argue themselves out, then strategically put forward my opinion when a decision will be made. Great at home and at work!

Creative genius

I think the greatest skill I've developed is my ability to make something out of nothing. Now some people may say I have always been able to do that, but I know its something that I do better now.

I no longer go shopping just for some yoghurt; instead, I am looking out for the ones that have pots we can use for turning into model rockets. If I find out I have no plasters? No problem, a bit of cotton wool over the problem area and an address label are more than adequate.

I was once stuck on the M25 for five hours with two children in the back seat. Now if this had happened five years ago, and I was on my own, I would've been frustrated and bored to tears. Yet using what I had within reach and eyesight, we found endless games to play, things to read, and things to distract us. It was almost disappointing when the road reopened.

In a way I feel like a suburban Bear Grylls, I can use whatever resources I have to hand and make everything I need!

Nothing gets in the way

I also don't think there's an obstacle course I couldn't complete now that I'm a parent. Just a walk through my lounge involves having to jump over Thomas the Tank Engine, scurry around Angelina Ballerina, kick three footballs into a bucket, dive to save the toppling vase, duck under a flying Nemo while not standing on Hello Kitty's tiny family who are having a picnic on the doormat.

And people think The Krypton Factor was difficult? Please!

My feet have been so toughened by the number of upturned cars and princess castles I've stood on, walking over hot coals would be a walk in the park. Life seems easier to negotiate now as I can always take the quickest route; it doesn't matter what is in the way - I will be able to get through it, round it, over it or under it!

All things considered being a parent has definitely made me more well rounded, more patient, more tolerant and more considerate... but also a force to be reckoned with in the boardroom!


Elizabeth H, working mother