Friday, 23 November 2012

Becoming a parent is like starting a new job...

A few weeks ago, i had a revelation that has changed the way i approach parenting.

Becoming a parent is like starting a new job

When you start a new job, a few things happen:
  • You change the way that you do your work- unsure of how things are done at this new job, you work in a way that is slightly differently to normal until you find your feet
  • You expect things to take time to feel normal again
  • You are nice to all your coworkers, even if you don't like them or you think their way of doing things is strange, because you are still getting to know one another in this new role and are unsure of how you will blend your different work styles together
  • You are especially nice to your boss, even if they are very demanding
  • You work your hardest, knowing that it will be exhausting but that in the end, this is your dream job and you have worked so hard to get it here so it must be worth it
  • Even though it is hard adjusting to your new boss' demanding schedule you do it
  • You accept that your boss and even your coworkers may have very different ways of approaching tasks that would never have occured to you, or that even seem ridiculous to you
  • You don't expect to be an expert at your new job for some time
Have you picked up where i am going with this yet?

Now read through that list again, substituting 'your new job' with 'parenthood', 'your new boss' for 'your new baby', and 'your new coworkers' for 'your husband' and you should see what i am trying to say.

The analogy even works when having a second (or third, or fourth) child, only then you are at the same job you've been at for a while and your boss gets demoted (from only child and centre of the family, to sibling) and a new boss (baby) comes in and takes over.

If parenting was approached the way that we might approach starting a new job, think of how many tears could be saved? How much more compassion and patience you would show to yourself?

  • It's okay to suck at it in the beginning or to not know what to do, because you're new here
  • It doesn't feel like your old life, because it's not your old life and that's okay
  • Your husband has no idea how to work with you or how you think you should do things, because this is a completely new role for him too
  • Your new baby wants your best efforts, and that is totally reasonable and achieveable
  • You are here because you wanted to be here (in most cases), so give it your all
  • It takes time to feel like you have a handle on your new role as a parent, remember, you've never done this before.
 And while the analogy doesn't always work (you can't really quit this job, even if your boss is a jerk), it has helped me to be kinder to myself and to my husband and to my fellow new mothers.

I hope it helps you to do the same (if you're a mother) and to show respect to those people around you who have started new jobs (if you aren't).

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