As a kid, I knew I wanted to be a writer. And I knew I wanted to be a mom. But I never exactly put two and two together and imagined being a writer with spit up on her clothes using the office chair to swivel the baby to sleep.
I've been a writer longer than I have been a mother. But there's just something about the title "mom" that has taken my career places I've never imagined. No, it's never going to be listed on my resume, but it has made me a better businesswoman.
1. I can do almost anything one-handed
My son has to be one of the wiggliest babies in the world, yet I can haul him, his diaper bag, my wallet, a bag of Chinese take-out and a drink to the car all in one trip. No problem.
2. I can deal with difficult people
The person that I have spent the most time with in the past year speaks about three words of English—to make up for all those missing words he screams or squeals. Difficult client? No problem.
3. I can accomplish more in five minutes than I ever could before
Life with a baby is unpredictable. Sometimes he naps for two hours, others twenty minutes. I've become an expert in working in short bursts.
4. I can function with little sleep (and a little caffeine)
I had rather unrealistic expectations of hitting that three-month mark and getting a full night's sleep. If I'm up late working on a project, I've learned ways to cope with little sleep.
5. I've become more adept at solving problems
I like puzzles, but the name-the-reason-the-baby-is-screaming-at-3-a.m. game isn't one of my favorites. Solving a problem that involves someone who can't talk on a few hours of frequently interrupted sleep is good practice for finding solutions to issues that come up during my work day.
6. I've learned to celebrate little victories
I never imagined a gummy grin and a giggle could make me insanely happy at 2 a.m. My son loves straws, cardboard boxes, spoons and my hairbrush. It's easy to get caught up in reaching the big goals and forgetting the little milestones, but my son reminds me of everything I've accomplished every day, even if sometimes the only thing I've managed to check off my list is the laundry.
7. I've discovered a new source of motivation
My days may be interspersed with dirty diapers, client calls, peek-a-boo and deadlines, but my boss is a cute, brown-eyed, wiggly baby. If I don't get out of my pajamas and start my work day, I'll have to head back to having a boss that's not nearly as fun to play peek-a-boo with (sorry, Bob).
I still have a lot to learn. I'm not so good at saying no, and I've yet to learn about giving out allowances. But there is definitely something about being a mom, even a new mom, that's given me a boost as a professional.