By Vidya Venkatesh
Motherhood has been such a powerful teacher on so many levels. I find myself taking the many lessons that being a mom of twin baby boys has taught me and incorporating them into my work life. Some of the lessons learned and how they have translated back to the corporate world:
1. Time management
Work expands to fill time, and as I attempted to handle the largest increase in work load (feed, burp, change, and entertain round the clock, times two!) I had ever experienced, I am much more protective of my time now. I find myself strictly prioritizing and asking the question “Is this going to take me closer to my goals – professional or personal?” before I allocate time for any new task.
2. Coping with change
Change is an integral part of any work environment these days, and the ability to cope with it successfully has become key. It is no secret that having a baby (or two as in my case!) completely changes your life, and I often wondered during the first few months if I would ever be able to have my cup of chai fresh without re-heating it multiple times. Once I learned to deal with the “new normal”, dealing with changes at work became a piece of cake!
3. Learning to delegate
As a typical Type-A person who believed that I could and I should do everything by myself, I learned soon enough that I needed to re-train my brain. I had to identify areas that I personally would like to be involved in such as play time with the kids, and learn to delegate items that were not so important to me such as grocery shopping to others. This became useful at work as well, as I learned to focus on the big picture and delegate other tasks, often all it took was asking!
4. Communicating with tact and diplomacy
Being of South Asian origin, I am blessed to have a large set of family members spanning multiple generations, and friends to rely on. With this came the challenge of forming my own parenting style, while still incorporating their advice and wisdom into it. I had to learn to stand my ground, while at the same time, not offend those that had experience on their side. I was able to transfer this critical skill to my work life as well, and have been able to communicate assertively and in a tactful manner, especially in situations where I have disagreed with others’ point of view.
5. Harnessing the power of the Network
The last time I had all the answers, was before I had kids! Since then, every day has been a new challenge, a new experience. I learned quickly that I did not need to have all the answers; I only needed to know whom to ask and where to look. I have been very efficiently harnessing the power of both my in-person networks such as family, friends, moms groups, etc and also virtual networks such as twitter. At work, I have learned to accept that I do not need to stress about not having all the answers all the time, and have learned to figure out who the right people are and where the right resources are.
More About Vidya
Vidya, the mother of twin 6-month-olds, is riding the roller-coaster of being a first time mom to twin boys, currently trying to balance life as a mom and a full-time job as a Global Product Support Specialist at a Silicon Valley Biotech company. You can follow Vidya on Twitter: @vidav
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