How Professional Skills Can Help Parents
Today, let’s discuss parenting in the workplace. Don’t worry, this is not about taking your kids to work. Recently, I got to thinking — are there any jobs similar to parenting? As in, is there any job that prepares you for having kids before you have them?
I think we’ve all heard the saying that, “parenting doesn’t come with a manual,” or something to that effect. You can buy a book on just about anything today, but it really won’t prepare you for what’s in store for you as a parent.
After you’ve been a parent for a while, it’s easy to understand how the skills you learn parenting can be transferred into the workplace. Skills like organization, time management, mediation, team work, among others. But what about the other way around?
Maybe, just maybe, we can draw from some of our professional experience to help us with parenting. That’s what led me down this train of thought.
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How Do You Prepare for Motherhood?
I’m not sure there’s really a great way to prepare to be a parent. Even when you know it’s coming, somehow, it still ends up being a surprise.
It’s like studying for a test and feeling fully prepared then discovering that the test questions are different than the ones you studied.
But, practically speaking, here is a list of 11 things you can do to prepare for motherhood:
- Organize Your Finances
- Get Prenatal Care
- Eat Healthy
- Make Room for Baby at Home
- Determine Your Parenting Plan with your Partner/ Other Parent
- Get Your Support System in Place
- Make Plans for Work (Staying? Leaving?)
- Set Aside Your Expectations
- Expect the Unexpected
The greatest adjustment for me was emotional. Whether brought on by hormones, joy or the weight of responsibility, it hit me hard. Looking back now, I’m certain there was no way to prepare for that.
Understand that there are definitely things that can be done in advance. You can buy all the things, share the joy and make the plans. But, the number one thing to recognize is that kids are resilient and perfection doesn’t exist. In short, you will be just fine.
Related Article: How to Transition to Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
Is Being a Parent a Considered a Job?
Depending on who you ask, the answer to this question can be a controversial one for some parents. There are some that will say that it absolutely is one. Yet, there are others that consider it more of a calling.
To answer the question, Is parenthood a job? To me, it isn’t a job per se, but it is hard work.
Does that count? I’m not sure if that fully answers the question but it’s true. It’s the hardest, most rewarding thing you will do in your life and you do have to work at it every single day.
But, it’s not a job in the traditional sense of the meaning. It’s far more than that. And it should be.
What Can Your Job Teach You About Parenting?
First of all, the lessons you learn from your job that you can use at home are general life lessons. Your job isn’t going to actually teach you to be a parent.
An important thing to remember in parenting, and in the workplace, is that skills are transferable. Surely, there must be some things designed for a single purpose. But otherwise, the things we learn are intended to be useful in many aspects of our lives.
We don’t live in a bubble and neither do our skills and experiences.
I discovered that I wasn’t the only one to think about this. Mummyfever.co.uk, identified Business Manager, Nurse and Teacher as 3 jobs that are similar to parenting. For example, in management, you delegate and have a big picture understanding of the business. There’s also the financial side of management that translates well into the home.
Think about what kinds of things you do at work. All jobs require patience, order, adherence to rules and regulations. You may also have to encourage and uplift or train someone.
There are even some jobs where you need to manage your energy and mental acuity in challenging situations. That kind of thing lends itself to colicky all-nighters, where you have to be a functioning human being the next day.
But, truth be told, even shift-work can’t really prepare you for the overwhelming exhaustion. It’s just one of those things that you learn to manage “on the job.”
Fun Facts About Parenting
Here’s one notable way that parenting greatly differs from a regular job. Wondering where parenting falls on the employment equivalency spectrum? It’s not even a contest.
- “Moms work the equivalent of 2.5 full time jobs, which is about 98 hours each week,” as noted in a 2018 Welch’s study.
- On Yahoo Finance, economists value the time a stay-at-home mom makes as $17,472.55 per year. Adding up each job/ task a mom carries out is valued at $36.189.75 by accountants.
These figures are wild to me! If anyone needs a union, it’s parents.
Parent Twitter Roundup
Looking for more input, I took to the parents of Twitter to see what they thought. Here’s the consensus:
Teacher/ Nanny/ Camp Counselor
A kid-facing job is the obvious choice when it comes to jobs that are similar to parenting. As expressed by these parents, you get to work on communication as shown in Effective Communication with Your Child.
