I’m resharing a post from late 2018 I wrote about mixing parenthood and professional development.
It feels even more timely now because as I wrote about previously, it often looks like this for me:
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, while looking after my older son.
This image was of the final workshop in the Impact Academy CityMaker edition series in November 2018, 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.
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 parking lot 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/chores
- logging on during naptime
- responding to client queries while kids are playing outside
- 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 and some have actually said them to me.
- 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.
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 age four 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 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, speaking with adults 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 people (other than them) 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.
I understand many people have already made the short-term transition to remote work this month, the economy is in flux and job losses are increasing by the day, during this time of global change.
This week I rewrote a more current version of my online course because I want to be sensitive to the times we’re living through, while inspiring you to think of the potential for a longer term flexible work arrangement to be your new normal.
Remote work is not for everyone but for those who are interested, you can access my free five-day online course via this link: bit.ly/GoRemoteFreeCourse
I have also created a few additional digital resources to help you navigate the future of flexible work:
- FREE Work From Home (WFH) Time Blocking Made Easy Template to help you structure your days and avoid overwhelm, using a customizable Google Sheet;
- FREE Babies + Business Mini Guide To Navigating The Corporate Jungle (With Kids) written from the perspective of a parent (me) who has brought her young children into dozens of business settings from the age of four weeks old onward, in two different countries; and
- (in progress) Startup Blogging: Validate A Business Idea + Build Your Audience, an online course to help you get your ideas out of your head and into the world, based on an original three-hour workshop I delivered in 2019.
Thinking of you all, thanks for reading.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch via the comments below or email: contact[at]amymaureenlynch.com if you have feedback or questions.
Best wishes always,
– Amy (+ Family)