Happy New Year!
My big resolution? Making sure parenthood and professional development aren’t mutually exclusive. 👶📈☕️
This post is being written after the bedtime routine and well after my bedtime (it’s past 8:30 p.m. aghhhh!!!) but despite the fact I haven’t slept through the night since my second son was born in June 2018, I need to get it out.
Because I am sharing the details of a program we’re going to run from March to May 2019 to help others who may also be feeling the same way and it didn’t seem to make sense to just launch straight into it. There are many reasons why I do what I do and am the way I am but the above statement is a really clear belief I have and am trying to actively live by alongside my family.
Some of the things I have realized about myself since discovering I would become a parent for the first time (2015), actually welcoming our first child in London, England in the summer of 2016, moving to another country when he was seven months old and then having our second son in Ottawa, Canada in 2018 include:
- Children inspire action and creativity in me like never before
- I have not slept well since October 2015 but I can still function
- My arms and legs are capable of carrying up to 60+ lbs of my offspring, plus snacks and supplies
- If you try to tell me you don’t think I can do something, I will find at least one way (ideally more) to prove you wrong (this is one I knew I had before children)
- I find it really hard to enjoy wearing maternity / nursing clothes that make me feel like myself
- My brain is still active, therefore I have ideas, can hold conversations, want to make things, solve problems and engage with other humans other than said offspring
- Everyone keeps telling me to enjoy it and the time is fleeting, however, I feel like I am enjoying it in my own way and just because it doesn’t look like someone else’s way to enjoy it, I don’t believe that is wrong
- Other people like me exist in Canada and abroad. I have met them, walked with them, workshopped with them, had coffee, exchanged feedback, held babies and even cut up each other’s food during nursing sessions, all so we could feel semi-normal and like ourselves again
There are many more things I could write but the clock is ticking and I am on a timeline here people! Kids also made me more productive, proactive, less of a precious perfectionist and sparked the urge in me to get it out now because you could die tomorrow, you know?
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again:
Parenthood and professional development don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
I’ve been speaking with a lot of parents over the past year and I know they do (or want to) believe it too.
But change takes time and we’re impatient by nature. ⏳🤷♀️
So instead of waiting for the professional development world to adapt, we (my kids are my co-pilots!) have been working on ways to create more of what you want to see.
You’re not the only one who wants to do what you do, alongside the ones you love.
We’ve been listening and WE KNOW you’re tired of:
- missing out on professional events held in the early morning hours or near the kids’ bedtime routine because you’re the primary caregiver;
- entering spaces where you have to change your child on a dirty floor, the seat of your car or their stroller because they lack a baby change facility;
- hiding in a washroom or the back row of a crowded room in case your child needs to feed or has a meltdown; and
- worrying about inconveniencing others in the room or simply feeling
like. you. just. don’t. belong.
But we’re also here to tell you: please, please, please don’t go it alone because you feel like every business space has been designed to be a kid-free oasis!
You may be thinking about a project / idea / new career direction you’ve been putting off for far too long.
You have the ideas and the burning desire but you haven’t found the time (or space) to move it forward as much as you’d like to.
Children are noisy, vibrant, curious, loving, challenging, adaptable, relentless, inspiring and while your days are filled with the ins and outs of your new and ever-changing routine, they’re a bit empty when it comes to filling your own cup.
You’re doing great at using your newfound parental powers to get through the physical, mental and emotional marathon of looking after little ones.
You’re loving life but at the end of the day, there isn’t much time leftover for you.
Parenting is non-stop 24/7 and while you knew it would be a demanding role, what you weren’t quite prepared for were the…feelings of isolation.
Nobody told you about…
• the sudden bursts of inspiration and creativity you’d experience while feeding your baby, only to lack a pen or paper (or free hands!) to write anything down;
• the challenges of setting (without forgetting) your goals and the feeling of sharing them with another open-minded adult;
• the difficulties finding events and opportunities which fit into your new schedule and are child-friendly (hello-crack-of-dawn-breakfasts and evening meet-ups, we’re looking at you);
• the feelings of loneliness, isolation and frankly, trying to get any sort of feedback on your ideas from someone other than your own family members – who prefer to play peekaboo, show you their sweet block towers or demand another snack!
It can be lonely out there.
Stimulating conversation. Remembering your pre-kid interests. Meeting people you have things in common with (other than your ability to procreate). 🤣
Drop-in play group, story time at the library and local parks are great…for the kids.
Coffee catch ups and physical activities can break up your solo time or help with the aches and pains of parenthood.
But what about intellectual self-care when it comes to your health and wellness?
You don’t need a ‘break’. You need a supportive environment to focus on improving yourself, without having to sacrifice time with your children or source flexible childcare.
Parenthood and professional development shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.
- Guest article about my experiences for Doing It For The Kids (UK) website: Baby In The Boardroom
- Instagram stories and posts of my experiences and advocacy for bringing children into business settings