Guilia- @tidbitsofcare – Tidbits of Care
Teaching, because you learn patience and how to communicate with kids and learn that it’s our job as adults to help kids grow, a job that is huge and the most important job any adult can have.
Kind Minds Smart Hearts – @kindminds_
Teaching because you literally work with kids everyday and usually receive training to help you communicate with them effectively.
Tired Mom – @TiredMomma7
Being a nanny. Prepared me for the diapers, feeding styles, safe sleep practice, helped me with researching tons of baby products to suggest to parents before becoming one myself. Also helped me really see what it’s like loving someone so much and watching them grow.
Mama Kat – @allykhaet
Summer camp counsellor. You get such a variety of kids and they all test your patience in different ways. You learn some neat tricks too!
Natasha – @iamnatashac
Mentoring/ Youth Service! It teaches you patience, communication, relating to youth from all walks of life, and creating strong bonds and relationships built on trust and authenticity. In this career, you wear many caps: mentor, friend, advocate, teacher, in a way social work.
Human Resources/ Project Manager/ Therapist
Oh, that’s easy- Human Resources. You have to channel your inner calm whenever people come to you with crazy situations they created and DEMAND that you ‘fix it’ RIGHT NOW. So basically, if you’re a parent to a toddler, you would make a rockstar HR Partner.
Emma T – @ETusty – Bubbablue and Me
I’m not sure that any job quite sets you up for it. But I’m a project manager and that helps once you’re back working & children start school or nursery. You need to be able to multi-task & stay organised…
Counsellor/ Therapist- because no matter the questions you are required to have an answer. When they want advice or just a chat (especially when getting older) you’re there fore them, listening.
Retail/ Customer Service/ Hospitality
This one gets my vote. This might sound odd, but I don’t think you actually have to work with or around kids to learn beneficial parenting skills. Here’s why.
I argue that a people facing job in the service industry would be ideal. Like kids, people can be awful… and wonderful. You get to experience both sides of this.
You see them on their best days, which are great! Full of light-hearted banter and celebration. But, you also see them on their worst days.
In my experience, this is also a place where adults act like children. Tantrums are not uncommon. Like tired toddlers, they can be grumpy, demanding and unreasonable.
And, like in parenting, it can be thankless. Professional advancement is just more of the same, except you get to carry more keys.
LaughCryCoffee – @laughcrycoffee
Retail/customer service. Always on your feet and staying busy, long hours, keeping calm, constantly explaining things, and not being appreciated.
My Life Is The Pitts Family – @LifePitts
Rabid alligator wrestler.
Definitely the most colorful and oddly descriptive response. And also not wrong.
Rose* – @Rose_Mariie_Holt
Nothing. There’s nothing like it.
Mom of The Forbes Fam – @TheForbesFam
Parenting. Nothing will prepare you physically or mentally for the task but actually doing it. From sleep deprivation due to caring for someone else to the way a child has a lisp after their first tooth falls out it all hits different when it’s your own kid.
Macfarlanatic women lives matter – @GaianWatcher
Hate to break it to you, but there is none. Parenting is the hardest work of all, and no pay. Some jobs, like teaching might help some.
Follow these parents on Twitter if you’re looking for a little break from the wonderful world of parenting or just want to engage with like-minded people. You will be amused, entertained and understood.
So, are there jobs similar to parenting?
In part, perhaps. But the time spent in our 8-hour jobs is nothing, nothing like the 24×7, 365 day business of parenting. That’s in a whole other league.
Like with any job you’ve been doing for a while, things get easier with time. You learn how to adapt your skills and find efficiencies. You learn what kinds of things don’t really require your time and attention. But, there’s always the unexpected.
No two kids are alike. You may get lucky with a sweet, calm first child and a wild, untamed one the next. Family circumstances and dynamics also change, affecting how the family functions.
Parents around the world can tell you that there’s nothing like being a parent. It’s an experience like no other. But, once you get past the shock of of it all, remember that you are not without some skills to help you out.
What has your job taught you that you now use in parenting? Let me know in the comments.