9 Ways Motherhood Actually Made Me A Better Coworker

By
Share
Ad failed to load

When my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family, my continued career was never up for debate. While I could have used a longer maternity leave (like what all the other developed countries offer new parents), I didn’t want to stop working altogether after becoming a mom. And since returning to the office, nine years ago after my first leave, I’ve realized that motherhood actually made me a better coworker. So it really boggles my mind that companies don’t work harder to retain female employees after they become moms.

I do feel overwhelmed by my life at times, but I don’t think that is totally attributed to working full-time and raising two children. My family and I live in New York City, and it's somewhat of an understatement to say the pace here is fast and the culture is competitive. I’m a third generation New Yorker, though, and with parents who worked two jobs so I think the hustle is embedded in my DNA. As a result, I expect to take on a lot. Luckily motherhood has helped me prioritize. My kids always come first because, while I love having my career producing branded content (with a side hustle as a freelance writer), I am not saving lives with my job. I work in entertainment, and there is value in that, sure, but I’m not kidding myself that late nights at the office will serve me better than immersing myself in a game of Clue with my kids before bed. My family nourishes me in ways my career never could, and my family can’t be my “everything.” I need to have a life outside my home, and to cultivate those parts of me that were in play long before I became a mother.

I will never have enough time, it feels, but I’ll take the occasional disarray of my life over giving up a career I have spent two decades growing. So, with that in mind, these are some of the ways motherhood has actually made me better at work:

Ad failed to load

I'm Extremely Efficient

Giphy

Having kids means I'm constantly racing the clock. If we have plans, it is always a race to leave on time. I am never not rushing. This means not only do I get things done quickly, but I have constructed systems to shave off valuable minutes, and even seconds, to get any task accomplished. I have learned to put things away exactly in the same place every time so I never waste a moment looking for anything.

I swear, I could get all my work done in five hours if it weren’t for the meetings and having to re-send documents to coworkers who don’t know how to use their email folders.

I’m Good At Reading The Room

I feel very in-tune with my children’s emotions. I have always been a sensitive person, but when I became a mother that emotional intelligence got a real bump.

As a result, I can look at my coworker's faces during a meeting and get a good read on the room’s vibe, which helps me calibrate my participation. Is everyone checked out? Then I will save my thoughtful remarks for a follow-up email when people would hopefully be more receptive. As I’ve navigated through my career, I have realized that work is not so much about the actual “work,” but more about the interpersonal relationships. I’ve learned it’s easier to get more done when people want to be in the same room with you. I pick my battles with my kids, and with my co-workers.

I'm Very Clear In My Communication

Giphy

Do I talk to all my coworkers like I did to my kids when they were toddlers? Yes. Why? Because simplifying my statements, making eye contact, and asking them if they totally understand what I’m saying are communication tactics that know no age limits.

Ad failed to load

I Always Have Tissues

And straws. And hand lotion. And an extra thumb drive I can afford to not get back. Walking into my office is basically like entering an adult diaper bag. I am prepared.

I Don’t Send After-Hours Emails

Giphy

I make it clear to people that I am not available between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on weeknights. That is when I put on my “mom hat,” and I won’t be able to get back to anyone until after my kids are in bed. Yes, emergencies crop up and I ask my husband to cover me while I take an urgent call, but for the most part I make it clear that my job does not get to hold me hostage at night and on the weekends.

I also respect others’ after-work time, too. I do not email or call after hours, unless it was an emergency (and I would hope to have given that person warning that I might be in touch). I do unto others as I would have them do unto me, which is to not email or text me between the end of one work day and the beginning of the next.

My Manners Are Impeccable

I’ve always been polite, but trying to set a good example for my children has upped my “please” and “thank you” output, even in the grown-up world. I would totally give myself the office “Miss Congeniality” award, if I thought it was acceptable to wear a glittery sash at work.

Ad failed to load

I Have A Significant Amount Of Patience

Giphy

As a working mom, I often look forward to Mondays. Weekends can be, well, difficult. On one hand, I savor the time I get to spend with my children, since I see so little of them during the week. On the other hand, weekends are also when my husband and I need to take care of the bulk of household chores, including but certainly not limited to grocery shopping, laundry, and getting the kids new shoes because they refuse to stop growing. It’s a marathon, fueled by coffee and wine and pretending not to notice how much screen time the kids have had since it allows us some peace and quiet in the morning.

When I come to work, I am more grounded than I am when I'm home. Kids throw wrenches in the works constantly. We have to leave for school, and they suddenly can only move in slow motion. Or they wake up with a fever. Or they get suddenly curious about bodily functions in the middle of the night and just have to ask you one, or two, or eight million more questions.

At the office, life is pretty predictable. Sure, we’re always putting out fires, but they don’t involve a lot of whining or spilled oatmeal. So I am able to keep my composure at the office, and, compared to the exasperation I feel when my kids try my patience, I know it won’t ever get that frustrating at work. Even when things go wrong at work, it will never feel as dire as it does when one of my children loses their sh*t finding out we’re having chicken again for dinner.

I’m A Fast Worker

I have too much going on to dawdle on projects. I don’t rush, but I do make every second count. I meet my deadlines and deliver on all my “I’ll get back to you by the end of the day on that” email reply. Being a mom has enabled me to home in quickly on whatever I need to take care of, and focus on it til complete. Getting as much done around the house as I could while my kids napped trained me.

I Won’t Waste Anyone’s Time With Small Talk

Giphy

Being an introvert is only part of the reason why I shy away from water cooler chat. I usually have a hard out at 6 p.m. so I can get home in time to relieve the family babysitter by 7 p.m., so I am not that social at work. I exchange pleasantries with my colleagues, but I don’t hang in the work kitchen longer than it takes to refill my water bottle or microwave some leftovers. I won’t ever get in the way of you getting your work done.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}