Baby and I were snapped at last week’s ‘Restart’ Creative Mornings Ottawa talk!
We’re even hanging out in the background behind the uber-inspiring artist-turned accountant-turned artist Ian A. Matthews and his pop-art winter parka.
It’s not all about #BYOBaby, packing up the nappy/diaper bag and leaving the house to attend events in real life (IRL) over here.
Parenting and professional development can also look like this.
Logging on from my kitchen counter while feeding the baby breakfast, ducking upstairs for naptime and then listening to the sessions and baby monitor in tandem, before getting ready to do lunchtime pick up at daycare for my other son.
This was the final workshop in the Impact Academy #CityMaker Edition series this morning, where we heard from Mohammed Shaheen, Founder of Silk Road Institute and Adrian Harewood, Co-Host of CBC News Ottawa, about ‘Raising Awareness and Gaining Community Support’, with exercises to determine stakeholders and storytelling elements.
BUT I was up all night feeding a hungry/teething/sniffling baby, with the husband and I both up since 3 a.m. trying to settle him without waking our toddler. Before you feel sorry for me, my husband still had to do daycare drop off, commute to work and attend meetings in real life.
I napped with the baby until the session started, requested a webinar link or teleconference number and jumped online between boiling the kettle and making our breakfast. I even managed to get dressed in something other than PJs, fix myself a cup of coffee and participate in some group breakout sessions during the two hour session.
Despite a bit of audio mix up, wavering WiFi strength and being 15 kms down the road, it *almost* was as if I was there.
Parenting while investing in yourself (learning something new, networking, working on or in your business) can also look like:
- listening to a podcast while pushing the pram/stroller
- writing your own copy or reading a book or news article from the car park after the kids fell asleep during a drive and you don’t want to risk the car transfer wake up
- making or taking calls before, after or during errands – logging on during naptime
- responding to client queries while kids are playing at the park
- or if you want to go old school, reading the newspaper or listening to talk radio while the kids play at home
People may have divided or differing opinions about all of the above.
Are you really being attentive to your children’s needs?
Do you or they have a short attention span?
Are you taking on too much?
Is now really the right time to do (X,Y,Z)?
To which I would answer:
Is everyone always 100 per cent present with their children?
Minds wander, adults converse, things catch our eye, before mobile technology entered the mix, there were print media, radio, TV, posters, billboards, street vendors. Yes, technology can distract but it can also break isolation.
My children are under age five…
Their attention span is a few minutes max. I am adapting to follow their lead and interests. Meaning anything I want to accomplish usually needs to get done in less than 10 minute increments, unless they both nap at the same time!
Being a parent to two kids under three is full on, so the time I spend learning, creating or doing things outside of my primary caregiver duties is for me.
I believe if it makes me feel good, refreshed, curious, creative, joyful, then it is making me a better person and mother.
And the “is now really the right time question?”
That one has stopped me in my tracks before, a big verbal smack to the face and my ego. Maybe it’s not, maybe it’s never been better but only you as an individual can decide. Is there ever a ‘right time’ to do anything? There are things you do and things you don’t. But you decide what and when.
On days when I’m tired and hangry, I scale back. But most days, getting out for a walk, meeting people face-to-face and doing something that results in self care or personal growth is always a positive experience. I want my children to see me doing what I love. And I also want them to see me interacting with real people, in real life offline and participating in things regardless of my location or timezone.
The world is an exciting place and I hope they never lose their sense of wonderment, always keep learning and exploring.
It’s easier for me to do the things and involve them in the experience instead of trying to explain the concept behind things and why I think they’re important.
It’s an interesting time we live in – people are running full empires from their phone, location independent and with limited startup funding, while in some places a restriction on technology and access to information limits what you can consume or when you can be reached.
What are your views on the current state of mixing personal and professional life and the future of work?
I’m seeking your feedback as I plan 2019 parent-friendly professional development events!
If you have pre-school age children and are interested in participating in an initiative to invest in yourself (starting a business, upskilling, changing careers, return to work prep) – without having to find flexible childcare – this is for you.
If you’re not based in Ottawa, I’m also exploring online options for those who would like to attend remotely and your feedback is still welcome!
AND if you’re curious about what I’m up to (besides planning child-friendly events) and want to hear from me every now and then, please sign up to my other newsletter here or by clicking the image below!