It’s often been said that kids teach their parents more than the other way around. I’ve certainly found this to be true. In fact, I often rely on lessons learned while chasing my two preschoolers around the playground when navigating the professional world.
Here are four lessons being a mom has taught me about business:
It’s just a phase. When my son was driving me bonkers with his nighttime waking, I calmed my exhausted mind with the assurance that he would grow out of it. He did. Now, when sales are slow or interview sources are tough to find, I calm my frustrated mind with the assurance that this, too shall pass. And it does.
Say “I’m sorry,” when you need to. Kids need to know that parents are human, just as they must be taught to accept responsibility for their actions. So when I forget my promise to take my kids on a tram ride, I apologize. Similarly, when an editor calls me out on a factual error in my copy, I simply say, “I’m sorry” —instead of arguing or justifying the error. We all make mistakes. Owning up to them is important in any relationship.
Appreciate the great things while they last. When my daughter was two, she mimicked snapping her fingers by soundlessly opening and closing her hand while making clucking sounds with her tongue. I found this to be so clever and funny and cherished those moments, knowing she would quickly grow out of it (and she did). Mothers know how to appreciate what’s happening in the moment when it comes to our kids. But we sometimes forget to do the same when it comes to our work. Now, when business is roaring, I put extra money aside, and when my calendar is booked with delightful clients, I relish and nurture these relationships.
You’re on – even when you’re off. Kids, of course, hear everything you say and notice everything you do. They absorb your attitudes about annoying neighbors and mimic your bad table manners. Just as I now make a point of sitting up straight so I can then yell at my kids to do the same with a measure of self-respect, I make a point to carefully proofread even casual emails with clients with whom I have a friendly relationship. The way we act says as much about us as the words we speak, and if we want to be treated like a professional, we need to act like one. Little things make big impressions.
Emma Johnson is a freelance business writer in New York City. She blogs at WealthySingleMommy.com.