This week I’ve started a new job. I’ve been working at home as a freelancer since baby number one was born and although I’ll still be predominantly home-based, I’ll be spending one day a week in the office. With real adults! Talking about things other than poop and sick! Fancy that!
The transition into my new role got me thinking while undoubtedly there are downsides to returning to work as a mother, like your work outfits from back when you had time to go to the gym don’t fit anymore and your body is approximately 75 per cent caffeine, there must be some skills I’ve learned as part of becoming a parent which will stand me in good stead for my return to the office. If there was a workplace badge system (like Scouts or Hey Duggee for grown-ups) then I reckon there are at least five new badges I’ve gained through becoming a mother:
1. The Break-Neck Lunch Badge:
Back in the day pre-kids, I liked to actually taste my food. Now if I leave anything unattended for longer than a millisecond it’s likely to be swiped by one of my darling offspring. And no one wants to still be chewing when they’re called to deal with a poonami, so swallowing my food whole has become a speciality. Needing only 0.7 seconds for my lunch break is sure to be a bonus in the office and will definitely make me more productive.
2. The Background Drown Out Badge:
My toddler has watched every episode ever made of Bing at least 74 million times. If I can drown out the noise of that incessant whinging little shit (Bing, not the toddler) while I carry on with my day then it’s a sure bet I’ll be able to concentrate on my work no matter how noisy my colleagues are.
3. The Conflict Calmer Badge:
From time to time we all face minor conflicts at work, whether that’s colleagues with a difference of opinion or a dissatisfied customer. Currently I spend my days peeling apart my two children (age difference: 18 months) who alternate between being besties and kicking the shit out of each other. I’m not expecting my colleagues to be slapping, pushing or pulling each other’s hair so I will confidently be able to deal with any and all disputes which are bound to be more minor than the current battles I witness.
4. The Equipped for Anything Badge:
Open the bag of any parent and you’re probably able to find the majority of resources you’d need to help you through any kind of disaster. We all know baby wipes can be used for pretty much any crisis large or small, I always carry an assortment of snacks which would last the office a few days if a world war broke out (although some may be slightly squashed, soz) and if we suddenly descend into a new ice age I’d definitely have enough spare clothes in there to use as blankets for all survivors. Women without children may have lovely dainty bags which fit beautifully under their arm and don’t rip their shoulder tendons with their sheer weight, but I’ve got an unlimited supply of raisins, so who’s the winner here?
5. The Spelling Badge:
I like to think I was okay at spelling before I had children (did I mention I was a journalist?), but I’ve spent the last three years spelling out all the words I don’t want my kids to understand. Disclaimer: this newly refined skill may only be useful if I’m required to use words like D-I-N-N-E-R, S-N-A-C-K and F-U-C-K.